• Pawani Chauhan

Emotion; your brain creates them

“Animals and humans are very similar at the bottom of their minds, but very different at the top their minds”

What they feel is a lot similar to what we feel but pretty much different from what they perceive than what we perceive. As humans, we have cognitive abilities and they are incapable of that. Emotions felt by animals and humans are quite similar, but the way of expressing them is very distinct from our E.g. The dog would wag his tail when it is happy, but humans obviously can’t do that. Everyone knows what emotions mean until they are asked to define it. Emotions are a response by our mind and body to an environmental stimulus. They play a very indispensable role in our life and without them, life would be meaningless. We have different kinds of emotion and every single one of them serves a purpose, it is either good or bad but never feels neutral, now a question strikes our mind is, why don’t we have neutral thoughts? That’s because we are always feeling something, it is either positive or negative because neutral feeling does not influence our cognition and behaviour. We have 6 emotions -sadness, disgust, anger, surprise, fear, and excitement- that are expressed by the entire globe in the same way as we do. They are building blocks of our emotional lives. They help us in decision making, quick responses to the environment, and influence our behaviour.

There are many theories about how emotions are express, basically about the interplay of physiological events and our cognition.

  • James-Lange Theory

  • Cannon-Bard Theory

  • Two-Factor Theory

  • Cognitive-mediated Theory

  • Feed Feedback Hypothesis

All of them have contributed to the perception of human emotion. Robert Zajonc, the American psychologist, suggested that our arousal is the name of emotions and they direct our cognition. There are times when we have a quick response to a stimulus before even getting time to interpret the situation.

There are many ways in which our emotions are triggered; some emotions are triggered by the environment, Eg. When you are riding a bike and a child comes in front of you, you will abruptly fear to stop your bicycle. Some emotions are triggered by the emotional centres of your brain, Eg. When you are thinking about the wound you had when you fell from your bicycle and you will feel disgusted by thinking about the bruise you got on your knee. Emotions diverge in different parts of the brain; some are in the intricate wrinkled structure of your brain, cerebral cortex, and some are in the sub-cortical parts of your brain; the hypothalamus, thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala.

Cerebral Cortex plays a significant role in showing your emotions. Researchers found that the left hemisphere evokes electrical activity for the positive thoughts while the right hemisphere evokes electrical activity for the negative thoughts. They found that the anterior part of your brain is associated with the Valence - pleasant and unpleasant emotions, whereas the posterior part of your brain is associated with the arousal - the intensity of the emotion. Now question is that how did they comprehend this, there is a system known as EEG Recording (electroencephalogram), this measures the brain activity. Hence an experiment was conducted where a group of people was made to watch a very pleasant movie and repugnant one. Later with this, they mapped brain activity. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the cerebral cortex. It is a very significant part of the human brain, this is what makes humans human. This is part is most developed and complex, it distinguishes us from other living organisms, as it aids us in decision making, problem-solving.

Then, we have our sub-cortical parts, Hypothalamus, Amygdala, Thalamus, and Hippocampus, in the centre of our brain. Just above the brain stem.

Hypothalamus: It regulates our autonomic system by controlling the endocrine system.

Amygdala: It plays a key role in our emotions, it is interpreted that it is related to fear, anger, and anxiety. It experimented that stimulation amygdala can cause anger in a person. Also, the usage of alcohol influences this part of your brain and causes hyper-sexuality and disturbing behaviour.

Thalamus: It is the relay station of your brain, and in terms of emotion this part of your brain senses touch, hear, and what you see.

Hippocampus: It stores your memory and that evokes our emotions. So, our long term memory and your short term memory are formed and then stored here.


There are times when we exactly know what the other person is feeling and we communicate with our feelings, don’t you recognize what your best friend is feeling? We can not only recognize the presence of our emotions but of others too. And how is that? It is because of the non-verbal cues —outward signs of inner feeling— which are facial expressions, body posture, and our other behavior.

“face is the image of our soul”

That explains it all, that what we feel, we somehow express it on our face.

Remember how newly computerized robots tend to read one's emotion how is that programmed? So the thing is, all the 6 emotions —sadness, anger, fear, disgust, happiness, and surprise— that we have assumed as a basic facial expression universally, that is what programmed in robots that can read human emotion, But these finding slightly questionable. As behind every smile, there are drastic changes in life.

It is observed that we tend to change our posture, with our emotions, we clench our teeth or our hands when we are angry, don’t we? The term given to the moment of your body for your emotions is known as body language, scientifically, kinesics.

Emotions are arduous to understand and it cannot be thoroughly defined. Someone wise once said...

“the degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts”

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