In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Meaning and Definition of Emotions 2. Characteristics of Emotions 3. Functioning of Emotions in Life 4. Education of the Emotions.
Meaning and Definition of Emotions:
Each of the instinct has got a cognitive, conative and affective side. When a child faces a bull approaching him, he perceives and recognises the bull which is a cognitive act. He is afraid of the bull, which is an affective act. He escapes, which is a conative act. Feeling afraid or fearing is a particular state of mind, which accompanies the instinct. This affective state is named as ’emotion’.
Definitions of Emotion:
Various definitions of emotions have been presented as follows:
1. McDougal regards emotion as a mode of experience that accompanies the working of an instinctive act.
2. Etymologically, the word emotion is derived from the Latin word ‘emovere’ which means ‘to stir up’, ‘to agitate’.
3. Woodworth takes the above cue, and defines: ‘Emotion’ is a ‘moved’ or stirred-up state of the organism. It is stirred-up state of feeling – that is the way it appears to the individual himself. It is a disturbed muscular and glandular activity – that is the why it appears to an external observer.
4. Crow and Crow define as under:
“An emotion is an affective experience that accompanies generalised inner adjustment and mental and physiological stirred-up states in the individual, and that shows itself in his overt behaviour.
In brief we may analyse the following characteristics of emotions:
1. Every emotional experience or reaction involves feeling such as anger or fear or joy.
2. An emotional reaction is accompanied by marked physiological changes involving both visceral and peripheral areas.
3. An emotional reaction or experience includes an impulse towards some kind of action.
4. On the subjective side, emotion involves awareness or perception of what it is or what it might be, that causes the impulses and feelings.
Physiological and visceral changes are numerous. The nerves…………………………. articular manner. There is greater circulation of blood. Some glands like adrenal glands pour secretion into blood. The heart action is increased. The blood pressure is raised. Blood is directed to external parts of the body.
When a child blushes, the face becomes red because of the circulation of the blood even up to the skin. Liver also releases more blood sugar. More muscular tones are produced. In some other emotions, such as anger, fear and anxiety, gastrointestinal changes take place, and digestion is slowed down.
It was also mentioned above that an emotion includes some sort of impulsive act. Each emotion is a motor set. Fear is a set for escape, and anger for attack. Mirth is a readiness to laugh and grief is readiness to cry. There is also a language of the emotions, composed of gestures, postures, facial expression, and tone of voice, exclamations and bodily movements. Such a gesticulation has become standardized through long ages, and now it is not difficult to judge the emotions of a person through the facial expression and gesticulation.
Characteristics of Emotions:
1. Emotions accompany Instincts:
Emotions mostly occur when associated with some instinct or biological drive. For instance fear is associated with the instinct of escape, in a situation which is cognized by the individual as dangerous. In this Known that each of the 14 instincts mentioned by McDougal has a particular emotion.
2. Emotions are primary or secondary:
Primary emotions are the counterparts of the instincts. Beside these 14 emotions there are other emotions which are either variations of the primary emotions or are auxiliary to these. For instance resentment, indignation, sullenness, rage and fury are the variations of anger.
Doubt, embarrassment anxiety and worry are auxiliary to fear. Indian psychologists have mentioned 33 types of emotions, out of which 10 are the primary or permanent, called and 23 are secondary or helping called. The ten primary emotions correspond to ten instincts.
3. Emotions are subjective:
These are, in reality, personal experiences. These are things of the heart as we say.
4. External situations produce Emotions:
An external situation like thunder engenders fear in the mind of the individual. An awkward dress arouses laughter. Woodworth says that several emotions are distinguished in practice, by stating the external situations in which they occur. Indian experts have mentioned the same idea by saying that situation arouses emotion.
5. Overt Behaviour is the product of Emotion:
Each emotion, in words of Woodworth, is distinguished by the type of overt response demanded. Emotion of amusement arouses laughter. Fear arouses crying. Grief arouses weeping. This is explained by Indian experts as emotional overt behaviour. Ordinarily each emotion has its own expressive behaviour. But many emotions may have common behaviour. Woodworth illustrates two photographs depicting two different facial expressions. When shown to 100 persons, they got a variety of judgment regarding each of the two facial expressions. Even then certain strong emotions have their own overt behaviour.
