Identifying and measuring our emotions is difficult because it is not easy to objectively assess what we are feeling at that specific situation for emotions are subjective experiences. To accurately identify the range of our emotions and to classify it correctly takes greater control and self-awareness that I could not possibly muster. I have tried to identify the emotions based on the situations that triggered it. The James-Lange theory of emotion said that we first have physiological responses to a situation and only then will we interpret those experiences to determine the present emotion (Zajonc & McIntosh, 1992).Which is actually how most of us respond to an situation, like when I knew I felt anxious because I was feeling uneasy by getting late for class. On the other hand, I also felt confused on whether I got it mixed up; whether I experienced the situation and then the physiological arousal together with the emotion occurred at the same time, the Cannon-Bard theory supports this explanation although they did not give much importance to the thoughts that occur during that experience (Stein, Trabasso & Liwag, 1993).
Although, we get to experience a myriad of emotions and in varying degrees, some emotions are easier to identify like happiness and anger, while differentiating being upset from being sad is difficult. I could categorize it according to whether it is positive or negative and when I smiled I knew that I was happy at that time. Facial feedback theory says that the facial changes that occur in response to an event cues our brain and then define what kind of emotion we feel at that moment (Strongman, 1996).
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I also observed that we tend to respond to facial expressions, like when a person burst into tears we know that she is sad or afraid. With this activity, I learned that emotions, physical arousal, cognitive thoughts, and our brain interact together to produce different emotions. As to how all these element interact remains to be discovered, which I think will always be an aspect that will remain a mystery.
Stein, N., Trabasso, T. & Liwag, M. (1993). The representation and organization of emotional
experience: Unfolding the emotion episode. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of Emotions (pp. 279-300). New York: Guilford.
Strongman, K. (1996). The Psychology of Emotion: Theories of Emotion in Perspective, 4th ed.
New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Zajonc, R. & McIntosh, D. (1992). Emotions research: Some promising questions and some
questionable promises. Psychological Science, 3, 70-74.
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