January 2012 Archives

Chapter 11: Emotions & Motivations

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Humans are emotional, expressive beings. Research on what causes and defines emotions has grown and will continue to grow abundantly as we are very complex. Many theories probe at the way and order in which emotions develop: including our emotional expressions and the feelings that accompany them. Some researches believe we experience arousal and through observation label that arousal with an emotion, other scientists believes that humans feel emotions as reactions that we don't control so much but that they happen subconsciously; regardless of the specific theory that they believe in, psychologists agree that emotions are very complex. Something that I found interesting at the beginning of this chapter was an idea called Facial Feedback Hypothesis, that explains that an individual is will most likely associate their emotional feelings with their expressions. In one application, this means that if you wrinkle your eyebrows together you will feel angry and if you smile you may feel happy. Supported by research with the chemical Botox, by disabling muscles that help create sad emotions (and those associated with feelings of depression) emotions of depression may be dampered and help with mental health. Over break I read Eat, Pray, Love and in it, an Indian meditation guru uses a form of medidation in which he "sits and smiles with his whole being". I guess the idea comes from an ancient Taoist method, and I think that might be on to something. :) In the rest of the chapter, nonverbal cues are researched in a way that shows how telling nonverbal communication is in a social situation. What is the most important emotion? Personally, I think it is happiness, it is what everyone strives for in life and it is something that has been probed by philosophers, religions and now psychologists. Psychology has found a way to break down happiness to its core to find what things attribute to authentic happiness. This essential emotion goes hand in hand with motivation, in some cases it is what motivates us, and in other cases it is what we are motivated towards. No way is correct, but it shows that human beings are motivated to act in certains ways and seek life paths because of various things. In the book, they explore how all motivations could relate to the physiological motivations that we have naturally as humans: food, sex and community. Finally the chapter takes a scientific approach to how we fall in love, select mates and what it maybe means. This is a interesting applicable chapter to our daily lives and it covers a broad range of topics within emotions and motivations.

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