6. Emotions are complex affective states:
An emotion is complex state. It includes many things. It includes cognition to the extent that the individual experiences emotion only after he recognises a particular situation. The core of an emotion is feeling. The feelings can have degree of strength or violence. When the situation is strong enough to perturb the mind, the feeling develops into a strong emotion (called by Indian psychologists).
Indian psychologists describe the process of development of strong emotion in the following way. Firstly, there is a feeling, latent in the mind of the individual. The feeling (one of ten types) is inborn and permanent It is aroused by a certain situation and it gives rise to overt behaviour is again helped some auxiliary or secondary emotions and culminates or develops fully into strong emotion.
7. Range of emotions:
As is clear from above emotions have a wide range and wide degree. These can be aroused in young as well as in old. They occur at all stages of mental development. These may be light to begin with, but in course of time, these become conditioned and assume strength. An emotion may last for a minute. I feel irritated when a salesman canvassed for commodities that I don’t want, or a mosquito buzzes when I want to sleep, or a person crowds ahead of me in queue, or a person interrupts when I talk, or a person shows bad manners by spitting the beetle juice etc.
But the annoyance will last only for the time the event occurs. But there can be situations which will have a very deep effect, deep enough to persist even in the mind in the form of an emotional mood even after the event passes. My boss rebukes me for coming late, the moment I enter the office. I remain moody the whole day.
Again, emotions have swings. One emotion may give rise to another emotion. Disappointment due to getting low marks gives rise to anger towards the examiner. Sometimes there can be a network of emotions, all helping each other. Fear, frustration, dejection and anger may operate simultaneously.
When adolescents revolt against the school authorities, or college authorities, a number of emotions like dismay, disgust, hatred, anger, excitement, courage, rage, fury and fellow-feeling, all come into play. A revolt is a cluster of emotions developed to their height.
Emotions develop gradually, when incited by numerous situations. When we see a tragedy, event after event in the play arouses emotion of pathos, till we lose control and weep. The skill of a dramatist lies in his ability to develop emotions of the spectators to their highest limit, or the climax of emotions called in Indian dramaturgy.
8. Reasoning and Emotion:
Reasoning provides a check on emotional upsurge. The emotional response is weakened by the application of intellect. Thus there is antithesis between reasoning and emotion. In the evolution of life, we find that emotions have accompanied the living organism from the very beginning, but reasoning has developed only in the higher forms and species. Emotion is thus primitive, and reasoning is modern.
Emotion works at the lower level, and reasoning at the higher level. This fact, opined by Western psychologists, has been illustrated by Indian philosophers like Kapila and Ishwar Krishna long before Christ. Ishwar Krishna says that status of reasoning is that of a chief minister, but the status of emotion is that of a head of the department only. The minister should exercise his check over the head of the department, and so should reasoning have a check on emotions.
Many children go astray and run amuck when led by strong emotions, only to repent afterwards. They must therefore be trained to reason well and exercise check on their emotions when necessary. This is a life-long training. Under a strong impulse, a clerk quarrels with his boss and tenders his resignation, only to repent afterwards.
Functioning of Emotions in Life:
1. Emotions and Physical Health:
Physical health is greatly affected by emotions. The ductless glands become quick. Heart beating increases, along with the rate of respirations. Nerves get tense. In anger and fear and digestion is affected. Fear causes nervousness and confusion. Love and joy accelerate digestion and promote health.
Prolonged emotional strain may cause stammering. The cause of stammering of many children is their emotionality.
3. Attitude of Timidity or of Aggression:
Attitude of Timidity or of Aggression may result from an emotional strain or frustration.
Emotional distress and frustration interfere with learning efficiency. On the other hand, joy, hope, encouragement, feeling of worth whileness and satisfaction at achievement help the student to concentrate better on the studies. Pleasant emotions motivate learning. It is said that nothing succeeds like success. One feeling of achievement gives rise to stimulation for better work. To be successful adds zest to living and affords emotional stimulation towards further successful achievement.
5. Emotion and Social Life:
A person with good temper, moderate emotions and control over anger is liked by all. He makes friends and wins social applause. Temper and temperament affect the social life of a person.
6. Emotions and Social Life:
Situations may not be happy for each child. But the child, who does not feel much frustrated, is able to adjust somehow to the unhealthy environment also. Emotional neurotics are the maladjusted pupils, and they become delinquents and problem children.
