What are Emotions? We can observe people’s emotions when we “read” their bodies, listen to their voices and look at their faces. All of us communicate verbally as well as non-verbally. When we tense our body, press our lips together or move our eyebrows; we are communicating non-verbally. With a gaze, an averted glance, or a stare we can communicate intimacy, submission or dominance (Kleinke, 1986). Most of us are good enough at reading non-verbal cues to judge the emotions in an old silent film We are especially good at detecting non-verbal threats. In a crowd of a face, a single angry face will “pop out” faster than a single happy one (Hansen and Hansen, 1988). It is true that some people are more sensitive to these cues than others. Some people can smell the situation also. Expressions not only communicate emotions, they also amplify and regulate it.
NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION OF EMOTIONS
Some say that fear; anger, anxiety, love and grief are basic emotions, To understand the physiological difference between fear, anger and sexual arousal is much harder (Zillman, 1988). Fear, anger and sadness certainly feel different. A terrified person may feel a clutching, sinking sensation in the chest and knot in the stomach. An angry person may feel hot under the collar and will probably experience a pressing inner tension. The sad person may be chocked up and have an empty, drained feeling (Epstein, 1984). Scientists agree that different brain regions and distinct patterns Of brain activity also underlie different emotions (Panksepp, 1982). Davison and others concluded that when people experience negative emotions such as disgust, the right hemisphere becomes more electrically active. The left hemisphere activates when processing positive emotions. Let’s discuss the comprehensive picture of different emotions one by one;
During fear whole body becomes tense. A tight knotted feeling occurs in the stomach, heartbeat quickens as pulse, clutching, and sinking feeling in the middle of the chest. A survey of what frightens people and what happens when they are afraid would fill volumes. Psychologists have long been interested simplifying the phenomenon of fear. John B. Watson argued that there were only a few innate unlearned fears; as fear of loud noise, sudden loss of support and pain; other fears were learned through classical conditioning. Fear can be a poisonous emotion. It can torment us, rob us of sleep and preoccupy our thinking. People can be literally scared to death, Fear can also be contagious. More often, fear is an adaptive response. Fear prepares our bodies to flee danger. Fear of real or imagined enemies binds people together as families, tribes and nations. Fear of injury protects us from harm, fear of punishment constraints us from harming one another. Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that people can be afraid of almost anything, afraid of the truth, afraid of fortune; afraid of death and afraid of each other. The reason for so many fears is conditioning. Our few painful and frightening events can multiply into a long list of human fears due to conditioning. Observational learning can extend the list even further. Lumsden and Wilson, 1983, McNally, 1987, explained the reasons for our fears. They said that we may be biologically prepared to learn some fears more quickly than others. Humans quickly learn to fear snakes, spiders and cliffs, as those fears probably helped our ancestors to survive. That is why; we are less predisposed to fear cars, electricity, bombs and global warming, which are more dangerous for modern society.
James Averill asked people about anger. He concluded that often the anger was a response to a friend or loved one’s perceived misdeed. Anger is experienced commonly when another person’s act seemed willful/ unjustified and avoidable. But blameless annoyances, foul odours, high temperatures, aches and pains also have the power to make us angry (Berkowitz, 1990). Popular books and articles on aggression sometimes advise that even hostile outbursts can be better than keeping anger pent up. Expressing anger can be temporarily calming if it does not leave us feeling guilty or anxious. But expressing anger can also breed more anger.
William James (1902) observed that secret motive for most men at all times is how to gain, how to keep and how to recover happiness. The state of happiness colours everything else. According to Johnson and Tversky (1983), people who are happy perceive the world as safer, they make decisions more easily (Isen and Means IC83), rate job applicants more favourably (Baron, 1987), and report greater satisfaction with their whole lives (Schwarz and Clore, 1983). When we feel gloomy, life as a whole seems depressing, but when mood brightens, suddenly our relationships, our self-image and hopes for the future all seem more promising. Moreover, this is one of psychology’s most consistent findings that When we feel happy we are more willing to help others. In study after study, People given a mood-boosting experience, such as finding money, succeeding on a Challenging task, or recalling a happy event are more likely to give money, pick up some one’s dropped papers, volunteer time and so forth. It is called “feel good do good” phenomenon (Salovey 1990). Some psychologists explain the happiness with “Adaptation level Principle”. This principle indicates happiness is relative. Ä to our prior experiences. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990) revealed after a detailed study that people felt happier if mentally engaged by work or active leisure than passive people feel happier while gardening rather than sitting on a powerboat. They are happier talking to friends than watching T.V.
Indeed, happy are those whose work and leisure absorb them enabling them so unselfconsciously to “flow” in focused activity.