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There is an old saying that states that “humans live by their emotions,” to an extent this is true since it through overt and internal emotions that a person feels daily that dictates their actions to a particular degree.
What must be understood though is that emotions themselves are rooted in human biology in which the complex arrangement of emotions that exist within the human psyche at present are a direct result of evolutionary processes that necessitated their creation? As a person grows and develops they, in turn, start to come into full awareness of their emotions and as a result, become more expressive in their actions and behaviors (Jolles, 555).
Understanding the Biological Connection of Emotions
It is a well-known fact that as a person grows and matures they experience a variety of emotions such as anger, fear, worry, etc. however such emotional states are inherently connected to an individual’s survival mechanism. For example, states related to anger, fear, and worry can be directly correlated to the state of our distant aboriginal ancestors who needed such emotions to stay alive within their respective environments.
In fact, the James-Lange theory specifically states that a person’s emotions are inherently tied to their actions wherein emotional states are a direct result of bodily changes. For example, a person would be sad or lonely if they are constantly alone or when a person punches another the feeling of anger comes as a direct result of the action of punching.
While the James-Lange theory has as of late lost a certain degree of its relevance in the understanding of emotion most psychologists agree that it did help to establish the currently widely held belief that emotional states are an inherently influenced by biological processes. For example, the emotional instability that is noted in women undergoing their period or during pregnancy shows how changes that occur within a person’s body has a direct and externally visible effect on how emotions manifest themselves.
Other studies which point out the connection between biology and emotions indicate that individuals that have either experienced brain damage or had subsequently taken drugs that affect the mind display notably different emotional states before the damage or when they took the drugs in question.
Studies such as those by Salovey (2007) indicate that since individual parts of the brain are responsible for certain displays of emotion it goes without saying that should the brain be affected in some way whether through physical trauma or chemical manipulation a person’s ability to display certain emotional states would, of course, be affected as well (Salovey,393)
Of particular interest are a variety of studies which state that it was only when humanity developed social tendencies and created what is now known as a “society” that the full range of emotions that is evident in most people today started to develop.
Linquist (2007) explains that the concept of social emotions came about as a direct response to the necessity of motivating social behaviors which at the time was considered a necessary adaptive biological trait since it was through the creation of early societies that humanity began to evolve and adapt as a group resulting in the development of modern-day civilizations (Linquist, 848 – 851).
Based on what has been presented so far, it can be seen that emotions are a direct result of biological processes that originated from the evolutionary necessity of forming social groups.
Jolles, Jelle. “Age, sex, and pubertal phase influence mentalizing about emotions and actions in adolescents.” Developmental Neuropsychology 35.5 (2010): 555-569. Academic Search Premier.
Linquist, Stefan. “Prospects for a dual inheritance model of emotional evolution.” Philosophy Of Science 74.5 (2007): 848-859. Academic Search Premier. 2012.
Salovey, Peter. “Regulating anger and sadness: an exploration of discrete emotions in emotion regulation.” Journal Of Happiness Studies 8.3 (2007): 393-427. Academic Search Premier. 2012.