Emotions are Social Behaviors
Behavior in human groups is regulated by displays of status, intentions, body
states, needs and distress. Emotions are obvious displays that add dynamics to
human interactions. The face is the bulletin board of emotions, complemented by
sounds, head movements, arm and hand gestures. The goal of polite society is to
maintain a neutral state with little or no display of emotions.
Anger is the dominant emotion and displays of anger disrupt social
gatherings. Polite humans learn proper conduct that minimizes conflict.
Elaborate polite greeting and parting behaviors are required.
The interaction of humans in public spaces is controlled by a variety of
rules, devices and enforcement that minimize the opportunity for anger to
emerge. When one person becomes angry in gatherings, others act to minimize the
tendency for anger to lead to fighting.
The primary dynamic of dominance and submission is always at work when humans
interact. Emotions are the outer language of dominance and submission. Feelings
represent the evaluation of dominant and submissive behaviors as monitor images
Crying and laughing are not usually listed as emotions, but should be;
indeed, these highly communicative behaviors are prototypes of emotion. Smiling
and grimacing are also emotional behaviors. Both are transitional to emotions
that are more energetic. Smiling is often a signal that all is well and may
progress to laugher.
Grimacing is a signal that not all is well and may lead to crying or anger.
Children who are unsure about what is happening may go though the whole
repertoire of emotions in rapid succession. A grimace; then a hesitant laugh;
and then a flood of tears may follow a tentative smile if the right reassurance
is not forthcoming.
Emotions and Feelings
- This book investigates the for-me-ness of
experiences, using psychology, neuroscience and philosophy.
Everyone has some idea what emotions and feelings are but their exact nature
is elusive. We can begin by noting that emotions and feelings are not the same.
Generally, humans are ignorant of internal processes
and invent all manner of imaginary and irrelevant explanations to explain
feelings. The term “emotion” is best used to point to animal and human behavior.
There are a small number of primary emotions and variations that involve
mixtures of emotional displays with other behaviors. Joy, anger, fear and pain
are pure emotions. Other, more complex and derivative experiences act as
interfaces to emotions. Love, jealousy and hate are not emotions. These are
descriptions of complex interactions and evaluations that involve a range of
feelings and interface to true emotions some of the time. For example, lovers
experience a range of feelings and display different emotions at different
times. Euphoria is the benefit of being in love. Sadness and anger are the cost
of being in love. Jealousy, like love, is another complex of cognitions,
feelings and emotions that exist to monitor and regulate close relationships.
The absence of emotional display is highly valued in polite society. Humans have
advanced toward civil and productive social environments that are emotionally
neutral. Emotional neutrality is a requirement for acceptable behavior in school
and work environments.
Emotions and Feelings is available as an eBook download. The book is intended for a well-educated smart reader who is
interested in Human Nature and the daily experience of humans in groups. The author is
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