To Psychology/Linguistic Communities: A Standard Cause/Effect Definition of Emotions?

To: Psychology/Linguistic Communities

(This email is going out to over 18,000 world-wide members within the academic communities of psychology, psychiatry and linguistics.)

Subject:

Can the world psychological/linguistic communities standardize the definition of “emotion” with the cause/effect relationship between cognition, biology, emotion, and consciousness? How would this be done and, who would do it?

Research Feedback:

If you are interested in adding to my research by sending to me your own working, research, or personal literary definition of “emotions”, or its reference, I would be very thankful.  Mine is at the end of this email. 

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Date: rev2019-11-10b

Analogy:

The “check engine” light on the dash of a car is not causal but an effect.  The issue is within the engine not the light.  The light is the messenger informing the operator, if remedial action is not taken, of potential engine damage because of existing physical conditions.  The light is not destructive and does not need control, management, nor regulation.  The light provides an invaluable service for the health and well-being of the engine.  To ignore the light or to take action upon the light, that is, to control, manage, or regulate the light itself would be detrimental to the survival of the engine.

Abstract:

Current use of the word “emotion” as used in science and literature lacks a clear cause/effect relationship between the cognitive activities, biological responses, emotions, and consciousness awarenesses and even imply a meaning where emotions are both cause and effect. There are efforts to remedy this conflict. (Beck, J., 2011), (Greenberger, D., Padesky, C., 2016).

  1. If emotions are causal to the body/brain’s biological changes then emotions can be destructive and in possible need of emotional management, control, and regulation as currently developed in cognitive behavior therapies.
  2. If cognition is causal to the body/brain’s biological changes and emotions are the perception of this change, then cognition – not emotions – can be destructive and in need of cognitive management, control, and regulation.

Sequential brain imaging correlated with cognitive awareness, biological changes, and emotional awareness by consciousness would seem to be invaluable research here. But logically, a person cannot have an emotional response to something until he/she is aware of that something.  And emotional feelings of an event entail an awareness of biological conditions of said event which also cannot occur until there is an actual change in biology.  Thus logically, the sequential order is (1st) cognitive awareness, (2nd) biological change/state, and (3rd) emotional awareness.

  • I propose the following definition:
    1. Emotions are the perception of a biological state/changes precipitated by cognitive activities.
    2. In other words: cognitive activities precipitate brain/body biological states/changes that consciousness then perceives as emotions.
    3. These definitions can be further advanced to include the variety of neurological networks and bio-chemistry involved within the development of an emotional feeling perceived by consciousness.
    4. Therefore: since cognition is causal to the effect emotion, it is cognition, not emotions, that can be destructive and aberrant and in need of cognitive control, management, and regulation.

Discussion:

Emotions, or the words used to discuss emotions, such as fear, anger, joy, combine the cognitive activities that caused the biological responses and the biological responses themselves.   I would like to take the current concept of an emotion and divide it into its parts as a procession of events:

  • Cognitive Awareness
    1. Cognition deals with the processes of knowing, namely, perception, recognition, conceiving – which includes imagination and inspiration – and reasoning. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Cognition: thought process)
    2. A person becomes aware of a snake. A cobra appeared before him out of the brush.  He recognizes the snake as a cobra and he understands the danger he is in.  (There is another possible reflexive reaction that I won’t go into here.)
  • Biological Changes
    1. This cognitive awareness precipitates a group of bio-chemical and neurological events and changes in the body and brain.
    2. With our snake, this typically would be the flight-fright-or-freeze response.
  • Biological Awareness
    1. The person becomes aware of his/her bodily changes and state.
    2. faster breathing, racing heart, and the adrenalin rush are some examples for the emotion fear.
  • Emotional Awareness/Emotional Event
    1. From birth we have been linguistically taught the summation of the above one-through-three events or processes is an emotion.
    2. Consciousness combines the cause (cognitive awarenesses) and effect (body changes) into one neuro-linguistic emotional paradigm of awareness. In this case, fear.
    3. Different cognitive activities combined with different biological brain/body responses gives us the variety of emotions we perceive.
  • Consequential Physical Behavior
    1. Because a person’s behavior can be driven by this cognitive/body combination state of being called emotions, such driving emotions as anger, revenge, jealousy, greed, can readily be labeled destructive and aberrant. That is, emotions must be controlled and managed because of an emotional A person can be emotionally out of control.

