|In psychology, and in ordinary language, emotion is used
to describe a state of a person. Examples of emotions are fear, anger, joy,
hate; see list of emotions. Emotional state is related to mood, sometimes
even identified with it, although emotions are generally considered to be
more transient than moods.
Emotional state is sometimes thought of as being internal and unobservable. However, this is not an assertion which is supported by empirical evidence, since externally-visible changes almost always accompany emotional changes. Emotion is also sometimes regarded as the antithesis of reason; as is suggested by phrases such as appeal to emotion or don't let your emotions take over. Again, there is no empirical support for any generalization of this kind: indeed, anger or fear can often be thought of as a systematic response to observed facts. In any case, it should be clear that the relation between logic and argument on the one hand and emotion on the other, is one which merits careful study.
Common views on emotions
Following are some propositions concerning the nature of emotions. Some of these assertions may be mutually contradictory. Nonetheless, they are an indicator of the wide range of beliefs on this subject:
* An emotion is a mental state or process. This process can be conscious or subconscious, but in any case it attempts to balance and integrate various and often conflicting, facts, experiences and concepts.
* It is a subjective, psychological experience, associated with a group of physiological reactions arising in response to some event. This experience is often held to be involuntary, although there appears to be no agreement on the extent to which one can learn to intentionally influence emotions.
* Emotional experiences consist of thoughts, feelings, affective responses
(e.g., sadness, anger, joy, determination), physiological responses (changes
in internal bodily functioning), cognitive responses (e.g., a conceptual
representation of an event), and behavioural responses (an outward expression
such as flight or resistance).