7. Emotions and Mental Health:
The same situation can arouse different degrees of emotions in different persons. Those who worry much, feel greatly frustrated, or rage in fury, disturb their own mental health. Persons who cannot control their emotions become neurotics and develop anxiety, hysteria, schizofrenia, mania, obsession and other mental diseases. If children are not guided properly to check their emotions, they develop excessive fears, anxiety, complexes and mental conflicts.
All the exponents of the school of psychoanalysis attach great importance to the emotional experiences of children. Often the conflicts and complexes harboured in childhood also. Control over emotions is essential for mental health. Mental health needs peace, joy and self- satisfaction.
Blessed is the person who can stand the stresses and strains of life. Modern life has become so complex that at every step we encounter unpleasant situations that may arouse unpleasant emotions and thus disturb our mental health. And hence we crave for peace and calmness. One of the best means of controlling emotions and getting peace its religion. Lester D. Crow and Alice Crow, two psychologists of America elaborate this point as under.
Religious experience is emotional as well as intellectual. The inner joy and peace that are experienced by the sincerely religious persons are emotional reactions. Religion gives an individual an opportunity to face life’s problems with confidence. It develops in him an attitude that will serve him well in crises. Religion, however, should not be lived only on an emotional level but should utilize mental insights as faith is supplemented by reason. The religious experience should become not an emotional indulgence but a way of life.
Our Indian seers and philosophers laid great stress on religious education and experiences. Patanjali elaborates a detailed and perfect system of Yoga for the control of mind, the development of mental health, and the development of higher mental powers. The Bhakti Movement had as its goal the uplift of man through the development of emotion of deep devotion. Deep devotion could control all other emotions.
It is unfortunate that religious training, so important for training of emotions, has been abandoned in Indian schools. Religious teaching should be employed as one of the means for sublimation of emotions and development of mental health.
8. Emotional Maturity:
One of the objectives of education is assistance to maturity. Besides intellectual maturity, emotional maturity is very important for successful living. Every child must be lead to have consistency in emotions, and to form definite attitudes. It is not uncommon to find an adult with in consistency of emotional behaviour, who is nicknamed as childish. An emotional behaviour is indicative of maturity of a person.
Emotional un-maturity is exemplified in a number of response patterns e.g., attention getting, rationalisation, protection, and day-dreaming. Only those who outgrow such modes of behaviour are well-adjusted and socially competent men.
Emotions are called the raw-material of character. They are the dynamic of all our actions and the teacher must take account of them.
Education of the Emotions:
1. Education of the emotions does not mean that they should be strengthened or eliminated, but so conditioned that their duration and intensity be justified by the situation that provokes them. There is no reason why a student who fails in the matriculation, should feel disappointed to such a degree that he commits suicide, or why a late-comer who is rebuked by the teacher for his late-coming, should be enraged to such a degree that he beats the teacher. Emotions should, therefore, be checked and controlled.
2. There are difficulties in the education of emotions. There may be conflicts and previous emotional experiences in the mind of the child. There may be existing already some inner drives and desires, which may persist very strongly. Even then some improvements can be made in the situation.
Emotional direction can be affected through as many as four types of procedures viz.:
(iii) Sublimation, and
3. Methods of Training of Emotions:
These are useful in giving positive direction to emotional behaviour. These are related to self-interest. A healthy attitude is helpful in acquiring emotional control. An attitude of hope for success tends to establish success, but an attitude of failure encourages disappointment and failure.
It is a technical term which means discharge of emotions. It means to provide occasion for the fulfillment of the emotion and discharge of pent-up feelings. Catharsis reduces emotional tension and avoids undesirable emotional reactions. Aesthetic experience, music and art are good means of Catharsis. These exercise the emotions and purge of the coarser elements.
The pent-up energy is let off in a natural way, and the subject feels very light as he believes himself of some burden. The teacher can provide other opportunities such as picnics, mock-parliament, celebration of festivals (like Holi) when the children are free to express their emotions.
By sublimation of emotions, an affect is made to push conflicting influences from lower levels of development to progressive higher levels where harmonious personality can be affected.
Emotions also can be redirected like-wise. But it is not as useful as sublimation.
4. Suggestion to teachers:
A teacher should recognise the emotional difference in individual children. He should attend to emotional deviations from the normal. He should afford of participation in social activities, and build up a good programme of art, music, drama and sports.
5. Suggestions to parents:
Behaviour of parents greatly affects children; hence parents should follow an intelligent programme of household activities.