From birth children have been taught that the summation of these events or processes is an emotion.  This neuro-linguistic paradigm of emotion is further reinforced as students learn how to read.  The more advanced the reading and studying, the more engrained is this concept of emotions, as is the concept of destructive emotions driving behavior.  Conscious awareness has been neuro-linguistically programmed to understand these emotional chains of events as a singularity called emotion.  By combining causal cognitive thoughts with its biological effect and creating the paradigm emotion, this emotional neuro-linguistic paradigm is both its cause and its effect.

Emotions as being both cause and effect is problematic in scientific discussion.  A distinction must be made; are we discussing emotions as causal or are we discussing emotions as effect?

Cognition as Causal: Emotional Awareness as Effect:

I am interested in self-empowering an individual within their own life experience.  To do so, rather than understanding emotions as espoused in literature for the last 3000 years – such as in Homer’s Iliad – I wish to break up emotions into their events.  Each event or stage of the emotional process can be understood and dissected into their own greater understandings.  Within each of these understandings are areas of self-mastery towards one’s own self-empowerment, health, and well-being.

From a scientific perspective, it is unreasonable to have a term such as emotion that as a process it is its own cause and effect.  The cause, cognitive activities, must be separated from its effect, brain/body biological changes.  Also, these brain/body biological changes are causal to “emotional” feeling awareness must be distinguished as another cause/effect relationship.

From a scientific viewpoint it becomes advantageous to redefine emotions not as a process and series of events and being both cause and effect, but as the end result of this process and series of events:

  1. Emotions are the perception of biological states/changes precipitated by cognitive activities.
  2. Cognitive activities precipitate brain/body biological states/changes that consciousness perceives as emotions.

Emotions, from the neuro-linguistic paradigm as used in literature where emotions can readily be destructive and aberrant and in need of emotional control and emotional regulation is a different linguistic paradigm than that which I am using scientifically.  Here, cognitive activities, not emotions, can be destructive and aberrant because they are causal to the biological states/changes perceived by consciousness.  Biological states/changes perceived by consciousness can now be linguistically understood as emotion.  Here, cognitive activities can be destructive and aberrant and in need of cognitive control and cognitive regulation.  Emotions become nature’s biofeedback mechanism adding a new dimension of understanding of an individual’s cognitive activities.

Emotions in this sense are a reflection of cognitive activities and as such emotional awareness can be used to understand and give greater clarity of the current cognitive activities.  And most important, this emotional self-awareness can be used to guide one’s own cognitive change for one’s own betterment.

There becomes a hugely significant role emotions have evolved into.  I must introduce a new concept here that defines good feeling emotions and bad feeling emotions.  Good feeling and bad feeling emotions have a biological significance.  Good emotional feelings correlate with a healthy biology and negative emotional feelings correlate with an unhealthy biology.   I will discuss this.

If good feeling emotions correlated with an unhealthy activity – such as not eating – the body, if the feelings were followed, would die.  Conversely, if bad feeling emotions correlated with a healthy activity – such as breathing – the body, if the feelings were followed, would not survive.  This logic can be applied to any of numerous cognitive/biological/emotional/consciousness-awareness scenarios.  Therefore, for the body to survive the evolutionary process, good feeling emotions must correlate with healthy biological activity and bad feeling emotions must correlate with unhealthy biological activity.

The same logic goes for cognitive activity.  If a person is cold and hungry and cognitive activities on how to obtain or create food and shelter were to emotionally feel painful and miserable, would such creative thought necessary for survival continue? (I hope modern science has grown beyond the need to torture and starve animal subjects in order to obtain imperial evidence of such a hypothesis.)

From an evolutionary biological perspective, if it feels good, it is good.  Therefore, cognitive activity – for societal and cultural ethical advancement – must learn how to reframe emotionally negative cognitive activity into “appropriate” emotional positive cognitive activity.  We as individuals in a society must learn how to effectively use emotions to guide cognitive activity and give meaning to the song, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”.

