Three components of emotion and universal emotions MCAT Khan Academy

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“So let s talk nabout a topic. Important to song writers everywhere emotions emotions are are felt by everyone nbut. How they are expressed and experienced is very ndifferent depending. The individual which makes them complicated to understand.

But simply put in psychology nwe understand emotions to be subjective experiences nthat accompany vibe physiological behavioral and cognitive changes and reactions so let me explain each of nthese in a bit more detail first let s look at the nphysiological components of an emotional experience. Every emotion produces different nphysiological responses within the body which can ninclude distinct changes and patterns of brain activation neurotransmitter production and autonomic nervous system activity for example let s use nyou as an example here. Let s you re standing here. Nminding your own business in a room.

And then all of a sudden surprise everyone jumps out and surprises you because it happens to be your birthday so you the individual nhere might have a distinct physiological reaction your heart rate may increase nas a result of being startled your muscles may be temporarily. Ntensed. And then relaxed and your skin temperature. Nmay increase as well now at the same time your ncognitive process is going on as well.

But are very ndifferent person to person and culture to culture so cognitive reactions nare mental of assessments that can include appraisals nand. What is happening expectations about the nsituation and general thoughts about the experience so in this example for the surprise party. Someone who has been to na surprise party. Before may have the expectation that it ll be fun or they might be thinking nabout.

The people who are there or maybe they re just nsaying because they are so surprised. This is an example of a ncognitive experience happening as a result of emotions. These cognitive experiences ncan also bring in bad emotions so for instance..


If you nhappen to think about how you dislike parties now i don t know why that would be but if you really don t like nparties for some reason. You might feel like dread at the prospect of a surprise. Party. Instead of joy.

And that emotion. Was brought on by your cognitive experience and lastly each emotion nproduces different. Behavioral responses. Which can nbe evident in body language or facial expression.

So in our surprise example nan individual may smile clap their hands in ndelight or open. Their arms or hug. Their friends and relatives again these expressions nvary by individual and can be interpreted differently nculture to culture. So let s return to our chart nhere and review the basics emotions are made up of ncognitive behavioral and physiological changes nthat are all interrelated.

But what else do we know about emotion well first emotions are temporary they have relatively clear beginnings and relatively short ndurations unlike moods. Which can last much longer and are not necessarily discreet secondly emotions can nbe negative or positive so as an example someone ncan be happy sad angry or delighted along the same lines emotions ncan vary in intensity. So a person can experience na. Little bit of sadness or a deep feeling of depression.

They can be extremely ecstatic. Nor. Just a little pleased and lastly emotions ngenerally are involuntary it means that you can t decide nwhat you will experience..


Which is why we use these phrases. Such as someone falls in love. Nor. Explodes with rage or is overwhelmed with excitement.

These expressions kinda nillustrate. How emotions are involuntary so with all that mind nhere s a question for you how many emotions are there well. The answer is there s nprobably. An infinite number.

But a researcher named paul nekman. Found that there are special set of six emotions. Nthat could be easily identified by individuals all around nthe world. And these are known as the universal emotions and these universal emotions nare happiness sadness fear disgust anger and surprise and you might be wondering why are they called universal emotions.

Now they aren t called nuniversal emotions. Because everyone feels them the same way they re called universal nemotions because they have consistent facial nexpressions across cultures and so they re easily nrecognizable no matter. What cultural background you come from so here s an example of nthe six universal emotions. I m gonna give you a few nseconds here to look at it maybe pause this video nand.

See if you can guess what each of these six represent. I m gonna go through each nof these expressions here and show how they relate to the nemotion. How they represent now i get kind of kick nout of this because i m gonna explain emotions that nwe all experience every day and i m gonna explain nit in a very clinical cold sounding manner..


But i think it s kinda ninteresting to kinda break it down like this so here s happiness. And it s representing happiness because of the raised cheeks you can see elevated corners of the mouth. Sometimes teeth are exposed. Sometimes wrinkles on the noutward corners of the eyes.

So that s happiness and here. We have sadness sadness is represented by nan uplifted inner corner of the eyebrows. Some downturn. Lips and here s fear fear s represented by neyebrows being raised and drawn together wrinkles nin.

The middle of the forehead eyes are open in tense mouth. Is open lips are drawn back tightly. So that s fear. And now.

We have anger anger s represented by nlike. This penetrating stare that they have here your eyelids. Are tensed. Your nlips are pressed together.

So that s anger. And here s disgust disgust is represented by nraised. Cheeks wrinkled..


Nose your brows. Are lowered. And with surprise. Just like nwe saw on that little cartoon.

We drew earlier surprise nhas raised eyebrows eyes are opened wide the jaw is dropped so they have an open mouth. So that s surprise and here s another question to consider why would these emotions be nuniversally recognizable. Well. The answer comes to nus from charles darwin.

You probably know of darwin nand. His studies in evolution well darwin hypothesized nthat. The ability to express and understand emotion nis an innate ability and it helped individuals to nact in ways that gave them a better chance of survival. So emotions actually nhave an adaptive value and this makes a lot of sense think about a newborn baby.

If they re surprised or frightened nthey often react in ways that are very similar nto. How grown ups act. But newborn babies are nbrand new to the world. They ve never been taught nhow to do these things their bodies just react that way.

And what s really interesting nis that individuals who have been blind their nentire lives and have never been able to see of what a nhuman face looks like they also have similar facial expressions to people who can see even nthough. They have never seen a smile or a frown and this also supports the nidea that the expression of some emotions are innate so when it comes to emotions nthink of the three components the cognitive the physiological nand the behavioral ” ..

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