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Emotions are what people feel. In terms of evolution, they are very ancient, and can be seen in all mammals. They are caused by a complex mixture of hormones and the unconscious mind. Only with great difficulty can we control our emotions by conscious effort. They cause mammals to change behaviour according to changes in their situation. In our case they sometimes run against our attempt to live our lives in a logical way.
- conscious experience (feelings)
- expressions which can be seen by others
- actions of the body ('physiological ')
Here is one definition:
- "Emotion is a complex psychological phenomenon which occurs as animals or people live their lives. Emotions involve physiological , appraisal of the situation, expressive behaviours, and conscious experience. Emotion is associated with feeling, mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation".
In physical terms, emotions involve body systems which have operated for hundreds of millions of years. These are the hormone system, the autonomic nervous system and the 'lower' brain centres (hindbrain and midbrain).
- Robert Plutchik 2001. The nature of emotions. American Scientist
- Frijda 1992. The laws of emotions.
- Myers, David G. 2004. Theories of emotion in Psychology. 7th ed, Worth, New York.