Emotions from a scientific point of view – not from the literary paradigm we have learned from birth – cannot be destructive nor aberrant because they are not causal.  Emotions are the effect of cognitive causal activity.  It is cognitive activity that can be destructive and aberrant.  Emotions are but a reflection of that activity.  And most important, emotions can be used to understand, guide, reframe, and refine that emotionally negative cognitive activity into emotionally positive activity.  It becomes behooving upon society to educate and train its citizenry of the nature of emotions and how to effectively use emotions towards one’s own health, well-being, and prosperity as well as for the health, well-being, and prosperity of the culture/society in which they live.

Wrap-Up:

The book I have written for the common health, well-being, and prosperity of all individuals extends my paradigm of emotions into a psychology where emotions have a synergistic relationship with the mind and body that consciousness can use towards its own enrichment.  By dissecting the emotional process into its elements, emotions can become a very useful tool. This book is called Symbiotic Psychology: The Synergy Between Mind, Body, Emotions, and Consciousness.  Updated versions can be freely downloaded on https://symbioticpsychology.com/.

I truly hope the world scientific community of psychology and linguistics can realize a common definition of emotions for the good of all beings. I can only trust that the appropriate people and organizations will take any necessary action.  As I explained in my previous email (2019-10-29: “Cognition creates the biology that stimulates the emotional neurology consciousness then perceives”), current emotional paradigms can be destructive to you, your family, and your society. Let’s all make an effort to change this.

Passionately,

Andrew Jackson

Emotions: Nature’s Biofeedback Mechanism

Emotions are what you feel. Emotions are the perception, by consciousness, of a physiological biochemistry actuated by cognitive activities of our evolved and nurtured neural circuitry.  Because emotions are perceptions of a state of biology being precipitated by cognition, emotions are a reflection of, and give insights into, the nature of cognitive behavior.  Emotions are neither destructive nor constructive but rather they are indicators towards the presence of very real destructive and constructive cognitive behaviors.  Correlations between cognition, healthy physiological biochemistry, and good feeling emotions are a result of millions of years of evolutionary survival for the health and well-being of the individual – as are the correlations between negative feeling emotions and an unhealthy biology.  Now the question is, how are these correlations between cognition, biology, emotions, and consciousness understood, nurtured, and developed within our society for individual health, wealth, and general well-being through their own successful decision-making and creativity?

 

 

Background Reading:

Beck, J. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond. New York, NY: The Guilford Press

Coffey, J. K., (2019, Oct, 16) Happier babies have an edge. Scientific America. Retrieved from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/happier-babies-have-an-edge/

Davidson, R. J., Begley, S. (2012). The emotional life of your brain. New York, NY: Hudson Street Press

Dubuc, B. The brain. Retrieved from http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_05/d_05_cr/d_05_cr_her/d_05_cr_her.html

Ekman, P, Davidson, R.J. (1994) The nature of emotions: Fundamental questions. New York: Oxford University Press

Encyclopedia Britannica. Cognition: thought process. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/cognition-thought-process

Goleman, D. (2003) Destructive emotions: How can we overcome them. New York, NY: Bantam Dell

Goleman, D., Davidson, R. (2017) Altered traits. New York, NY: Penguin Random House LLC.

Greenberger, D., Padesky, C. (2016). Mind over mood. New York, NY: The Guilford Press

Gross, J. (2014). Handbook of emotion regulation. New York, NY: The Guilford Press

Gross, J.  (1998). Antecedent- and response-focused emotion regulation: Divergent consequences for experience, expression, and physiology. Journal of Personality and Psychology, 74(1), 224-237.

Johnson-Laird, P.N., Mancini, F., Gangemi, A. A hyper-emotion theory of psychological illnesses. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-12689-005

Pessoa, L (2013) The cognitive-emotional brain. London, England: MIT Press

Prinz, J.J. (2004). Gut reactions. New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Raison, C., Jain, R., Maletic, V., Draud, J.  (2011) Treating the whole patient: Exploring the healing potential of a mind-body approach to mental health. Lexington, KY: CME LLC

Taylor, T. Brain. Retrieved from http://www.innerbody.com/image/nerv02.html