ARE chemistry and philosophy. Famous writers such as Descartes

ARE EMOTIONS REAL?

I chose this question because of its links to
chemistry and psychology, both subjects that I find very intriguing, and because
the reality of the mind is linked to this, which is a topic we have covered in
lessons. The topic of the mind and emotions is one that has been pondered by
many thinkers and philosophers for centuries. In order to simplify the question
asked in this essay, I will first define what I mean by ‘real’ and what I
define as an ’emotion’. This will add clarity to this essay and help me to form
an adequate conclusion. When I use the term ‘real’, I mean that the emotions
are the result of chemicals being released into
the brain, and therefore tangible and measurable. For the purposes of this essay, an emotion shall be defined as a subjective
state of mind or ‘feeling’ that affects a person’s thoughts and actions. As
this topic is linked to the mind, there are many theories and models about the
emotions put forward by experts in many different fields of study, for example, psychology, chemistry and
philosophy. Famous writers such as Descartes and Darwin amongst others have
written on this subject. Though their theories are quite similar, the
differences are what count. I will evaluate and decide which theory has the
most accurate grounding in my opinion by the evidence given by my sources.
There are three categories of theories: psychological, neurological and
cognitive. The Psychological theories propose that changes in the body are
responsible for the existence of emotions, neurological theories suggest that
emotions are caused by activity in the brain, and finally cognitive theories
imply that thoughts and other mental activities are what control the emotions.

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Theory 1: Evolutionary Theory of Emotions

Charles Darwin proposed that emotions have been
evolved to aid humans and animals in surviving and reproducing. These are very
important factors for a species exceed as a whole. To provide an example, love
and affection make people want to reproduce. Fear compels people be more
cautious and to flee when a danger is too great. Emotions can motivate people
to adapt to stimuli in different situations. The emotions are crucial to the
survival of a species as they are what Govern instincts and help a species to defend
themselves in harsh conditions and adapt to a changing ecosystem and environment.
This is a scientific approach and scientists have discovered that the emotions
are caused by the release of chemicals inside the brain. The majority of these
theories are discussing why the chemicals are released. Chemicals such as
dopamine are released when person A meets a good-looking person B of the
opposite gender, making person A feel attracted to person B, and potentially
ending in reproduction, resulting in a stronger, more developed and longer
living species.

Theory 2: The James-Lange Theory
of Emotions

The
James-Lange theory is a well-known psychological theory of emotion. Initially
proposed by psychologists Carl Lange and William James, this theory suggests
that your emotions are a product of psychological reactions to a stimulus. For
example, you are walking through a forest in the dead of night and hear
something a quite a distance off. Your body starts trembling, your heart beats
faster and you start to sweat. This theory suggests the opposite to common ideas
that you are trembling because you are afraid, but this, in fact, suggests that
you are afraid, because you are trembling. The idea of emotions being linked to
psychological responses is very big in this area of philosophy. The theories
linked to physical states do not have a definitive conclusion yet, as there
will always be people who disagree with other people’s ideas.

Theory
3: The Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotions

This is
another well-known psychological theory, initially thought of by Walter Cannon
because he disagreed with the James-Lange theory on a few different terms.
First, he proposed that someone can have a psychological reaction to something
without feeling the linked emotion. For example, you are sweating because you getting
hot, not because you are frightened. Cannon also suggests that emotional
responses occur much too fast to be caused by physical states, for example, you
would start feeling fear long before you start trembling or your heart starts
beating faster. Walter proposed his theories in the 1920s, and his work was
added to by Philip bard in the 1930s. He suggested that emotions and
psychological reactions are experienced at the same time and from that, he decreed that emotions are the result of an
impulse being sent to the brain as the result of sensing of a stimulus.

Theory
4: The Schechter-Singer Theory of Emotions

The
Schechter-Singer theory is an example of a cognitive theory. Also known as the
two-factor theory, this theory suggests that the psychological response happens
before you experience the emotion, and then the
reason for the response has to be identified to label and experience it
as an emotion. In short, a response triggered by a stimulus is logically
interpreted and labelled as being caused by something,
resulting in the emotion linked to that thing. The Schechter-Singer theory is
based off both the James-Lange theory and the Cannon-Bard theory, although they
seem to contradict. The Schechter-Singer theory, like the James-Lange theory,
suggests that emotions are caused by psychological reactions, but also suggests
that similar psychological reactions can result in many different emotions. For example, if you have a fast heartbeat and sweaty
hands during an important maths test, you will probably identify your emotion
as anxiety. If you have the same physical responses on a third date with the
opposite gender, you might see those responses as love or affection. This theory
is an answer to both the Cannon-Bard Theory and the Schechter-Singer theory, as
it uses elements of both, but leaves nothing out of either.

Theory
5: The Cognitive Appraisal Theory of Emotions

The
cognitive appraisal theory is a theory suggesting that one must subconsciously think
about experiencing an emotion before experiencing that emotion. This theory was
created by Richard Lazarus, a pioneer in the subject of emotion. According to
his theory, there are two parts to experiencing an emotion. The two parts are
quite simple, but are what make this an important theory in the community of
theories. The two parts are: first, your sensory organs must sense a stimulus.
Then a thought occurs, and that leads to
the experience of an emotion and a psychological response. For example, you are
out in the woods, (again) and you come across a big bear. A thought goes through
your head and then you feel fear and start to tremble. The thought that occurs
could be linked to instincts and reflexes, as they are thoughts that aren’t consciously
created by that person.

Theory
6: The Facial-Feedback Theory of Emotions

The
Facial-Feedback theory states that facial expressions are linked with emotions.
Charles Darwin and William James both noted that psychological reactions were
linked to causing emotions, rather than being caused by reactions. Supporters
of this theory suggested that the facial muscles had a direct link with
emotions, for example, people who are forced to smile at boring occasions are
more likely to enjoy it than those who have a neutral or frowning facial expression.

Other Theories:

Other
theories include theories such as Descartes’ and Plutchik’s theories that all
emotions branch out from a small number of distinct emotions such as fear,
hate, love and happiness. These emotions combine and dilute to form more
acutely specific emotions as shown in Plutchik’s “wheel of emotions”. Scientists
agree with Darwin and say that the emotions are the result of unconscious thoughts
sending impulses to release chemicals called neurotransmitters that affect the way
that the brain processes information, the amount of which could be measured and
a subject’s emotion could be determined by research, and emotions could be
created by electrically stimulating parts of the brain to produce more of a
certain neurotransmitter, therefore forcing an emotion upon a subject. Descartes
and Plutchik were right in the sense all emotions originate from a few, simple
emotions, but were unaware of what caused this or how it happened.

Conclusion:

In
my opinion, I think that the cognitive appraisal
theory is the most accurate and is what I will side with. I think it is the
most accurate because I believe that emotions come from chemicals being released
into the brain, and for that to happen, a
thought must occur. Emotions cannot exist without thoughts to provoke them. To conclude
I will say that I think that emotions are real, tangible, and can be measured
and created by surgery. The reality of emotion

Bibliography:

·        
https://www.verywell.com/theories-of-emotion
(for the theories)

·        
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/emotion/
(for more useful information)

·        
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