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The Experience of Emotion

21 September, 2015 - 17:43


  1. Explain the biological experience of emotion.
  2. Summarize the psychological theories of emotion.
  3. Give examples of the ways that emotion is communicated.

The most fundamental emotions, known as the basic emotions, are those ofanger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. The basic emotions have a long history in human evolution, and they have developed in large part to help us make rapid judgments about stimuli and to quickly guide appropriate behavior (LeDoux, 2000). 1 The basic e motions are determined in large part by one of the oldest parts of our brain, the limbic system, including the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the thalamus. Because they are primarily evolutionarily determined, the basic emotions are experienced and displayed in much the same way across cultures (Ekman, 1992; Elfenbein & Ambady, 2002, 2003; Fridland, Ekman, & Oster, 1987), 2

Fridlund, A. J., Ekman, P., & Oster, H. (1987). Facial expressions of emotion. In A. Siegman & S. Feldstein (Eds.), Nonverbal behavior and communication (2nd ed., pp. 143–223). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.] and people are quite accurate at judging the facial expressions of people from different cultures. View Note 10.8 "Video Clip: The Basic Emotions" to see a demonstration of the basic emotions.