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Emotional Expression Essay

Emotional expression is most commonly known by the attitudes people have and the facial expressions they carry in certain situations. You can easily tell if someone is mad, upset, happy, or uncomfortable in a given situation. Whether most people realize it or not, their faces can be read like a book. Most of the time, you can look at someone and see their opinion on an issue without having to actually ask them what they think or how they feel. This is very helpful in most situations, but sometimes it would be better not to know what people think or how they feel so it doesn’t influence your opinion on the issue.

Many philosophers have investigated and studied facial expressions and the behaviors that are associated with these expressions. “William James, a Harvard professor in the late 19th century, is a well known proponent of the view that perceiving the bodily changes during emotion constitutes the emotional experience, and without this perception, emotion would be pale and colorless. James argued strongly that there is nothing in the mind called emotion that precipitates bodily activity, rather the reverse is true” (Theories of emotion). William James and Karl Lange created the James-Lange theory. This theory suggests that emotions follow behavioral responses to events. This means that how you feel about the event will come after your reaction, whether you ran away, stayed still, climbed a tree, etc. Behavioral actions always come before emotions come into place.

Another well known philosopher of behavior is Charles Darwin. “Darwin’s work emphasized the biological utility of emotional expression. Thus, it contributed to the development of an evolutionary-expressive approach to emotion, which suggests that emotion exists because it contributes to survival (Oatley, 1992)” (Emotional Processing). Darwin suggests that survival depends on emotional responses. This means that people must feel and relate to an issue in order to make it out of the situation. If the person cannot relate to the issue or figure out what to do, then they will experience a negative outcome because they could not help their self out of the issue. In order to make it anywhere in a society, a person must be able to relate to the issue and have past experiences with the issue or know of a situation in which someone else did so they have an idea of how to handle the situation effectively.

Emotional responses play an important part in the survival and maintenance of any person. In order to succeed in life, a person must be able to handle good and bad experiences and learn from the experiences so they can handle other things that life gives them. Certain situations involve other people and their feelings, so it is important for people to think of others in that situation so the feelings do not get hurt and you do not lose a friend. Other people have an effect on your emotions and you have an effect on their emotions, so always remember to be cautious in these situations and look out for others and not just yourself.

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