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William James (1884) proposed that we are afraid of the bear because we run, ratherthan we run because we are afraid. Discuss this in relation to how emotionsoccur.

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William James (1884) proposed that we are afraid of the bear because we run, rather than we run because we are afraid. Discuss this in relation to how emotions occur. A key aspect of human behaviour is the ability to sense and feel emotions. Emotions are defined as phenomena that are perceived by the body that causes a reaction; often these responses have physiological characteristics. This essay will look at the many psychological/ biological theories and ideologies involved in the concept of emotion. Human kind has evolved over the years to accommodate innovations in its biological, physiological, psychological and social lifestyle. Information about the ways humans can live appropriately have been passed on since the beginning of creation. New data is also brought to attention as individuals have enhanced their intellect. The concept of emotion(s) is a subject closely tied to an individuals life; joy, anger, fear, happiness have long been with us. Emotions are a universal part of human life that is attached to every being and animals. The concept of emotions consists of four characteristics that affect each other in order to complete the whole emotional experience. The individual has certain feelings attributed to a certain emotion, e.g. ...read more.


A further advancement to cannon and bards theory concentrating on the cognitive mechanism related to emotions was conducted by schachter and singer (1975) the interpretation of the stimuli causing the emotion is concerned with the individual's cognitive state, the surrounding situation and their past experiences, it is commonly known. Human emotional experience has been investigated by carrying out research on facial expressions. The aim of this research was to understand an almost guaranteed response humans carry out when they face an emotion like: fear, surprise, happiness and anger. Research was carried out by Paul Ekman who concluded that there are eight emotional labels that all humans can associate themselves with. He showed participants images of facial expressions and they were asked to define what they represented. E.g. an expression with mouth open eyes wide would symbolize an emotion of surprise, all the emotion labels were correctly identified by the participants. The entire eight labels were; sadness, embarrassment, fear, happiness, disgust, contempt, surprise and anger. Ekmans research was not restricted to individuals in English speaking nations they were also looking across different cultures. People in New Guinea showed similar results as those in English speaking nations. Research into facial expressions and the correlation with emotional experience is significant in understanding the dynamics revolving around the subject in general. ...read more.


The cross cultural studies showed that facial expressions are a universal bodily response however in terms of looking directly at the emotion of fear the potential of a dangerous situation different form culture to culture. For example those people who work in zoos or safari parks have encountered their fear of lions and bears. However someone who has only been exposed to negative and harmful aspects of the bear would wholeheartedly fear the bear. Socialisation is the approach people are bought into the norms and values of society also has a fundamental duty in conditioning emotions. E.g. children at a young age are forced to learn about a stimulus that is branded dangerous in the society. E.g. in British society children are taught to fear strangers however in other society's children may not be pushed into fearing adults they do not know. The cognitive notion proposed by schacter and singer can be applied to the situation of the harmful bear. The individual will consider the impact or potential danger and make their own judgement whether a fight or flight response will be carried out. Overall the concept of emotions is very complex the different perspectives identified possible reasons behind the subject, however one can conclude that integrating each idea can guide us into the true nature of how emotions work. ...read more.

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