I started teaching a class last night in Multimedia Production and in this introductory class I spoke about the differences between analog and digital recording. I watched the look of bewilderment on some of the students faces as I explained how digital recording is simply capturing an analog signal and representing it with zeros and ones. I realized that the next phase of explaining how to research facts and not rely on opinions should be to discuss our emotional reactions. Nothing reveals more about the human condition and influence on the environment than a study of human emotions. This is a broad topic and will take several parts to discuss.
I continued to explain to the students that each hardware device in a computer needs a software program to manipulate the hardware. The software program is called a driver. Just like a car requires a human driver to manipulate the controls, a computer requires drivers to manipulate the hardware. A software driver is simply a coded script that lists commands in a sequential order that the hardware obeys. Much the same as our emotions are programmed and scripted as a result of our experiences in our minds and our environments to determine our behavior. In critical times we simply rerun these emotional scripts to react to events, circumstances and occurrences.
The human response occurs either moving toward (fight) or moving away from (flight) an event, circumstance or occurrence. The human body physically reacts to these events by releasing the adrenalin hormone from the adrenal glands located on top of your kidneys. Each emotional response has a physical reaction in your body. These physical reactions can either help or hurt your body if they are repeated and patterned in the memory of your nervous system.
Emotions are not just simple states. They are often layered on top of one another and combine to form other more complex emotional states. Some emotions have more intensity and subsequent physical reactions than others. Their correspondent energy levels are more or less intense dependent upon whether they are acted upon or not. A simple list of emotions and their definitions can be found here.
Many psychologists, psychiatrists and scientific researchers have come up with emotional layering models that allow us to scale their combinations and intensity. Robert Plutchik devised a wheel of eight basic and 8 advanced emotions (each composed of two basic emotions) in 1980. It is the graphic that appears with this article. For a more detailed explanation, click here. Plutchik believed that emotions evolved for the sake of human survival and reproduction, much like Charles Darwin. But why should we be concerned about the layering and intensity of our emotions? Because if we can identify and categorize an emotion, we can better understand not only where it is coming from, but what effect it has on us. The author of Changing Minds said, “Learn to recognize emotions at increasing levels of detail. If you can see the emotion, then you can respond appropriately to it.” A comprehensive but not exhaustive list of emotions can be found here.
Emotions can be described through the meanings of words, phrases and idioms. The science of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) connects these meanings to programmed responses within our neurological systems. Our sympathetic (inputting) nervous system senses our environment. Our central (outputting) nervous system reacts to our emotional states based on our emotional scale (intensity of emotions). Some psychologists believe that there are six main types of basic emotions; happiness, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise. We will discuss these more in Part 2.
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