SOC327 2017 Tut3 – Mon 1330

When was the last time you felt something ambiguous? A feeling that you couldn’t name? Was it perhaps a mixture of two, three, or many other more familiar emotions? Are there basic emotions that everyone feels and understands? The evidence seems to suggest that there are at least four to six universal basic emotions, based on Paul Ekman’s analysis of facial expressions across cultures. These have a genetic basis, and are experienced by all humans. The great majority of emotions seem to be more complex amalgams of these basic emotions. Indeed, in 1980, the psychologist Robert Plutchik developed a fascinating ‘colour wheel’ of emotions to depict the various possible combinations and intensities of basic emotions and their resulting ‘complex emotions’.

However, many of the psychological studies into basic and complex emotions do not account for the inherently social way in which emotions are combined and experienced. Norbet Elias’ Civilizing Process, and Michel Foucault’s studies of discipline and punishment (compounded in the construction of Jermeny Bentham’s famous Panopticon as a vehicle for moral reform) are historical examples of how society engenders complex, socially constituted emotions such as shame and guilt to maintain social order and police the boundaries of class and status. Think about how the modern institutions of society – work, family, church, government, market, media, social networks – shape and assemble your emotions in ever more complex forms.

Reflect on your feelings right now. Are they basic or complex? Individual or social?

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26 Comments

  1. I believe that there are a few simple and biologically based emotions, however I would argue that we more typically experience a combination of simple emotions. In the 21st century, is it even possible to feel a single basic emotion? Are you ever just happy?

    Perhaps for a moment… but in Western society our lives are so fast paced that more complex emotions are inevitable. Moreover, they are influenced by our social experiences and are constantly being reshaped by institutions such as family, friendship, the workplace, government etc.

    In regards to ambiguous emotions, I find that I am inundated with several emotions whenever I witness a homeless person on the street. My emotional response is a combination of sadness and pity, as well as shame, guilt and anger. I feel angry that such individuals are ostracised by society and the government; I feel ashamed because I don’t know how to improve the situation; and I feel guilty if I do not give them any money. While I can comprehend my individual feelings towards the situation, the experience of all five at once is definitely overwhelming. In such situations, our response is socially constructed, and shaped by how we were raised and how other people around us behave.

    #S327UOW17 #Tut3 #Mon1330

    • I completely agree with your statements. I also think that in this day and age it seems impossible to feel a singular emotion.
      With reference to your example seeing a homeless person on the street, I would also add grateful. Grateful for the life that I have that I am not in the same situation, but with that also comes a sense of mortification that I have felt a positive emotion based off of someone else’s suffering.

      I think something to note is also that putting a name to the emotions I expressed feeling were hard. I actually googled synonyms of ‘shame’ to try and find I word that more closely resembled the emotion I felt after gratefulness. Burkit (2000) explained that this may be due to the complexity of feeling several emotions at one time, and that it creates an “ambiguity that is hard to express verbally”.

  2. I tend to consider the majority of my feelings as generally complex, generally as a mixture of basic emotions that exist in varying degrees that make them difficult to pin point. While on the surface they may seem basic, further thought attempts to identify the undertones that exist. At times this creates great confusion as they are dynamic – with the way I feel shifting as an underlying emotion becomes more prominent within the mixture. Without fully understanding these myself, articulating them to others (whether they be positive or negative) is a constant struggle. Burkit (2000, p.151) clarifies this in a sense as “feelings and emotions, then, while in a complex relationship to one another, are not always identical: they can in fact diverge, giving rise to the ambiguous nature of much emotions experience”.

    Feelings to me make more sense as social. Our experience of feelings and emotions even at an individual level, are greatly influenced by the social sphere that we inhabit. Burkit (2000, p.166) notes that we “make sense of the structures of feelings about the ever-changing social formations in which we live, through metaphors that come to represent these feelings and make possible their social articulation”. Furthermore, Wouters (2004, p. 210) mentions the ‘third nature’ as “the development of a more reflexive and flexible self-regulation” in regards to social communications becoming increasingly flowing and flexible.

    I find these concepts interesting as while we may attempt to understand our feelings and emotions and articulate these to others; there is still a sense of self-regulation that may hinder their communication. This is present within modern institutions of society (particularly in work, family and social networks) that shape our emotions into more complex forms as we may feel that we are unable to openly express them. This somewhat answers the question posed in the lecture – that we cannot always show what you feel most of the time due to the existing self-regulation and social formations that we live.

