Emotions seem to rule the daily life of any person, in fact, emotions differentiate us from the rest of the animal world. Decisions are made based on whether we feel happy, angry, sad, bored, frustrated, etc. We also choose the things we want to do depending on the emotions that incite us or the emotions we feel at that moment.

The emotions

An emotion is understood to be a complex psychological state that involves three different aspects:

    • A subjective experience
    • A body response or physiological response
  • A behavioral response or an expressive response

An attempt is made to classify the different emotions into types. Thinking about emotions has changed over the years. First, in 1972 there was talk of universal basic emotions in all human cultures (according to Paul Eckeman the six were: fear, disgust, anger, surprise, congratulations, sadness). In 1999 the list was extended to other emotions that were also considered basic: shame, contempt, pride, satisfaction, joy, etc.

It was from 1980 on when Robert Plutchik introduced another concept saying that emotions could be combined with each other just as an artist can combine primary colors to create new ones . It may sound like this time when eight main emotional dimensions were proposed: happiness vs. sadness , anger vs. fear, confidence vs. distrust disgust surprise vs. anticipation. These emotions can be combined with each other yet into new ones, as for example happiness in anticipation would create an exalted emotion.

The subjective experience

Although there are some basic universal emotions that are experienced in people all over the world, subjective emotions can also be experienced. For example, if you feel angry, the very experience that makes you angry is multidimensional, therefore it is very subjective. Something that can make you angry, another person may not care. In the same way, not all emotions have the same intensity, perhaps at a certain moment you can get angry that in a different moment you feel a blinding anger.

Similarly, it is worth bearing in mind that pure forms of each emotion are not always experienced. Emotions are combined depending on the context and the experiences lived. For example, when faced with a new job, you may be happy and nervous or you may be afraid and anxious. Another example would be when you have children, for some it could mean immense joy and absolute happiness and for others, although they feel happiness they can also experience great anxiety. Emotions can appear one after the other or at the same time.

Body or physiological response

If you have ever felt discomfort in your stomach due to anxiety or even the urge to vomit, you have noticed how your heart beats so hard that it seems that it is going to leave the chest … then you will realize the power that emotions have on your body, as they can cause strong physiological reactions.

Many of the physiological responses during emotions are regulated by the sympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system. This nervous system controls the body’s involuntary responses, such as blood flow and digestion. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for controlling the body’s fight or flight reactions. When faced with a threat, these responses automatically prepare your body to flee the danger or face the threat.

Brain scans of the states clearly show that the amygdala, and part of the limbic system, plays an essential role in emotions and fear.

The behavioral response

The response or action is the behavior you have to an emotion. You may spend time trying to understand the emotional expressions of the people around you. And it is that the ability to understand expressions with precision is necessary to be able to enhance one’s emotional intelligence. Emotional expressions play a big role in body language.

If you look at yourself , you will realize what are the most common emotional expressions when you feel certain emotions .


Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *