Emotion includes a wide range of observable behaviors, expressed feelings, and changes in the body state. This diversity in intended meanings of the word emotion makes it hard to understand and study. For many of us emotions are very personal states, difficult to define or to identify except in the most obvious instances. Moreover, many aspects of emotion seem unconscious to us. Even simple emotional states appear to be much more complicated than states as hunger and thirst. The expression of emotion is also an effective means of communication.
There are four basic components of emotions:
1. The physiological aspect, which involves active changes in the body physically, e.g., tachycardia (rapid heart rate), tachypnoea (fast breathing), dilated pupils etc. For example, try to recall the pounding heart and dry mouth, just before looking at the notice board for the annual exam results.
2. The cognitive component, which emphasizes the importance of thoughts, beliefs, and expectations in determining the type and intensity of emotional response. For example, if we look back and think about our friends/relatives, we do recall that ‘sensitivity’ was inbuilt in some.
3. The behavioural component, which involves the various forms of expressions that emotions may take , e.g., facial expressions, bodily postures, gestures, and tone of voice which changes with anger, joy, fear, sorrow, etc. Some ‘express’ more, others less. As in, in our culture girls have a much free hand at crying, if they cry it’s ok, and when boys do that, they are ‘sissy’.
4. The subjective experience, which includes elements of pleasure, or displeasure, intensity of feeling, etc. what one individual experiences as intensely as pleasurable may be boring for another. So, remember the best and worst moment of your life for five minutes each, and try to recognise what is the difference while you were reliving those states.
(References available on request)