Experiencing different emotions have been a normal part of my daily life and thus having to take notice of it and be keenly aware of the physiological and psychological aspects of the emotion made me think of how difficult it is to fully explain emotion. Usually, what stays with our memory are the emotions that are intense and powerful, like anger, sadness and happiness, while the fleeting emotions of annoyance, impatience, worry and anxiety are taken for granted.
With the emotion diary I was acutely aware of what I was feeling but rather had difficulty in naming what I felt or in identifying what kind of emotion I was feeling. A number of theories have tried to explain human emotion. Since emotion is a subjective experience and that mush of it is experienced physically, then the theories that explain emotion do so by looking into the biological and psychological components of emotions.
The James-Lange (Atkinson, et. al. , 1996) theory says that the biological component of emotions such as physiological arousal and facial expressions are most influential in producing the subjective experience of an emotion. The theory argues that because perception of autonomic arousal constitutes the experience of an emotion and because different emotions feel different, there must be a distinct pattern of autonomic activity for each emotion.
Thus, when my heart beat races and the hairs at the back of my neck rise, I feel fear and so I cower in my seat or close my eyes as I watch a horror movie. On the other hand, the cognitive appraisal theory of Schachter and Singer (1962) espoused that cognitive appraisal are sufficient to determine the quality of emotional experience, thus if people could be induced to be in a neutral state of autonomic arousal, the quality of their emotion would be determined solely by their appraisal of the situation.
Hence, upon observing my surroundings wherein I was in front of the TV inside my house with all the doors and windows locked, I would feel that being afraid of the movie is childish and hence I would stop being afraid. Based on my experience, I could say that to be able to have a complete understanding of emotions, one must take into account the biological and the psychological aspects of the emotion. With the various intensity and kinds of emotions that we go through in a single day, it is unrealistic to say that emotions are entirely biological or physiological or that it is purely psychological.
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