The Place of Emotions in the Composition of Personality

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What Is an Emotional Experience?

Emotions or feelings in a person are subjective reactions of the human consciousness to objective reality. It is our personal experience of objects and phenomena of the outside world, our attitude towards the events around us, and it gives a subjective value to our experiences. Particularly strong, sudden, and violent but short-lived emotional reactions are called affects.

What Causes Emotions in a Person?

Emotion is caused by every phenomenon in the environment of a man that concerns him in some way, that enters into a relationship with his “I”. The appearance of feelings means that something is happening outside or inside the human body that endangers the life processes of the individual or encourages and promotes them. This means that feelings are an expression of a person’s basic life needs, their need to ensure their survival, to gain security, to find support and protection, and to realize themselves, to create their abilities and exercise their power. “Emotions are ultimately an expression of the human aspiration to actualize oneself”,— Goldstein K.: Human nature in the light of psychopathology.

What Is the Role of Positive Emotions in a Person?

Pleasant emotions positively affect the mental life of a person as reactions to the satisfaction of some human aspiration. Once, it is the realization of some physiological need or desire for activity, the second time, it is the satisfaction of achieving success, of possessing one’s love, or of affirming one’s individuality. Man’s inability to meet such life needs regularly causes feelings of discomfort or negative emotional reactions that can be detrimental to a person’s mental life.

How the Personal Mental State Affects Emotional Reactions?

The type and strength of emotions evoked in a man depend on the stimuli that provoke them, but also on the current physical and mental state of the subject who reacts to them. That is why different people react to the same objective event with different emotions. But the same man can welcome the same stimulus in different life situations with different emotions. Emotions are the most subjective, and therefore the most capricious components of the human personality.

What Psychological and Physiological Reactions Cause Emotions in a Person?

An emotional reaction awakens in a person a call to action: once, escape from a dangerous situation or a struggle with an obstacle, other times, it is a movement towards the source of some pleasure. Along with psychic manifestations, the physical components of emotional reactions also occur. This changes the work of the glands eg., increased sweating or decreased salivation, blood flow, acceleration of the lungs, increase in blood pressure, respiratory and digestive organs, increased breathing, need for defecation, as well as skeletal muscles: automatic actions, increased gesticulation or general stiffness, certain facial expressions and more. There have even been authors who have argued that an emotional reaction to an experience actually consists of various changes in physical functions, and the psychological experience of emotions is only a consequence of that. — William James and Carl Lange, James-Lange theory of the origin and nature of emotions.

What Types of Emotions Occur in a Person?

There are many different emotions. The basic ones are joy, sorrow, anger, and fear. These are relatively simple feelings that occur in different variants: as a feeling of self-confidence or inferiority, as depression and discouragement or the need for aggression, etc. More complex are the emotions of the so-called social and moral feelings, such as sympathy, compassion, love, and a sense of social responsibility, but also selfishness, conceit, asociality, etc. Also, the so-called intellectual feelings which include: surprise, astonishment, impatience, boredom, security, doubt, etc. The experience of the beautiful, the sublime, the tragic, or the comic belongs among the aesthetic feelings. There are also religious feelings, such as fear of supernatural forces, contrition before them, gratitude to an imaginary deity, and so on.

Why Emotions Vary in a Person?

The emotional reaction to some experiences can weaken over time. It is an emotional adaptation, which usually occurs when something that is often experienced always arouses the same emotional reaction in a person. But one can also become less and less sensitive to an experience that is often repeated. It is emotional desensitization. But also, re-experiencing something that bothers us can cause more and more irritation every time.

How Emotions Affect a Person’s Perception and Behavior?

Emotions give a personal note to all our psychic contents. Thus, the way we perceive the objective world depends to some extent on our emotional attitude towards what we observe. The man primarily perceives what is related to his needs. The flow of our thoughts and perceptions that occur to us in a particular situation depends on our current mood. That is how Lund F. H.: The psychology of belief found a high connection between what someone thinks is true and what they want to be true. Emotions significantly affect our decisions as well as our overall behavior, as emotional attitudes largely govern our reasoning and logical conclusion. And, we also learn more easily, which is in line with our aspirations. — Anne S. McKillop: The relationship between the reader’s attitude and certain types of reading response.