Feelings, like water, can be as strong as a tidal wave or as gentle as a ripple. Like the waves on the ocean, they rise and fall and can drown you if you’re not careful.
A skilled sailor is the one who can use the tides to go anywhere they want whereas an amateur is doomed to follow where the waves lead them. To help us make sense of the complexities of mind here are 9 weird psychological facts about human feelings.
Recent studies have distinguished two types of emotional signals i.e. intentional and unintentional. They called these two types of signals “given and given off” which serve as forms of communication.
The theory was propounded through a drama that actors perform on stage where they try to portray the characters’ emotions and hide their own. Even the best actors had faced trouble with this.
An example of a “given” sign maybe that loud laugh you make at your boss’s joke. A “given off” sign would be your eyes unintentionally squinting in annoyance at his bad sense of humor.
To break it down your emotions will always remain true even when you want to fake it. The best example is the laugh that you just want to show in Infront of everyone but your facial expression says you didn’t get the joke.
Default Emotional Experiences versus General Emotional experiences
Imagine running away from an animal, it is pretty scary! Now just remove the animal from the situation and imagine that you are running for a race like that!
Emotion scientists have recently begun to make a distinction between prototypical emotions that are directed at a definite thing for example fear and emotions that aren’t directed at anything in particular, such as a feeling of general well-being.
In both the scenarios the person may be running at the same pace but one is driven by fear and the other is driven by triumph. In the simpler language in one scenario you are running intentionally and in the other unintentionally but your mechanism is the same but the feelings are different.
Anxiety is a notorious form of undirected emotional effect. People who have anxiety, often can’t name exactly what they are anxious about but scientists hope that by distinguishing between these categories of emotion, we can come up with better therapies.
Feeling Good and Feeling Enthusiastic are different
According to recent studies, the psychologists believe that all images can be related on two levels, how good they make you feel and how enthusiastic they make you feel.
In technical terms, the good feeling is called “Valence” and the enthusiastic feeling is called “Arousal”. Knowing this helps us figure out whether we’re feelings say, pleasantly tired, which is low arousal but high valence, or lazy which is low arousal and low valence.
To explain it through an example – a picture of two swans makes people feel good but not all that enthusiastic whereas a picture of fireworks makes people feel about as good but a lot more enthusiastic.
The Emotional Life of Punctuation
Compare these two text messages; “I’m done “or “I’m done!”. They feel different, right? One is the beginning of a breakup text and the other is someone celebrating the end of exams.
Psychologists believe that punctuation and text messages can replace nonverbal cues used in conversations. While texting became popular, some people worried that it would lead to us forgetting how to relate to each other.
It turns out that text messaging isn’t the end of the world. Rather it has also found the way of saying the unspoken.
Increasing the size of your emotional vocabulary! Have ever thought about it! According to psychologists, someone who can distinguish between feeling righteous anger and bad anger is better equipped to respond to those feelings in a skillful way.
People who use large vocabularies of words for emotions, visit the doctor less and are less likely to lash out when they’ve been offended. In simpler terms, the people who know exact words and more ways to convey their emotions are always less likely to get into a trauma.
Another way of looking at this is that people who can well articulate their emotional state are better equipped to deal with their feelings.
Yesterday, someone missed his bus and was late to work. Scientists believe that the emotions he felt about that depend on a process called emotional amplification.
If it’s easy to imagine a good outcome such as making it to work on time, he/she would be really be annoyed when something bad happened but if it’s hard to imagine things going well, he/she wouldn’t be too bothered at a bad outcome. In simpler terms, if you are already pissed at something then you care less and less about right or wrong.
The next time you get annoyed about something, you can console yourself that you are on the right track. If you are pissed about what happened then you will stop expecting good things and will land up doing more wrongs just organically.
To make it even simple if you keep feeling bad then you will be drawn to the wrong things and will willingly keep on going like that.
Did you know that you’re the human fire alarm? Well, in a way you are. Each of our brains has a region called the amygdala. This area becomes active when we feel strong emotions.
Scientists use the word “salient” to refer to these very strong emotions. In psychology, salience refers to any perception that stands out from the rest. Negative emotions like fear and anger are naturally very salient, so they make our amygdala light up.
Emotions and Decision-Making
Psychologists Psychologists are starting to discover that our decision-making process is intimately wrapped up in our emotions, in both good and bad ways. Even decisions that seem cut and dry.
Our emotions serve as guides; those nagging feelings of “this is too risky” or “I don’t feel sure about this” are worth listening to. While early generations of scholars believed that emotions always interfered negatively with decision-making, we now know that they can sometimes help.
But just to be safe, if you’re feeling emotional, maybe it’s a good idea to stay away from the craps table. To make it simple when you have a feeling that this might not be right without any evidence and if it persists then listen to rather than ignoring.
Emotional Appeals in Political Campaigns
Politicians aren’t known for being the most honest people but there does seem to be a method to their madness. Researchers studying several elections around the world found that political ads generally followed a set pattern.
Early in the campaign, ads focus on invoking pride. Near the end of the campaign, ads focus on provoking fear. The message seems to be, if you want someone to go with you for the long haul, appeal to their pride, and if you want them to take action, appeal to their sense of self-preservation.
Lastly an observation……
Have you ever told someone a joke and been met with a stony face and when you ask them why they didn’t find it funny, they say “I actually find it preposterous”?
Cultural psychologists’ study something called emotional display rules. Different cultures have different norms for expressing emotions. In some cultures, emotions are expressed very obviously. We refer to these cultures as ones that amplify emotions, whereas in others, they are not expressed at all even when they’re strongly felt. These cultures are said to negate emotions.
So, When you’re speaking to someone from another culture, it’s wise to give them the benefit of the doubt, as you don’t know the place they are coming from.