How do we experience emotions

Definition of emotions

Emotions are the abilities to express our feelings like rejoice, cry, laugh etc. Without emotions humans would be just like robots. It is the emotions like distress and happiness which make feel like humans. Emotions are affective experiences which are divided into internal and external components.

Internal components are subjective feeling, physiological states or thoughts. These are the physiological responses such as heart rate, blood pressure, perspiraton and other physical responses. The internal components also refer to subjective experience and cognitions.

External components are those which refers to outward emotional expression such as facial expression, behaviour etc. These also refer to responses to emotions. For example, how to regulate or how to react to and cope with certain emotional situations.

Primary Emotions

There are eight primary emotions. Here is the list

  1. Joy
  2. Fear
  3. Surprise
  4. Sadness
  5. Disgust
  6. Anger
  7. Anticipation
  8. Trust

Robert Plutchik’s Model

Rober Plutchik lists primary emotions which are listed on the inner areas of his model. Then there are emotions adjacent to the primary area. When these are combined with the primary emotions, they give the emotions listed around the perimeter.


How do we Experience Emotions?

1. Subjective Well-Being

This is based on self-perception regarding satisfaction with life. Physical and economic factors may play as indicators to evaluate this experience.

 2. The continuity of pleasure

What we may think pleasureable at one moment may not be unpleasurable afterwards, because continued pleasures wear off. Pleasure from a continuous satisfaction in one condition disappears.

 3. Adaptation Level Principle

This is the tendency to adapt to certain conditions after continual exposure. Aninmals living in extreme cold, hot or moderate conditions adapt to their environment.

 4. Relative Deprivation Principle

This is comparing ourselves in relation to others who may be better off or worse off. If better off then it may create emotions of envy, jealousy etc. If worse off, it may creation emotions of content and happiness.


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