  3. I believe that as we develop and mature we begin to identify our emotions as complex and extremely dependent on the world around us. I agree with Jonathon Turner’s ideology that more complex emotions are derived from simpler ones. He uses the example that a mixture of sadness, anger and fear, which are all identified as ‘primary emotions’ by Theodore Kemper, can create complex emotions such as shame, guilt and alienation. He suggests that different levels of each primary emotion, contribute to an overall ‘complex’ emotion, showing how different stigma can cause different emotional responses, especially when they have an element of social dependency as in shame, guilt and alienation.

    Our understanding of emotion has changed over time, as social constructs and hierarchy have been dramatically altered, allowing new meaning to arise from emotions. Susan Matt (2003) explains how envy has changed between the 19th and 20th centuries due to changes in the social structure of society. In the 19th century, with very religious influences, envy was seen as sinful and repressed by individuals in society. In contrast, 20th century society encouraged envy as healthy competition to stimulate consumption and economic growth. If I think about our current platform in the 21st century, societal values are often warped by representations of what we should “desire” by the media. Magazines, television and radio are all built off of advertising for products and materialistic ideals. This is further reinforced over social media in the era of sharing, where everyone’s day-to-day experiences are promoted for the world to see. I think that these influences have again changed the emotional regime of envy within society, as individuals become envious of other’s experiences and belongings as seen over a media platform. As Burkitt (2000) said, ‘our emotions are an active response to a relational context’ and I think that all of our emotions are altered by societal and cultural influences of our time.

  4. Reflecting on my feelings at this moment they are definitely a mixture of complex emotions, all being influenced by the events that have happened in my day. I feel stressed about an up coming exam, nervous because it has the deciding vote on what I do with my future, upset because I don’t feel I am ready for it, annoyed because I could of done more sooner to prevent this, and yet ever so slightly relieved because its almost over. I can name each emotion with no problem, but there will never be an exact emotion that encompasses all of that.
    This is why I think Pluchik’s colour wheel, though it tries to define emotions on a multilevel, is still quite one dimensional in a sense. According to the wheel annoyance and nervousness/ fear are two seperate emotions that aren’t connected, yet I feel them at the same time , thus connecting them to me. But I guess in turn this demonstrates how certain emotions, how they react within is and how we act on them is very individual, even if society determines what emotions we feel at a certain time; they are still our own.

    • I agree with your point about Plutchik’s wheel of how different combinations of emotions can be felt, even when depicted as not linked. A further example is, ‘awe’ is said to be modelled from ‘fear’ and ‘surprise’. However, the use of ‘fear’ creates a negative connotation, whereas I see awe as having a greater relation towards a positive experience involving admiration or joy.

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  5. In every society, it is clear that people experience a wide range of emotions, both basic and complex. They may not be able to be named, as across cultures and societies these emotions may vary. I question whether there are an infinite number of emotions? Will we ever be able to name them all?

    Robert Plutchik’s ‘color wheel’ lays a recognizable groundwork for expanding on the basic emotions that we all have, and how they collide to become the next generation of emotions. But, in saying that, I have had many feelings and emotions that I can’t name, and I think many people would be the same even after naming the next generation of emotions. Burkitt (2000) agrees in his statement, ‘Feelings and emotions, then, while in complex relationship to one another, are not always identical; they can in fact diverge, giving rise to the ambiguous nature of much emotional experience.’

    I think the modern institutions, especially the rise of social media and the networks they are able to create have the ability to shape our emotions. The connections we create through universities and schools also have the means to exert a form of social control as well (timetables, and social organization), in which Michael Foucault’s studies of discipline and punishment agrees.

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  6. When considering the ideology of emotions and how they are shaped, I have to agree with Kemper’s notion that there is a generalized scaffold of basic emotions from which more complex and intricate emotions arise and build upon. However, the way each individual experiences and considers these emotions is likely to be influenced by an array of contributing factors.

    As Heise and Calhan (1995) suggest, ‘emotions are supposed to fit the circumstances’. This poses idea the that humans are expected to express and feel emotions depending on what environment and situation they’re exposed to, whilst complying within social norms that have been taught and practiced throughout life. For example, how we understand sadness is that it is a grieving emotion generally felt after a loss, tragedy or disappointment, but depending on the individual upbringing, gender stereotypes, social groups and cultures in which we find ourselves, determines what further emotions stem from that primary building block.

    For example, the primary emotion sadness is experienced distinctively different across genders. It is understood that females generally experience sadness through feelings which can be better described as distress, worry and sorrow, whilst men are more inclined to project their feelings of sadness through anger, agitation, fury and rage. Perhaps this could be due to the fact that it is more acceptable to see a woman cry when sad than a man, or it is more expected to see a man in a heated argument than a woman.

    This contrast of how we experience emotions as individuals explains why it is so seemingly difficult to be able to describe any one emotion because no one person can say that there is a correct way to experience them.

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  7. Emotions are complex things, as such I don’t particularly like Plutchik’s ‘colour wheel’ of emotions. I believe it is too linear to properly describe emotions. For instance, I remember recently feeling happiness, anger and guilt towards an individual, and then feeling sad because I was experiencing all those towards them. I couldn’t describe what I was feeling when asked. I argue that there are some universal emotions which promote survival but even these have been shaped by society as we grow.

    I was interested in reading how guilt and shame maintain social order, and I agree with the statement. When ones deviates from the social norm they are branded outcasts and used as examples of how not to act. Society is able to regulate how people express and construct their emotions. The modern institutions of society construct the norm which we must act within. They dictate what is “normal” in society and sometimes use this to main social status and a separation between social groups. Our basic emotions can be manipulated (as seen in the Panopticon) by regulation and as a result all our emotions could be complex due societies influence. I wonder if there is such a thing as basic emotions in society anymore.

    When reflecting of my feeling right now, I’d say I am relaxed as there is no major assessment deadlines looming, work has been going smoothly and I have good relations with family and friends. However I could argue that even this could be socially constructed, in society there is a stigma to be feeling anything but happy and relaxed when one’s life is going well. When an individual expresses that they are unhappy with their life situation, they are often told to get over it or to look at what they have. Emotions is such a complex thing to study. As much as we attempt to understand them we can only uncover so much, in my opinion, as everyone feels and expresses things differently.

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  8. I believe that more often than not we experience complex emotions, particularly when we are within a social context where interaction is constantly occurring and changing. I think that the concept of complex emotions is particularly relevant within society today as we are being constantly flooded with stimuli from varying sources, which then require interpretation based on our perception of the social and cultural context.
    Societal structures and institutions are constantly changing and evolving, continually reshaping the way we perceive social experiences, and then in turn altering the way we express emotion. I believe that our emotions are influenced, if not controlled, by the social context we are in, in an attempt to maintain social order. For example, through socialisation we are taught to express particular emotions within particular environments. Within the school classroom we should not express annoyance or anger, and at a funeral we are expected to express sadness, not joy. If we do experience emotions that are considered inappropriate, we are taught to repress and hide these from others within our context.
    I tend to agree with Jonathan Turner’s assertion that some emotions are derived from other emotions. A personal example of this is when, in the past, I have answered a question out loud in class and have been incorrect. In this instance, I have felt a combination of emotions including embarrassment, fear, shame, confusion, and anger. While I believe that the combination of these emotions create a complex emotion, I do not have a name for it. Turner then goes on to suggest that shame, for example, is a combination of sadness, anger, and fear. Does this mean that an immeasurable, and possibly infinite, number of emotions are able to be experienced as the result of one social interaction?

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  9. Although there are deemed to be six basic emotions that people attribute, it is difficult to outright say we only experience these basic emotions in one moment or event. Emotions are complex and are felt at all different intensities. Take happiness for example; I am happy right now – overall happy with my life. But I was also happy when I went to a recent concert – but my happiness now seems more neutral whereas my happiness then was to an extreme (BUT, I wasn’t just feeling the heightened emotion of happiness, but also excitement). Burkitt states that “even though we cannot clearly articulate what we are feeling as a specific emotion, we can still think what we feel as a specific emotion”. Our emotions we can still identify through the primary emotions, but when they become ambiguous and a mix of emotions and we cannot identify our emotions and how we feel, then they become more complex.

    Thomas Scheff in his essay “Suppression of Emotion: A Danger to Modern Societies?” explores how modern institutions of society also shape the ways in which we identify and express emotions and how the suppression of our emotions can become dangerous due to a “backlog of un-cried cries, un-laughed laughs etc.” http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/scheff/83.pdf
    Those institutions of work, family, church, government, market, media, social networks etc. tend to dictate what we should feel and what emotions are suitable in certain areas. They also shape what emotions should be, what anger should look like, what happiness should look like.
    Until we start developing further in life, we come to realise that emotions are so much more than what is portrayed around us.
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  10. The emotional colour wheel presents an issue to me as it lists interest, anticipation and intrigue as a form of emotion, where as I see them as cognitive processes fuelled by core emotions such as joy or fear, for example people may be intrigued about a horror movie due to the excitement of fear.

    I agree that the system of basic emotions and the emotion colour wheel do not describe how emotions can be experienced and combined socially. An example of this could be my experience of guilt as a hollow feeling in my gut when I was in school. I could argue that the act of doing something wrong had no physical effect on my body, and that the hollow feeling has originated from a socially instilled sense of morality. Social institutions such as schools, workplaces and family upbringing help to create a socially acceptable sense of right and wrong in my mind through knowledge of shame, consequences and punishment.

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  11. Emotions are a particularly complex subject, and defining or suggesting that all members within society experience a range of universal emotions is an ambiguous statement. As Burkitt suggests, emotions are structures of feeling which gives meaning to relational experience, this indicates, that cultures and societies unlike our own, will experience different relational norms which will ensure that emotions are experienced in a way unlike our own.

    Additionally, it is correct to suggest that emotions are at the core basic and universal. Consider for instance sadness as an emotion, sadness invokes a number of bodily reactions, such as tears, a scrunched up face, shaking of the shoulders and an overall deflated look, to name a few. Would it be correct then to suggest that the sadness I feel when I shed a tear, is equal to the sadness that is experienced by someone who ranges through all these bodily reactions. The way in which the body experiences emotions has a vast range and most of these are socially constructed, related to the discourses within society. As Burkitt states, “Human actions are always connected in some way to the past.” Therefore an individuals past and learned experiences will have an impact upon their reaction to certain stimuli which in turn will evoke an emotional response. Emotions become complex when we consider the fact that they cant become reduced to a simple reaction, or simple feeling. In order to identify a feeling as an emotion there has to be a reflection in which we can understand our reaction, therefore suggesting the complexity of the process, emotion isn’t a simply stated fact.

    In reflection of Robert Plutchik’s colour wheel, I believe that once again social construction and the difference in past experiences an individual has will ensure that basic emotions can not be clearly labelled and defined. If emotions are additionally genetic constructed too, would it not suggest that once again different factors play upon what an individual feels in a given moment.

    I believe that emotions are complex and can not be defined or reduced to a basic 6. Past experiences, genetic make-up and social construction affect individuals differently and so therefore they will learn differently and develop emotions in alternate ways.

  12. I think that our emotions develop as we get older, meaning that at first as children we experience and exhibit what we can identify as the six basic emotions. However, as we get older and begin to understand more greatly what emotions are and how they are affected, we tend to experience more complex emotional elements. We begin to respond to situations differently based on our emotions and the amount of emotion we register to be feeling.
    Emotion can be extremely ambiguous when complex emotions are in play. For example, I was recently tattooed. In that moment, I was feeling a number of things related directly to the situation and the moments that would follow it: I was slightly on edge of anxiousness due to permanently altering my body, I was excited about making a change to my body that would further the uniqueness of my skin, I was experiencing pain, and afterwards I was nervous because I was so far from home while being in quite an uncomfortable situation and relief that the actual tattooing was finished. This is one example of a time I have felt a myriad of emotions at one time or this close to other emotions.
    I feel as though Plutchik’s ‘colour wheel of emotions’ is too clinical to adequately express emotions and the complexity at which they can be felt. It combines different emotions in too linear an example or situation, I think that the way that emotions can be felt and mixed is much more complicated and complex than what the colour wheel portrays. But, I do think it is a pretty interesting example of how emotions were perceived in 1980, because it could just be that in the 37 years since then we have gained a greater understanding or insight into how emotions work?

    • I agree, Caitlin. As we age, things that cause certain emotions may change based on our experiences. An example of this is as a child, if I were to fall and scrape my knee in front of a group of people, the emotion I would have shown was sadness and pain, where as an adult, if the same occurrence were to happen, the feeling that would be stronger would be embarrassment purely based on my societal experiences.

      Plutchik’s colour wheel of emotions is an interesting concept and interpretation of emotion. Whilst I do not agree with it in it’s entirety, I do connect with some of these ‘mixed emotions’ and at times, would interpret my combination of emotions similarly. In saying this, I do not believe that every person feeling multiple emotions at the same time, come out with the same complex emotion. Once again, I believe that all comes down to a persons societal experiences.

      As for socially constituted emotions, I believe that within our society of the westernised world living in the 21st century, we are starting to push the limits in terms of social order. Though we have seen aspects of this in the past (a good example being the swim suit restrictions in the 1920’s which were challenged by many) we are starting to push them further. People are starting to have less fear towards being shamed or made feel guilty based on their actions or beliefs, and are starting to stand up against societal institutions which bring shame and guilt to maintain social order and instead standing proud for who they are and what they believe in.

  13. I do agree with Paul Ekman’s 6 basic emotions theory, although the way we experience each of these emotions is not clear cut. I’m in agreement with Eryn Sharps previous comment that feeling one basic emotion in the 21st century is nearly impossible, rather several emotions interrelate to form a complex emotion that cannot be explained by the individual. For example, traveling overseas alone for the first time -You’re both nervous and excited at the same time. I believe this emotion cannot be explained or labelled do its complex segments. Another example of this is going on a date for the first time. Nervousness, self-doubtand happiness are just a few of the emotions you may experience on the date which cannot be labeled under one emotion. I disagree with Pluchik’s colour wheel, as I believe it does not take into account the fact that certain emotions can be felt at the same time. #S327UOW17 #Tut3 #Mon1330

  14. I believe that as we develop and have different experiences our basic and biological emotions begin to evolve into complex emotions that are greatly impacted by the society and the world around us. I agree with Kemper’s theory that we all have 4 primary emotions: fear, anger, depression and happiness/sadness, which are universal and physiological. He suggests that our social and personal experiences impact the different levels that we feel basic emotions and in turn we then experience complex emotions such as guilt, shame and pride, all of which are basic emotions that have been socialized by our experiences.
    I wonder once we get to a point in our development that we can understand our own basic emotions and the views and feelings of those around us, are we able to simply feel happy or sad without also feeling guilty, fearful or apprehension? Recently I booked an overseas holiday for myself and my sister for her 18th birthday, when I booked and payed the deposit I was incredibly happy, but at the same time there was this underlying feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. While I was happy and excited to have booked our holiday I think I also felt apprehensive that I had committed to do something new, while I have been overseas with my sister before it has never been just the two of us and that scared me a little. I think that the emotions that I felt in this situation were complex, they were influenced by situations and experiences that I have either herd about or seen on the news or in social media.
    I think that Robert Plutchik’s ‘colour wheel’ provides a basic foundation for understanding basic and complex emotions, it was while looking at this and thinking about my emotions that I was able to identify some of what I had been feeling. However I still regularly have feelings that I cannot identify.
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  15. Although there is evidence to suggest there are four to six basic emotions, human experience a much larger, more complex variety of feelings. Generally I find that my emotions are more ambiguous and I often feel several different emotions at the same time.
    I do believe that many of the emotions that we feel, branch off the basic emotions – happiness, sadness, joy, anger, disgust and fear, which majority of individuals are able to understand and detect from other humans. The level of intensity and combination of emotions indicates there is sub-categories of the basic ones, creating an extensive list of feelings that are often left for individual interpretation. Plutchick’s ‘colour wheel’ of emotions is too simplistic in its approach towards emotions, and although it tries to describe multiple feelings, it is unable to link these together – disregarding that humans can experience multiple emotions at the same time.
    Rather than feelings being forces that are contained within us, social situations play a large role in determining how an individual reacts. Burkitt’s article uses the example that if we get angry, it is due to an outside factor, such as people or objects that are “blocking our goals” (2000). These other factors contribute to the complexity of human emotion, which may be behind what causes many of us to have ambiguous feelings.

  16. Very rarely am I able to pinpoint moments in life in which a singular, basic emotion is felt in response to events around me. Everyday stresses that could be simply labelled “anxiety” or “excitement” are almost always amalgamated with anticipation and hope. Only in situations that illicit a more primal response such as when self-preservation becomes imperative would I be able to label my emotional experience as simply “fear” or “anger”. I feel that may be why in contemporary society rather than describe emotion as “happy” or “sad”, we use terms such as “positive” and “negative”, suggesting a difficult to define spectrum of emotion exists, which correlates with recent studies listed above. This also dispels in my mind the concept of the colour wheel.
    As to why this may be, I feel that societal factors do play a large role within my emotional responses and dictate the complexity of my emotions. Sitting an exam for example, without the pressures and need to succeed pressed upon oneself by societal expectations and custom, would hardly elicit the emotional response that is widely documented within High School Certificate student populations.

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  17. In my opinion, no emotion is separate from another. When I consider some of my happy moments, I can see more than one emotion behind it such as happiness and shock and excitement when I found out my sister was pregnant. Then when she gave birth, happiness, excitement and shock were all present but also fear that my niece would hate me and sadness that my niece was no longer a belly which I know is weird. As she gets older I feel happy and sad that she is becoming independent, positive and negative all at once.
    I agree with Paul Ekman’s research on the four to six universal basic emotions and with Jonathon Turner’s ideology that more complex emotions are derived from simpler ones. Turner uses the example that a mixture of sadness, anger and fear can create complex emotions such as shame, guilt and alienation, as discussed in the lecture.
    I find this exercise interesting as while we attempt to understand our feelings and emotions, we can be lost for words to describe such emotion and our self-regulation hinders us. This is present within modern institutions of society, in particular work, family and social networks that shape our emotions to more complex forms as we may feel that we are unable to openly express them.
    I disagree with Pluchik’s colour wheel, as I believe it does not show the complexity at which emotions can be felt. It is interesting to see how our understanding of emotions has changed over such a relatively short period of time. #S327UOW17 #tut3 #Mon1330

  18. A concept from this week’s material was that emotions are universally experienced. The question of how many emotions exist is not clear. This is due to conflicting results put forth by researchers. One study presented by Paul Eckman discovered that there are 6 universal emotions – happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger and disgust. He identified these through what is referred to as the ‘Facial Action Coding System’. However, whilst I think this does have some credibility in regards to being universally experienced, I would argue it is too basic when considering how emotion is experienced. This is because in reality we are rarely ever experiencing one emotion at a time. Instead I would suggest that we experience a multitude of emotions that are complex.

    Facial expressions may only convey one emotion as opposed to all that are being experienced. For example, I might look nervous before I try a new ride at a theme park because I don’t know what to expect. I may also feel doubt about if I’ll be okay. However, on the inside I’m also feeling excited, happy and energised by the adrenaline rush taking over my body. Alternatively, the latter emotions may not be seen on my face. Consequently, I find Robert Plutchik’s ‘colour wheel’ of emotions intriguing because it demonstrates how a combination of emotions can be experienced simultaneously which relates more to my experience. However, I feel at the same time it does not accurately represent the experience of emotion because it is too simplistic and appears to miss many potential links between more diverse emotions such as shame and pride.

    Overall I do think that there are emotions that do exist inherently in all of us such as happiness and sadness. Yet as we grow older, I believe our secondary emotions may by influenced by other institutions in society. An example of an institution is religion which teaches people how to feel about certain things such as disapproval and disgust about homosexuality and sex before marriage. This is due to such things being considered ‘sins’. Would a religious person that feels that way actually experience emotions like that if they had not been taught? Alternatively, perhaps one can be religious yet still be very accepting of matters such as homosexuality? Therefore, it could be suggested the degree to which social institutions affect your emotions depends on individual circumstances.

    #S327UOW17 #tut3 #Mon1330

  19. As we grow and develop, so too do our emotions, and in turn, our emotional range. As an infant, the emotions we express are basic. We laugh when we’re happy, we cry when we’re sad, and all the while we learn. As we get older, our emotions change and adapt to our society and the environment in which we are raised.

    Ian Burkitt (2000) said, that “our emotions are an active response to a relational context” so as we grow to better understand our society, environments and our “relational context” so do our emotions grow. Our basic happy, sad, angry etc. emotions evolve into things like guilt and melancholy and loss. As for Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotion (1980), this shows a somewhat, perhaps all too, straightforward idea of emotion. While I feel that it is closer to the ways in which complex emotions are formed and interact with each other, the reality of the emotional turmoil that can often arise in a human experience will strongly argue against the simplicity of the wheel. There is not always a distinct and straightforward way of identifying all emotions being felt at any given time.

    Ultimately, humans are complex creatures with complex emotional ranges, not matter how ‘basic’ the emotions they feel.

