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Emotion is an excited state of the mind or feelings. We are aware of an emotions when efforts to achieve our goals are blocked (by showing anger or despair) or land when our goals is attained by showing pleasure or joy. Emotion can be divide into those that are pleasant e.g joy, love and those that are unpleasant (anger and fear) it can also be classified according to intensity.


When an individual experiences an unpleasant emotional outburst e.g anger or fear, a number of bodily changes occur due to the actions the sympathetic division of the body as it prepares the body for emergency action e.g to fight or flee.

  • Increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Rapid respiration.
  • Increase perspiration and decrease saliva and mucus.
  • Decrease in activities of gastrointestinal tracts and more blood vessels are directed to the brain and skeletal muscles.
  • The hairs of the skin become erect causing ‘goose pimples.
  • Increase in sugar level  to provide energy.
  • Blood is able to clot more quickly in case of wounds.

When this emotion subsides, all the organs return to their normal function. Some of these responses can occur during excitement or sexual arousal. During emotional stages such as sorrow, grief some bodily processes are depressed or slowed down.


Whether we are angry, frightened or excited, our physiological responses are similar. Fear makes our heart beat faster so does anger and excitement at the sight of a loved one.Psychologist conclude that people tend to evaluate their feeling by comparing themselves to others around them.

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Certain facial expression have universal meaning like joy, sadness, happiness and disgust showing that such emotional expressions are innate but some others are modified by experience People learn to inhibit facial expression. To conceal feelings of anger or fear For instance, many times body posture can tell us about the emotion of a person than his facial expression. For instance anger towards a boss may be concealed on the face with a smile, but his clenched fists and rigid posture will reveal his intense anger.

At other times, facial expression, emotion and attitudes are learned from our culture. Therefore, some basic expression of emotion are universal while others are super imposed, conventional, stereotyped which are only recognised by others only within that culture.


What are the roles of emotion in our lives??

Are they beneficial or simply sources of disturbance and maladjustment??

A mild level of emotion produces alertness and interest in the task we have at hand. But when emotion becomes intense, whether pleasant or unpleasant, they result in low performance.At low level of arousal, the nervous system may not be functioning very well ,Performance is highest at moderate levels of arousal ,at high level of arousal performance falls. An individual will still be able to carry out well learned habit at optimum level of arousal but will not be able to carry on complex tasks.

Individuals differ in the extent which their behaviour is disrupted by emotional arousal. It has been observed that during crisis like fire outbreak, 15 percent of people are well organised, 70 percent show various degrees of disorganization but can still function effectively. The last 15 percent are so disorganised that they are unable to function at all. They may be running around, screaming or exhibit completely inappropriate behaviour.


 When emotion remain unresolved (e g continue conflict with one’s employer or a chronic illness of a loved one) a persons’ physical and mental health may be impaired. Psychosomatic illness may result. These are disease that have physical symptoms, but their causes are psychological Diseases like ulcers, asthma, migraine headaches, high blood pressure and skin eruptions are some of emotionally related diseases.

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