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Communication Of Emotions Essay

2302 words - 10 pages

Communication of Emotions

PSYC 380

Many people and particularly animals communicate their emotions toward others in some form of postural changes, facial expressions, and nonverbal sounds. Emotions may be seen as subjective, conscious experiences characterized primarily by psycho-physiological expressions, biological reactions, and also mental states. Charles Darwin was said to be one of the first scientists to ever write in reference to the existence and nature of emotions within non-human animals. From this study, various aspects of the communication of emotions will be observed and considered. Is it possible that animals have a type of intelligence whereas they can ...view middle of the document...

This has been observed and seen in a very broad spectrum of species, which include: mice/rats; cats and dogs; rhesus macaques; sheep; and pigs.
According to behaviorists, stimulus-response models are the justification of emotions in animals. While other behaviorists question whether animals exemplify and feel emotions. They cling to the fact that emotions are not universal, not even among humans. Also, it is concluded by some behaviorists that definitions of animal emotions lack robustness.
What some fail to realize is that among animals, social-bonding and alarm-calls exist (Waal, 2011). Emotions can be broadly defined as psychological phenomena that help in behavioral management and control. Panksepp (1998, p. 47ff) suggests that emotions be defined in terms of their adaptive and integrative functions rather than their general input and output characteristics. It is important to extend our research beyond the underlying physiological mechanisms that mask the richness of the emotional lives of many animals and learn more about how emotions serve them as they go about their daily activities. Followers of Rene Descartes and of B. F. Skinner believe that animals are robots that become conditioned to respond automatically to stimuli to which they are exposed (Bekoff, 2000).
Majority of researchers believe that the conscious aspect of an emotion follows the bodily reactions to a stimulus. Primary emotions are seared into the evolutionary old limbic system, the amygdale, which is the emotional part of the brain named by Paul MacLean in 1952. Structures in the limbic system and similar emotional circuits are shared among many different species and provide a neural substrate for primary emotions. In his three-brain-in-one (triune brain) theory, MacLean (1970) suggested that there was the reptilian or primitive brain (possessed by fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals), the limbic or paleomammalian brain (possessed by mammals), and the neocortical or "rational" neomammalian brain (possessed by a few mammals, such as primates), all packaged in the cranium. Each is connected to the other two but each also has its own capacities. While the limbic system seems to be the main area of the brain in which many emotions reside, current research indicates that all emotions are not necessarily packaged into a single system, and there may be more than one emotional system in the brain (Bekoff, 2000).
Cognitive ethologists want to know how brains and mental abilities evolved-how they contribute to survival-and what selective forces resulted in the wide variety of brains and mental abilities that are observed in various animal species. In essence, cognitive ethologists want to know what it is like to be another animal. Asking what it is like to be another animal requires humans to try to think as they do, to enter into their worlds. By engaging in these activities much can be learned about animal emotions (Bekoff, 2000).
It takes much observation...

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