The Psycological Theory of Emotions

Edited by Shelleymarie, Jen Moreau


Emotions are feelings that generally have both physiological and cognitive elements, and they influence behavior. Emotions are complex, and they can result in physical or psychological changes, as they directly affect the nervous system. For example, an increased heart rate, fast breathing, and increased muscle tension are the results of fear. There are four basic components of emotions: The cognitive component is a higher mental process, such as thinking or memory, and it determines which emotion we feel. The physiological components are physical processes related to a specific emotion. The behavior component is the expression of a specific emotion, and the affect component is the experience of feeling an emotion. There are three theories for emotions.

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James-Lange Theory

This is a proposal that people experience emotions as a result of physiological changes that produce a specific sensation. In return, these sensations are interpreted by the brain as a particular kind of emotional experience. For example, an emotional reaction is dependent upon your interpretation of a physical reaction, like a fast heartbeat when experiencing fear or anxiety.

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Cannon-Bard Theory

This theory opposes the James-Lange theory because it states that emotions cause physical reactions. For example, anxiety disorder. If a person feels physical symptoms of anxiety in public, they might develop a continuing response of anxiety when placed in the same situation by association. The theory says that the nerves carry data about stimuli to the cortex. Higher brain levels analyze the nature of the stimulus. If the signals indicate a threat, the cortex then signals the thalamus, and the thalamus signals the organs in the body, producing the physiological change.

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Schachter-Singer Theory

They were the first researchers who focused on the role of cognition and emphasized that we identify the emotion we're experiencing by observing our environment. This theory basically states that our emotions are based on two factors, physiological arousal, and cognition. This theory shows that physiological sensations aren't necessarily the cause of the emotion, but that the feeling of certain emotions results from how we cognitively process and associate the sensations with our circumstances.

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Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. For example, empathy and sympathy. There are three skills of emotional intelligence from emotional awareness, to harness emotion and to manage emotions. Emotional awareness is the ability to identify the emotions of others and your own. To harness emotion is to control our own emotions, and to manage emotion is to control our own emotions according to the situation and according to the personalities of the others. Emotional intelligence is divided into five main domains. These include the following:

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  1. 1
    Self-awareness is identifying the qualities in yourself, judging your life, balancing confidence and over-confidence, and balancing between emotions. Self-awareness can help you judge how your own emotions affect those around you. Being aware of your own emotions, strengths and weaknesses can help you react appropriately in all situations.
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  2. 2
    Managing emotions
    The person who doesn't manage emotions according to the situation, they can become mentally sick/weak, for example, depression. Being personally accountable and thinking before acting are two ways that we manage our emotions.
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  3. 3
    Motivating oneself
    Being self-motivated can help you reach your goals. First, identify a problem, then motivate yourself according to the conditions/situation. Always look for the positives, and use failures as an opportunity to learn. Don't demoralize yourself.
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  4. 4
    Recognizing emotions in others
    Recognize and understand another person's emotions. This is known as empathy. Empathy allows you to work constructively with others and read their emotions so that you respond appropriately to a situation. Sympathy shows your compassion and feelings for another person's issues or situation.
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  5. 5
    Handling relationships
    Promoting leadership, managing conflicts, building relationships, bonds and providing influences that are always used in our social skills and handle relationships. Having good communication skills can be beneficial in your work and personal life.
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This article is part of a series on 'Introduction to Psychology'. Read the other articles here:

1) Introduction to Psychology

2) Nervous System

3) Stages and Types of Learning

4) Emotions

5) Nature and Psychology of Intelligence

6) Motivation

7) Personality

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Categories : Health

Recent edits by: Shelleymarie

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