Emotion is, in everyday speech, a person’s state of mind and instinctive responses, but scientific discourse has drifted to other meanings and there is no consensus on a definition. Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. On some theories, cognition is an important aspect of emotion. Those acting primarily on emotion may seem as if they are not thinking, but mental processes are still essential, particularly in the interpretation of events. For example, the realization of danger and subsequent arousal of the nervous system (e.g. rapid heartbeat and breathing, sweating, muscle tension) is integral to the experience of fear. Other theories, however, claim that emotion is separate from and can precede cognition.
Emotions are complex. According to some theories, they are a state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence our behavior. The physiology of emotion is closely linked to arousal of the nervous system with various states and strengths of arousal relating, apparently, to particular emotions. Emotion is also linked to behavioral tendency. Extroverted people are more likely to be social and express their emotions, while introverted people are more likely to be more socially withdrawn and conceal their emotions. Emotion is often the driving force behind motivation, positive or negative. An alternative definition of emotion is a “positive or negative experience that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity.” According to other theories, emotions are not causal forces but simply syndromes of components, which might include motivation, feeling, behavior, and physiological changes, but no one of these components is the emotion or is the emotion an entity that causes these components
Emotions involve different components, such as subjective experience, cognitive processes, expressive behavior, psychophysiological changes, and instrumental behavior. At one time, academics attempted to identify the emotion with one of the components: William James with a subjective experience, behaviorists with instrumental behavior, psychophysiologists with physiological changes, and so on. More recently, emotion is said to consist of all the components. The different components of emotion are categorized somewhat differently depending on the academic discipline. In psychology and philosophy, emotion typically includes a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states. A similar multicomponential description of emotion is found in sociology. For example, Peggy Thoits described emotions as involving physiological components, cultural or emotional labels (e.g., anger, surprise etc.), expressive body actions, and the appraisal of situations and contexts.
Research on emotion has increased significantly over the past two decades with many fields contributing including psychology, neuroscience, endocrinology, medicine, history, sociology, and even computer science. The numerous theories that attempt to explain the origin, neurobiology, experience, and function of emotions have only fostered more intense research on this topic. Current areas of research in the concept of emotion include the development of materials that stimulate and elicit emotion. In addition PET scans and fMRI scans help study the affective processes in the brain. It also is influenced by hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin, oxytocin, cortisol and GABA.
Emotion can be differentiated from a number of similar constructs within the field of affective neuroscience:[13]
• Feelings are best understood as a subjective representation of emotions, private to the individual experiencing them.
• Moods are diffuse affective states that generally last for much longer durations than emotions and are also usually less intense than emotions.
• Affect is an encompassing term, used to describe the topics of emotion, feelings, and moods together, even though it is commonly used interchangeably with emotion.
In addition, relationships exist between emotions, such as having positive or negative influences, with direct opposites existing. These concepts are described in contrasting and categorization of emotions. Graham differentiates emotions as functional or dysfunctional and argues all functional emotions have benefits.
In Scherer’s components processing model of emotion,[18] five crucial elements of emotion are said to exist. From the component processing perspective, emotion experience is said to require that all of these processes become coordinated and synchronized for a short period of time, driven by appraisal processes. Although the inclusion of cognitive appraisal as one of the elements is slightly controversial, since some theorists make the assumption that emotion and cognition are separate but interacting systems, the component processing model provides a sequence of events that effectively describes the coordination involved during an emotional episode.
• Cognitive appraisal: provides an evaluation of events and objects
• Bodily symptoms: the physiological component of emotional experience
• Action tendencies: a motivational component for the preparation and direction of motor responses.
• Expression: facial and vocal expression almost always accompanies an emotional state to communicate reaction and intention of actions
• Feelings: the subjective experience of emotional state once it has occurred
An evolutionary perspective leads one to view the mind as a crowded zoo of evolved, domain-specific programs. Each is functionally specialized for solving a different adaptive problem that arose during hominid evolutionary history, such as face recognition, foraging, mate choice, heart rate regulation, sleep management, or predator vigilance, and each is activated by a different set of cues from the environment. But the existence of all these microprograms itself creates an adaptive problem: Programs that are individually designed to solve specific adaptive problems could, if simultaneously activated, deliver outputs that conflict with one another, interfering with or nullifying each other’s functional products. For example, sleep and flight from a predator require mutually inconsistent actions, computations, and physiological states. It is difficult to sleep when your heart and mind are racing with fear, and this is no accident: disastrous consequences would ensue if proprioceptive cues were activating sleep programs at the same time that the sight of a stalking lion was activating ones designed for predator evasion. To avoid such consequences, the mind must be equipped with superordinate programs that override some programs when others are activated (e.g., a program that deactivates sleep programs when predator evasion subroutines are activated). Furthermore, many adaptive problems are best solved by the simultaneous activation of many different components of the cognitive architecture, such that each component assumes one of several alternative states (e.g., predator avoidance may require simultaneous shifts in both heart rate and auditory acuity; see below). Again, a superordinate program is needed that coordinates these components, snapping each into the right configuration at the right time.
Emotions are such programs. To behave functionally according to evolutionary standards, the mind’s many subprograms need to be orchestrated so that their joint product at any given time is functionally coordinated, rather than cacophonous and self-defeating. This coordination is accomplished by a set of superordinate programs – the emotions. They are adaptations that have arisen in response to the adaptive problem of mechanism orchestration (Tooby & Cosmides, 1990a; Tooby, 1985). In this view, the exploration of the statistical structure of ancestral situations and their relationship to the mind’s battery of functionally specialized programs is central to mapping the emotions. This is because the most useful (or least harmful) deployment of programs at any given time will depend critically on the exact nature of the confronting situation.

According to modern evolutionary theory, different emotions evolved at different times. Primal emotions, such as fear, are associated with ancient parts of the brain and presumably evolved among our premammal ancestors. Filial emotions, such as a human mother’s love for her offspring, seem to have evolved among early mammals. Social emotions, such as guilt and pride, evolved among social primates. Sometimes, a more recently evolved part of the brain moderates an older part of the brain, such as when the cortex moderates the amygdala’s fear response. Evolutionary psychologists consider human emotions to be best adapted to the life our ancestors led in nomadic foraging bands.

1.”Theories of Emotion”. Psychology.about.com. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
2.Gaulin, Steven J. C. and Donald H. McBurney. Evolutionary Psychology. Prentice Hall. 2003. ISBN 978-0-13-111529-3, Chapter 6, p 121-142.
3.Schacter, Daniel L. (2011). Psychology Second Edition. 41 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010: Worth Publishers. p. 310. ISBN 978-1-4292-3719-2.
4.Barrett, L.F. and Russell, J.A. The psychological construction of emotion. Guilford Press. 2015. ISBN 978-1462516971.
5.Thoits, P. A. (1989). “The sociology of emotions”. Annual Review of Sociology : 317–342. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.15.1.317.
6.Cacioppo, J.T & Gardner, W.L (1999). Emotion. “Annual Review of Psychology”, 191.
7.Dixon, Thomas. From passions to emotions: the creation of a secular psychological category. Cambridge University Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0521026697.
8.Merriam-Webster (2004). The Merriam-Webster dictionary (11th ed.). Springfield, MA: Author.
9.Fehr, B.; Russell, J.A. (1984). “Concept of Emotion Viewed from a Prototype Perspective”. Journal of Experimental Psychology, General 113: 464–486. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.113.3.464.
10.Hume, D. Emotions and Moods. Organizational Behavior, 258-297.

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