Emotional IQ

Theory

Introduction

There are numerous theories on the essence and origin of the mechanism of emotions. Many theories hold that negative emotions arise as a result of a need, dissatisfaction, unfulfilled inclination, failure, or misfortune. Positive emotions, on the contrary, originate when a need is fulfilled.

Another group of theories is based on the connection between emotions and cognitive processes. According to these theories an emotion isn't caused by an external event itself, but by one’s attitude towards it, adding a certain (subjective) meaning to the event on a conscious or subconscious level. It explains the fact that people can feel different emotions towards the same situation.

Scientists agree on the fact that emotions, as is the case with any other mental process, are not just a “useless” decoration of our lives, just as they aren’t a rudiment or a residual effect of our evolution.

Types of Emotions

Delight can be seen in general inductive excitement, e.g. laughter, vocal activity, a smile (wrinkles in the corner of one’s eyes, slightly raised cheeks, the use of muscles around one’s eyes, an open or half-open mouth), the head and body often leaning back, active hands, open feet, or increases in one’s heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP). The adaptive meaning of delight is to strengthen the drive towards achieving a goal or satisfying one’s needs.

Bliss (Contentment) can be seen in muscle relaxation, half-closed eyes, and a smile (slightly raised cheeks, stretched mouth), one’s head slightly bent down or to the side. HR and BP are not high. The adaptive meaning of bliss is to recreate moral forces and balances in situations of absolute safety.

Surprise (Interest) can be noticed by remaining stationary (immobile) and watching something that interests a person with their eyes as the object is sometimes chased with eyes or some aspects of the situation is reflected by their body: raised eyebrows, wide open or narrowed eyes, fixed gaze, open or slightly stretched mouth. HR and BP increase. The adaptive meaning of surprise is to prepare the body for possible activity and interaction.

Pride can be indicated by a straight back, lifted head with a reserved smile on the face (stretched mouth, sealed lips, raised cheeks), hands positioned on one’s hips, or one leg slightly lifted or placed on a stair. The adaptive meaning of pride is to gain a superior social status.

Wrath (Anger) can be noticed in lowered eyebrows set closer than usual, a glitter in one’s eyes, dilated nostrils, a tense lower jaw, sealed lips or a grinning mouth (open and stretched), a body that is leaned forward, and tense hands or clenched fists. Waving arms, pacing about or motor anxiety (“tiger in a cage”) are also typical. HR and BP are significantly increased. The adaptive meaning of wrath is to fight against obstacles.

Sorrow (Grief) is most often evident in muscular relaxation, immobility, a head that is bent down or rested on one’s hands while sitting, slightly lowered eyelids, an absent-minded look, and lowered corners of the mouth. The adaptive meaning of sorrow is to decrease useless activities and save one’s energy.

There is also an “active” sorrow which is represented by loud weeping, tearing at one’s hair, and having a tense body. The adaptive meaning of this phenomenon is to get help and sympathy and to also relieve psychic tension.

Fear is evident in wide open eyes and tense lower eyelids, raised and stretched eyebrows, raised eyelids, slightly pursed lips, a closed, half open, or stretched mouth, and a head that is bent down, turned away, or held back. In “passive” forms of fear the hands are pressed against the chest or cover the mouth or face; the body is immobile or stumbling, mincing along. In “active” forms of fear, or in connection with anger, muscular tone and motor activities are heightened as one may be able to do perform acts they normally can’t. HR and BP can be either heightened to maximum or lowered to minimum. The adaptive meaning of fear is to ensure one’s safety in one of three ways: to hide, run away, or attack.

Disgust can be observed in hands that are pushing something away, a head turned to a side, the body leaning back (either by the shoulders or the lower part of the body), a wrinkled nose, lowered eyebrows, a raised upper lip, and a tense mouth. HR and BP can be high. The adaptive meaning of disgust is to ensure the avoidance of the object that doesn’t correspond to our needs.

Functions of Emotions

1. Signal – the emotion signals about some urgent need and something related to it in the outside world.

2. Evaluation – Any emotion has either a negative or positive connotation – it cannot be neutral by nature. Thus, besides giving signals about something, emotions can immediately make one feel if something is good or bad for that person.

3. Stimulation – Emotions can predispose one to a certain attitude. In the most simple of cases emotions can motivate a person to seek a closer relationship with the object causing this emotion (if the emotion is positive). Conversely, emotions can motivate one to avoid an object or situation that causes negative emotions or to destroy the obstacles in one’s way (as in the case of wrath.)

4. Communication – Everyone’s emotions can be expressed through mimicry or pantomime. Facial expression or gestures expressed while one is experiencing a certain emotion help others to understand that person through empathy; it makes the proper dialogue/interaction and appropriateness of one’s behavior towards the other person possible. The perception of others’ emotions is the most important and powerful response mechanism to our actions.

5. Energy – Experiencing intense emotions is accompanied by automatic hormonal rushes that lead the body to a new level of resource mobilization. In a state of emotional excitement a person can do actions that require more strength and intensity.