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  20. In order to understand our own emotions, we must be recognise what exactly an emotion is. Hoqckenbury (2007) describes it as “An emotion is a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response.”
    There are so many emotions we may face in our day-to-day lives, that we are not able to describe. This may be because their are both negative and positive things going on and yet, how do we determine whether they are basic or complex? are these feelings due to individual or society? It is interesting to note that the ‘colour wheel of emotions’ demonstrate similar emotions as being adjacent to one another on the wheel. This makes me question how this theory is correct if emotions are complex?
    When reflecting on my own personal feelings right now, the first emotions I feel when reflecting is calm and appreciation. This is due to their not being any upcoming major assignments of events in which would usually make me quite fearful and nervous and appreciative for the fact that all things in my life are good. Does this mean that my emotions are now individual because these feelings are not revolved around me being in a social context and these emotions are not triggered by societal influences? Turner suggests that different levels of primary emotions contribute to a complex emotion and thus, show different stigmas around emotional responses.

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  21. A concept from this week’s material was that emotions are universally experienced. The question of how many emotions exist is not clear. This is due to conflicting results put forth by researchers. One study presented by Paul Eckman discovered that there were 6 universal emotions – happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger and disgust. He identified these through what is referred to as the ‘Facial Action Coding System’. However, whilst I think this does have some credibility in regards to being universally experienced, I would argue it is too basic when considering how emotion is experienced. This is because in reality we are rarely ever experiencing one emotion at a time. Instead I would suggest that we experience a multitude of emotions that are complex.

    Facial expressions may only convey one emotion as opposed to all that are being experienced. For example, I might look nervous before I try a new ride at a theme park because I don’t know what to expect. I may also feel doubt about if I’ll be okay. However, on the inside I’m also feeling excited, happy and energised by the adrenaline rush taking over my body. The latter emotions may not be seen on my face. Consequently, I find Robert Plutchik’s ‘colour wheel’ of emotions intriguing because it demonstrates how a combination of emotions can be experienced simultaneously which relates more to my experience. However, I feel at the same time it does not accurately represent the experience of emotion because it is too simplistic and appears to miss many potential links between more diverse emotions such as shame and pride.

    Overall I do think that there are emotions that do exist inherently in all of us such as happiness and sadness. Yet as we grow older, I believe our secondary emotions may by influenced by other institutions in society. An example of an institution is religion which teaches people how to feel about certain things such as disapproval and disgust about homosexuality and sex before marriage. This is due to such things being considered ‘sins’. Would a religious person that feels that way actually experience emotions like that if they had not been taught? Alternatively, perhaps one can be religious yet still be very accepting of matters such as homosexuality? Therefore, it could be suggested the degree to which social institutions affect your emotions depends on individual circumstances.

    #S327UOW17 #tut3 #Mon1330

  22. I believe that in today’s society, individuals do have a mixture of emotions, however I argue that we experience a combination of more simple emotions. Do we actually know what emotions we are feeling, when we felt them? I don’t think individuals know how they feel without having to stop and think and analyse our thoughts and feelings in different situations. If asked ‘how are you’, most would reply with the quick answer of ‘good’. What if people started answering with how they might actually feel, would an individual only be happy? How might others respond if the response is more emotionally complex?
    I find this study of complex emotions quite interesting as we attempt to understand our own personal feelings, how our emotions are learnt to be emotions, whether his is through our past experiences or if it is socially constructed. My feelings right now are mostly happy and slightly nervous. My emotions would be complex because although I think right now I may be happy, there may be feelings that I may not yet be able to identify as of yet.

  23. There are few basic pre-determined emotions that individuals have genetically received. Additionally there are various emotions that cannot be categorised as they a “blend” as Griffiths explains. Thus, the emotional blends are influenced by the social environment that we have become accustomed too which reinforces the concept of “nature versus nurture”.

    Although Robert Plutchik outlines the many combinations of emotions and feelings that an individuals are presented with, a major cultural barrier exists. As the ‘colour wheel of emotions’ demonstrates only an English basis, the concept of environmental factors influencing emotion is again represented. Similarly, Burkitt indicates emotions have their own ‘vocabularies’ in different cultures as they “capture complex cultural relation labels and imaginings”.

    Furthermore, as some emotions are socially constructed, the more “ambivalent” have deep individual grounding. Various feelings and bodily or facial expressions can be highly personal and vastly different even between relatives.

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