Communication of Emotions

Published: 2019-10-24 08:00:00
859 words
4 pages
8 min to read

Emotions are those reactions to stimuli that are either physiological, behavioural, or communicative or those, which are not only cognitively processed but also experienced as emotional (Carlson, 2014). As such, emotions have several dimensions. Specifically, they are experienced after a change of physiological factors such as the heart arte of individuals, a tense stomach, or even a cold chill. Unless an individual communicates their emotions through a certain change in behaviour, it would be difficult for others to notice any changes in emotions. The verbal communication of an individuals internal state is what constitutes emotional communication. In some of the times, individuals exhibit a voluntary behaviour where they have to ignore others signalling their anger towards them. However, it can also be involuntary whereby an individual will avoid an eye contact with another merely because of sadness towards others. Through socialization, people are able to learn how to communicate and even read the emotions of others (Carlson, 2014). However, just as other aspects of communication, emotions can be better read and understood through increased knowledge and effort. This paper summarizes chapter 10 of Neil Carlsons book titled Foundation of Behavioural Neuroscience.

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There are two types of emotions: primary and secondary emotions. Primary ones are those, which are innate and are, therefore, experienced for a very limited period. However, the primary emotions appear rapidly and are usually caused by an external stimulus. In this category are the emotions of joy, anger, distress, surprise, fear and even disgust (Carlson, 2014). Secondary emotions, on the other hand, do not have a corresponding facial expression that can make them to be universally recognizable. Unlike the primary emotions, the secondary emotions are not reflexive as they are processed by a brain part that requires a higher order type of thinking. In the category of the secondary emotions lies pride, love, envy, shame, embarrassment, guilt, among others (Carlson, 2014). The secondary emotions take quite a long time to develop and to fade away as they are reactions to the actions of real or imagined others. Due to the amount of time that secondary emotions take to be processed, they are influenced by a persons thoughts and are expressed differently across cultures.

There are three types of attachment styles that affect the nature of emotions that individuals have. In this regard, people with the secure attachment style have very warm relationships with their parents and are more effective at managing their emotions. Notably, there is a tendency of people to have the behaviour of responding to negative stimulus with negative emotions. However, those with this kind of attachment have a low probability of experiencing intense negative emotions (Carlson, 2014). Those with the avoidant attachment have a feeling of discomfort with others and are, therefore, not willing to depend on others. Although these people may develop the positive emotions for others, their feelings just vanish very fast. This attachment style may arise due to loss of bonding of an individual with the primary caregiver. Lastly, the anxious attachment style people desire to be close to others, however, the anxiety of being abandoned leads to self-doubts and hence unwillingness to commit. This emotional volatility leads to feelings of negative emotions of anxiety and anger.

The communication of emotions involves the sharing of the circumstances, thoughts, and feelings that surround a particular emotional event. After the occurrence of an emotional episode, the communication of emotions starts. The social bonds that exists between people are enhanced through the sharing of emotions due to the support that is offered by the relational partners (Carlson, 2014). Notably, this support increases people sense of closeness and interdependence. Emotional contagion, which is the spreading of emotions from one person to the other, is very infectious and, therefore, necessary to consider. The verbal communication/expression of emotions requires the development of appropriate emotional vocabulary. Notably, this will make the communication of emotions more clearly to those decoding the message. The expansion of this vocabulary leads to the expansion and conveyance of the intensity of the emotions. Additionally, individuals can also have a certain verbal framing of their emotions in a manner that will allow them have more control over their emotions. The electronic communication of emotions through emails and text messages enables individual to have a proper composure of their thoughts and hence, convey finer details of what they are feeling (Carlson, 2014). However, the verbal communication of emotions is more advantageous because of its ability to display facial expressions.

In conclusion, chapter 10 of Neil Carlsons book gives a proper discussion of emotions and how they are communicated. Specifically primary emotions are those that appear rapidly albeit for a short time. Secondary ones, on the other hand, do not have a facial expression and are processed by a different part of the brain. Secure attachment emotions contribute to proper management of emotions while avoidant attachment leads to reluctance on dependence with others. The expression of information can either be through verbal or written communication. However, verbal communication is more effective than non-verbal as it involves the display of facial expressions to the emotions.


Carlson, N. (2014). Foundations of behavioral neuroscience. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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