Archive for the ‘Emotions’ Category
The ability to recognize and work with different emotions is fundamental to psychological flexibility and well-being. Neuroscience has contributed to the understanding of the neural bases of emotion, emotion regulation, and emotional intelligence, and has begun to elucidate the brain mechanisms involved in emotion processing. Of great interest is the degree to which these mechanisms demonstrate neuroplasticity in both anatomical and functional levels of the brain.
For many, music exists to express emotions. Music stimulates both psychological mood and physiological changes including heart rate and breathing. Music can help anxiety. It drives the body with loud, fast music making people lively and promoting dance. Slow, soft music can make people calm or sad. Are these inherent responses to music or are they culturally learned? To find out we must look at the brain responses to music emotion and evolution.
There are many characteristics of music affecting our emotions. Sad music seems to use a lower pitch, smooth transitions, and low intensity movements. Happy music appears to use loud, fast and high pitch, associated with rapid dancers high-energy movements used for dancing. While music effects physiological system, it also stimulates the reward centers. In fact, music can be addictive, bringing great rewards in the excitement of playing live music, dancing at live concerts, and just listening to that favorite song over and over. Music is great to one person, offensive to another.
What is your emotional fingerprint? Why are some people so quick to recover from setbacks? Why are some so attuned to others that they seem psychic? Why are some people always up and others always down? In his thirty-year quest to answer these questions, pioneering neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson discovered that each of us has an Emotional Style, composed of Resilience, Outlook, Social Intuition, Self-Awareness, Sensitivity to Context, and Attention. Where we fall on these six continuums determines our own “emotional fingerprint.” Sharing Dr. Davidson’s fascinating case histories and experiments, “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” offers a new model for treating conditions like autism and depression as it empowers us all to better understand ourselves–and live more meaningful lives.
Read also: Compassion: The Ultimate Moral Choice?
In “The Science of Opera,” actor Stephen Fry and comedian Alan Davies convene a panel of researchers from University College London to discuss what happened physiologically when the pair were hooked up to various sensors as they attended Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House. Like the pairing at my first opera, Fry is a knowledgeable lover of the art and Davies is almost an opera virgin. The gadgets attached to Fry and Davies measured their heart rates, breathing, sweat, and “various other emotional responses.” What do we learn from the experiment? For one thing, as neurobiologist Michael Trimble informs us, “music is different from all the other arts.” For example, ninety percent of people surveyed admit to being moved to tears by a piece of music. Only five to ten percent say the same about painting or sculpture. Fry and Davies’ autonomic nervous system responses confirm the power of music (and story) to move us beyond our conscious control and awareness.
When parents and teachers consider how children learn, it’s usually the intellectual aspects of the activity they have in mind. Sidney D’Mello would like to change that. The University of Notre Dame psychologist has been studying the role of feelings in learning for close to a decade, and he has concluded that complex learning is almost inevitably “an emotionally charged experience,” as he wrote in a paper published in the journal Learning and Instruction earlier this year.
During the learning experiments described in his paper, he notes, the participating students reported being in a neutral state only about a quarter of the time. The rest of the time, they were were experiencing lots of feelings: surprise, delight, engagement, confusion, boredom, frustration. Another counter-intuitive contention made by D’Mello is that even negative emotions can play a productive role in learning. In this latest study, he and his coauthor Art Graesser examined the effects of confusion.
Professor Bloom discussion of emotions as useful evolutionary adaptations for dealing with our social environment, describes evolutionary explanations for several important emotional responses, such as the love between parents and their offspring, the gratitude we feel towards cooperative behaviors, the spite we feel for cheaters, and the cultural differences in feelings of revenge.
The Coherent Heart: Heart-Brain Interactions, Psychophysiological Coherence, and the Emergence of System-Wide Order
This article presents theory and research on the scientific study of emotion that emphasizes the importance of coherence as an optimal psychophysiological state. A dynamic systems view of the interrelations between psychological, cognitive and emotional systems and neural communication networks in the human organism provides a foundation for the view presented. These communication networks are examined from an information processing perspective and reveal a fundamental order in heart-brain interactions and a harmonious synchronization of physiological systems associated with positive emotions. The concept of coherence is drawn on to understand optimal functioning which is naturally reflected in the heart’s rhythmic patterns. Research is presented identifying various psychophysiological states linked to these patterns, with neurocardiological coherence emerging as having significant impacts on well being. These include psychophysiological as well as improved cognitive performance. From this, the central role of the heart is explored in terms of biochemical, biophysical and energetic interactions. Appendices provide further details and research on; psychophysiological functioning, reference previous research in this area, details on research linking coherence with optimal cognitive performance, heart brain synchronization and the energetic signature of the various psychophysiological modes.
We live immersed in a culture which endows rationality with such supremacy that it devalues emotions. As they are devalued, emotions are presented as if they only happen occasionally, as a disturbance in our rational existence. Indeed, most of the time we only recognize those emotions which are extremes, which do not fit in the day to day operation of our culture. This is evident in the way we refer to someone when we say they are “being emotional”.
But we do not see the fundamental emotion that pervades this culture. It is so pervasive that we are blind to it. We are stuck in an emotion of distrust. Distrust leads to a search for certainty and control, which in turn leads to a desire to appropriate everything – blindly oblivious to what this manner of living brings with it. But we are not happy in this. Now and then we catch a glimmer that this is not right, that this manner of living leads to the destruction of not only the spiritual and ethical aspects of our lives, but also the natural world which has given origin to us and which makes possible our very existence as human beings. No wonder we experience anxiety as we catch this glimmer!