WHAT ARE EMOTIONS?
It is very difficult to answer the question, “What are emotions?” Most
of us know emotions when we see them but find it difficult to define
them. Are they physical, mental, or both? As a scientist, I feel safe saying
that emotions are psychological phenomena that help in behavioral
management and control; they are phenomena that emote us, that make
us move. A distinction is often made between “emotional responses” to
physical reactions and “feelings” that arise from thoughts. Emotional
responses show that the body is responding to certain external stimuli.
For example, we see an oncoming car about to hit us and we feel fear—
increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. But actually,
the fear isn’t felt until the brain responds to the physiological
changes that were a reaction to seeing the oncoming car.
Feelings, on the other hand, are psychological phenomena......