According to some classifications, the combination of anger and fear can cause aggression, while the combination of sadness and fear can cause anxiety.
The stigma, perhaps the fear or taboo that we manifest when referring to everything related to the mind, to the immaterial and to psychic manifestations, is evident in language. When referring to conditions that break with normality or mental illnesses, the use of the word “psychiatric” is avoided. In its place, it is preferred to opt for softer terms such as “psychological”, “psychopathological”, “psycho-psychiatric” or, for some time, “mental health”. We also use the term “emotional” frequently.
It may interest you: Children’s rights: which are fulfilled and which are not
Although there are other types of problems that are more objectifiable, such as cognitive (for example, dementia), organic, or developmental, emotions are the ones that influence the most and, perhaps, the most analyzed.
In moments of crisis, in which uncertainty predominates, it is when the influence of emotions becomes evident not only in the individual sphere but also in the collective, under different forms of manifesting themselves in social life. For example, the one we raised in a recent note in Infobae: “What is the role of emotions and psychology in voting.”
Paul Ekman poses six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.
These are experiences that generate a multiple and complex response in which various factors are interrelated. Thus, physiological, behavioral and cognitive changes intervene. Sometimes, they can be caused by external events or situations, but more recently these factors are considered as the trigger of a latent process or, as it is known in cognitivism, “postulate or dormant schema”. That stimulus causes a re-actualized response to the present situation and is manifested through our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
It may interest you: How to detect depression in children and adolescents early
There are different theories about the nature and origin of emotions. There is no single one that satisfies all the edges in such a complex field, but two of the most influential theories are those proposed by Paul Ekman and Robert Plutchik. Some of them focus on the physiological changes that accompany emotions, while others, for example, on the cognitive appraisals we make of situations, and finally, some on behavioral responses to different emotional states.
It is the best known, perhaps for the Lie to Me series, the one by Ekman that raises six basic emotions. In addition, it suggests that it presents that amount because they are universal expressions recognized and manifested in all cultures. The basic six, then, are: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.
Plutchik’s wheel of emotions proposes that there are eight basic emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, confidence and joy (Getty)
The basis of the Ekman method is based on facial expressions, physiological changes and specific behavioral responses; and therefore not only associated with language, which allows it to sustain the universality of its method.
It may interest you: Anhedonia or the inability to feel pleasure, a neglected symptom of depression
For example, anger is usually associated with a frown, clenched fists, and increased heart rate. Ekman’s method presents, meanwhile, an infinity of photographs correlating facial expression and emotion. His theory, originally from 1992, has been supported by a number of studies that have found that people from different cultures can reliably recognize facial expressions of basic emotions in people from other cultures.
However, some researchers have argued that Ekman’s list of basic emotions is too limited and that there may be others that are also universally recognized, while questioning their real application to the non-theoretical concrete world (Experiments on real-life emotions challenge Ekman’s model). Despite this, those who advocate body language as an almost infallible rule, however, do not adhere to the scientific evidence that gives it a perhaps too important margin of error.
The basis of the Ekman method is based on facial expressions, physiological changes and specific behavioral responses (Illustrative image Infobae)
At the same time, different options have emerged that perhaps we will present. One is known as Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. This is a more complex emotion model and proposes that there are eight basic emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. It is known as the wheel of emotions since it arranged them in a circular way, in which an emotion is contrasted with its opposite. For example, anger is the opposite of joy, fear of confidence, and sadness of anticipation.
The idea, however, does not stop there, but establishes a second level of emotions, not only basic, but more complex. For example, the combination of anger and fear can cause aggression, while the combination of sadness and fear, anxiety.
As for scientific validation, it is interesting in theory; however, it has been criticized for its complexity and lack of empirical support. Despite this, due to its wheel graph, it remains a popular model for the study of emotions, as it provides a broad framework for understanding emotional experience.
“The skill will be to understand emotions and power in our scarce rational matter to direct that force in some non-destructive way,” said Dr. De Rosa Alabaster (Getty)
In addition to Ekman’s theory and Plutchik’s wheel of emotions, there are many other theories. Some of them focus on the physiological aspects of emotions while others focus on the cognitive aspects, and others focus on the social and cultural aspects of emotions.
There are various current theories about emotions that we will present in future notes. The advantage of exploring several models of study is that, although the area of emotions was almost marginal in the analysis of human behavior and the most accurate descriptions were found in literature (who could beat Shakespeare’s description of Othello?), It has become the object of scientific study in recent times. Understanding our emotional aspects as constitutive elements of being, especially prior to important decisions, is fundamental, as we mentioned in “Emotions after the vote: more stress and anguish due to uncertainty about the future?”
At the same time, understanding our emotions instead of believing ourselves to be predominantly rational beings allows us to understand and perhaps accept others more, and certainly ourselves, without imagining that going beyond “logic” is a rude or wanted error.
“There are different theories about the nature and origin of emotions. There is not a single one that satisfies all the edges in such a complex field,” said Dr. De Rosa (Gettyimages)
Jonathan Haidt, in his book “Happiness Hypothesis”, uses the metaphor of the elephant to represent our emotions, and our rationality is like the rider trying to guide it. However, the elephant often follows its instincts, such as the well-known fear of the mouse, something incomprehensible to its human rider. The real skill lies in understanding those emotions and, with the limited rational capacity of our prefrontal cortex, directing them in a non-destructive way.
Although we can make various observations and use pejorative terms about emotions, it cannot be denied that, despite their complexity, they are an essential part of the human experience. What would our lives be without them? Everything beautiful and sad that we have built revolves around emotions.
* Dr. Enrique De Rosa Alabaster specializes in mental health issues. He is a psychiatrist, neurologist, sexologist and forensic doctor
What is the role of emotions and psychology in votingSocial anxiety: how fear of socializing impacts quality of lifeAnxiety and depression: the importance of early detection in medical consultation