Requena, Carmen  c.requena@unileon.es
 Incorporated contributions
Requena (12/2009)
 Usage domain
psicology, evolution
 German Emotion

“Do we cry because we are sad, or rather are we sad because we cry?”  W. James

Before answering please consider the following simple experiment. In any moment you do feel sad, take a pencil and bite ir for a couple of minutes. You eventually find yourself then smiling and finishing your sad state. Now answer the previous question.

Emotion is the affective tone with which organisms respond to their circumstances. Three research lines are to be highlighted in the study of emotion, with respective antecedents in Charles Darwin,  William James  and Sigmund Freud. 

Emotions arise from filogenetically selected behaviours. It may happen that obsolete conducts remain, even if they are no longer fit to present demands. For example, many people are still afraid of snakes, while it is so unprobable to find any wild snake in daily life. It would be more adequate for us to be afraid of plugs, hobs or lifts, since they really endanger our lifes.

Even if it is common to undistinctively talk about emotion and feeling, there are differences between them, particularly as to their duration. Emotion takes about miliseconds, while feelings are more durable and a later result in the phylogeny of our brain. Emotions are located in the limbical system while feelings in the orbito ventral area.

  • BLANCHARD-FIELDS, F. (2005). Introduction to the Special Section on Emotion-Cognition Interactions and the Aging Mind. Psychology and Aging (vol. 20, núm. 4, págs. 539-541).
  • CHARLES, S.T. & CARSTENSEN, L.L. (2010). Social and emotional aging. In S. Fiske and S. Taylor (Eds). Annual Review of Psychology. Vol. 61., 383-409. [Online] <http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~lifespan/publications/annurev.psych.2009.pdf> [Retrieved: 12/2009]
  • DARWIN, Ch. (1984). La expresión de las emociones en los animales y en el hombre. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.
  • EKMAN, P.; FRIESEN, W.V. (1975). Unmasking the Face. A Guide to recognizing emotions from facial clues. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs.
  • EKMAN, P.; FRIESEN, W.V.; HAGER, J.C. (2002). The new Facial Action Coding System (FACS).
  • JAMES W. 1884. What is an emotion? Mind 9: 188-205.
  • ZACKS, R.T.; HASHER, L.; LI, K.Z.H. (2000). Human memory. In: T. A. Salthouse; F.I.M. Craik (eds.). Handbook of aging and cognition (2nd ed., pp. 293–357). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
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Carmen Requena (dec/2009)
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