The nature of emotions

The nature of emotions


In deepening the meaning of the nature of emotions, its true dimension seems to hide. At the same time as having the ability to modulate the activity of other cognitive functions. In this way, lthey would have a dominant role in the structuring of cognitive processes. In the sense that the bidirectionality between the structural and the functional, between the organic and the psychological, gives them some universality.

The neurobiological mechanisms that sustain emotional reactions, determine only a cerebral structuring composed of three superstructures or hierarchically organized brains (integrated behavior).


  • 1 The nature of emotions: biology
  • 2 Brain hemispheres in the nature of emotions
  • 3 Different emotional experiences

The nature of emotions: biology

Therefore, it is not a matter of produce coordinated emotional responses and experiences, completely projected as something essential objective, since the limbic system with the cerebral substrate It allows the experimentation of the different emotional phenomena. That is, if we want, we can consciously influence or evoke in the worst case, involuntary reverberations.

Yes René Descartes consolidated the conception of emotions as disruptive of cognitionprobably did not take into account the fundamental role of prefrontal cortex in the integration of critical sensory and emotional information. Above all, for decision-making and in terms of adaptive social behavior it refers.

The interpretation, expression and modulation of emotions simply implies comprehensive models that integrate motivation, emotion and cognition (Fridja, 1993). The different neurophysiological and functional subsystems that are involved in each of the emotional reactions with their own identity are also involved in the knowledge. For affective reverberation implements rapid and unconscious responses, not very precise but effective (tonsillitis).

Evolution of the nature of emotions

The reptilian brain recruits the emotional and remains in the shadow of the phylogeny of the sapient species. However, we should consider the connections that exist in the reverse direction, those neural hierarchies (Perna, 2005) that are based on the highest proportion of nerve connections and that are projected from the original systems to the recent ones.

We observe how the passions since Plato have been gaining ground and virtue, and if not, that they tell the spirits already beatified. Affection does not subordinate passion, it is not tangible, in any case it provokes it in its organic manifestation of the pursuit of happiness. But there are intermediate grades, as well as visible forms that the new neurophysiological and functional neuroimaging techniques allow to be projected in a graphic way. After all, that is the natural state of the person, imagine other planes and evoke the deterministic discrepancy.

New emotional models

William James highlights the role of peripheral responses (autonomous and motor) in the constitution of emotional experiences. Apart from warning that we are witnessing an emotional revolution; suggests theoretical models on the perception of somatic changes. Changes that give rise to eferences of induced activation of visceral changes corresponding to a specific emotion.

Although this happened on a physiological level and was not a psychological reality, the same visceral changes occur in very different states of emotion, and even in non-emotional states. So if visceral changes are too slow to constitute a source of emotional feelings, no matter how much we want to exalt a feeling or even an intuition, intense emotions fail to provoke them. Emotion results from a nonspecific physiological activation, but from a qualitative determination.

Brain hemispheres in the nature of emotions

Do we not talk about the two hemispheres and affective asymmetry? Isn't it true that emotions are not private property of the right hemisphere? The fact of analyzing lesions in that particularly sensitive part and verifying their affective reach, is not so alien to insensitivity that it can occur objectively in full activity of the left hemisphere.

Robotics will not end the perception, nor the excitement and evocations that the set of images cause on that cenesthetic soul. The asymmetry can only occur with respect to the processing of the basic affect (nice-nasty) It causes reciprocal inhibition and competition is done equally equitably.

The dorsal route predominates when a rapid reaction is required, relatively automatic and independent of consciousness. The ventral route does so in case an explicit perception is necessary. Similarly, reverberation becomes a stimulus of the sensory scale that requires adaptive behavior with positive valence and an approximation action.

According to Damasio, the body appears before the mind, so the physical is an obligatory substratum of the thinking: "We are and then we think, and we think only to the extent that we are, because the structures and operations of being cause thought"(Damasio, 2000). Empirical evidence shows that, often, feelings lead us in the right direction where we make good use of logic.

Reason for more so that affective evocation is the best medicine against uncertainty and hypocrisy. Reverberating affections along with the neural interrelation, by extension, allows the planning, programming and control of our actions and our creativity.

Neural systems

If my feeling depends on the state of the body and the neural systems that control it, each body state corresponds to a way of thinking. Way of thinking that is rich in ideas when the body state is in the positive or slow and repetitive when it is in the opposite. Emotion has established itself as an evolutionary tradition that emphasizes the adaptive function of emotional phenomena.

In addition, it is defined as the manifestation of motivational potential, as long as it is activated by an appropriate trigger stimulus (Buck, 1991). Therefore, the emotional experience in regard to conscious motivation becomes a syncretic cognition. But if that motivation is unconscious, the feeling is syncretic, but not its optional speculation.

Different emotional experiences

Would we attend intuitive evidence, if my body obeys the impulse of stimuli in the absence of verbalizable cognitions, typical of the left hemisphere? According to Buck, Emotional experience differs from one individual to another, depending on their social learning history and their syncretic cognition.. Knowledge in experience interacts with analytical cognition and becomes pure learning.

The nature of emotions, however, far from being valuable and contrary to what some cognitivists think, is expressive and metaphorically interpretable. According to Tomkins, Each emotion is characterized by a specific cortical firing rate. Surprise, for example, implies a high neural rate, which progressively decreases in emotions such as fear or interest.

We will be faced with the facial expression of an emotion when we circumstantially intensify attention to the details that transcend mere sensory perception. We will be in a state of mental drunkenness if we do not confuse emotion with precognition. And these emotions, sometimes elusive and perhaps so fascinating, experiences that we call emotions (Feldman, 2007), have the honor to worry us to the point, that the voluntary exaggeration of facial expression, in what it becomes an emotion, increases the intensity of the feeling experienced (Sylvan S. Tomkins script theory).

Francisco Martínez Painter (ffank)

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