Humans are plagued by things like love, anger, fear, sarcasm, happiness, excitement, etc. These are emotions. But, where do they come from? Are there scientific explanations for emotions? Are they good? Are they bad?
There are several questions that often go unanswered. We are often told not to express our emotions but is that really a good idea? Let us find out the answers to these questions with our list of 25 interesting emotion facts.
Weird Emotion Facts: 1-5
1. Bad is Good! Bad feelings are necessary and are actually good. Negative emotions help to strike a balance and help people evaluate those experiences with a positive mind set.
Experiencing only positive emotions is not really good because when that happens, a person simply starts ignoring issues that are really important for shaping one’s life. Negative emotions include things like anger, fear etc.
2. Sarcasm Improves Creativity! Weird but true! Studies have revealed that sarcasm improves creativity and smartness. People who receive sarcastic comments need to process different layers of information like biasness, viewpoint, experience etc.
This improves problem solving ability and creativity. Thus, regular exposure to sarcasm is good.
3. Emotions are Physical Too! While we are accustomed to think that emotions are pretty much psychological by nature, we barely know that they are physical too.
Different types of emotions stimulate different parts of the body. Upper half of the body responds to positive emotions and negative emotions usually lead to numbness.
4. Predict Future! That’s almost unbelievable but it is true. Emotions can help a person to predict future. Columbia University calls this the ‘Emotional Oracle Effect (EOE)’.
In a nutshell, the EOE is actually a phenomenon where people who have a habit of trusting emotions can predict future. Studies show that people trusting their emotions get access to what is referred to as ‘Privileged Window’ to their subconscious state of mind which is actually a storehouse of information. Emotional experiences allow people to access and process higher level of information and thus, allow them to make more precise decisions.
This happens because people trusting their gut are capable of better organizing information.
5. Emotions are Extremely Contagious! Time and again it has been proved that human emotions are contagious by nature. People have been caught mimicking the emotional experiences of others unconsciously.
Weird Emotion Facts: 6-10
6. Microexpressions! So what are microeexpressions? You may be darn good at concealing your emotional experiences and the resulting expressions.
However, no matter how hard you try, you will always involuntarily express your emotions for a very brief time frame. These brief expressions are called microexpressions.
These are so quick that they go unnoticed in real time but when recorded and watched in slo-mo, they will reveal your true emotional state.
7. Force a Smile! Okay, there are times when nature literally becomes difficult. However, studies show that if you can force a smile on your face, you will feel happy. But, you need to force this smile for at least 30 seconds.
8. Colors Spark Emotions: Different colors spark different emotions in us. Yellow for instance is associated with joy and blue helps to calm down a person. So, next time you are restless, you need to get some blue!
9. Faking is Not Easy! You can easily fake positive emotions but when it comes to negative emotions, they are very difficult to fake. Emotions like fear, sadness anger etc. have several physical indications that cannot be produced on demand.
10. Sleeping Eases Emotional Distress: REM sleep has been found to help people to recover from emotional distress, especially those related to traumatic experiences.
This happens because production of stress-related hormones are significantly reduced during REM stage of sleep. Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist says that during REM stage of sleep, brain is capable of lessening the sting of painful memories because process those memories in absence of those chemicals.
Hence, memories become less immediate and thus, less painful. Now. REM stage of sleep is when brain produces mind-movies known as dreams.
Weird Emotion Facts: 11-15
11. Our Emotions Shape Our Morals! We usually think that our morals trigger our emotions. For instance, a person with a good heart will either feel angry or sad when he or she sees a person hurting someone else. This however is not true. Studies have revealed that when a person is shown an image of a person hurting another, three parts of the brain are lit up.
The first one is the TPJ area responsible for evaluating where the act of hurting was intentional or not. The next part that is activated is the amygdala which controls our emotions.
These two part of the brain process the image within 250 milliseconds. Only after that the morality section of the brain becomes active. So, emotions shape morals and not the other way round.
12. Our Notion of Love is Wrong! From University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, psychologist Barbara Fredrickson spent a significant amount of her time studying love and came to conclusion that love is nothing but a micro-moment of positivity resonance.
This is nothing but a scientific way of saying that love is not everlasting. According to Barbara, every human being experiences love on a day-to-day basis.
Thus, our very notion that love is actually a large-scale everlasting emotion is actually wrong and that love is experienced in smaller ways, which she calls ‘micro-moments’.
These are actually moments when brain-wave patterns of a person sync up with that of another person and this another person can be just anyone.
Barbara explains that what we refer to as romantic love is primarily because of chemicals known as oxytocin and vasopressin which are released in greater amounts during sex.
Brain has more receptors for these two chemicals. The greater the number of these receptors, the more likely the individuals are to exhibit what is known as monogamy.
13. Ancient Greeks believes that the bad things that plagued mankind were nothing but creatures evolving out of emotions like spite, revenge, envy etc. They believed that it was goddess Pandora who released these creatures for the purpose of tormenting the world.
14. René Descartes from 17th century held the view that emotional apparatus of human body was hydraulic by nature. According to René, whenever valves inside the body opened and released fluids like phlegm and bile, a person would feel sad and angry.
15. According to ancient doctors, different body organs were assigned the tasks of controlling moods. For example, heart controlled happiness, kidneys controlled fear and liver controlled anger.
Weird Emotion Facts: 16-20
16. Humans are capable of making 10,000 different facial expressions for expressing subtle emotions.
17. People can understand facial expressions faster for others belonging to their own race compared to people from other race.
18. Decreasing aging signs using BOTOX injections make the face unemotional and less animated. Interestingly, people with less animated faces are less attractive.
19. Neuroscientists differentiate between ‘feeling’ and ‘emotion’. Emotions, they say, are auto-programmed responses of brain towards certain stimuli whereas feelings are conscious impressions of the responses.
20. Robert Plutchik in 1980s said that there are 8 primary emotions and that a mix of these emotions eventually lead to complex emotions like love and guilt. The 8 innate emotions he proposed included anticipation, anger, sadness, disgust, fear, acceptance and joy.
Weird Emotion Facts: 21-25
21. Any emotion experienced by us actually has 3 components. The first one is a psychological change such as a spike in heart rate, followed by a tendency of either staying with or running away from the source that is generating the emotion and eventually the subject experience such as feeling sad, happy or angry.
22. Different studies have revealed that women and men both experience the same level of emotion but women have a tendency of showing it more.
23. There are 18 different types of smile. This makes smile the most deceptive all facial expressions. Some variants of smile include self-effacing smile, false smile, cruel smile, polite smile and so on. It was French neurologist named Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne who figured out that only one out of this 18 variants of smile represents genuine happiness. The smile is known as Duchenne smile in honor of Guillaume.
24. Research conducted on children and adolescents between the age group 7 and 17 has proved that those with better ability to recognize facial expressions become better leaders and attain higher social status.
25. A major key music is a happy music while a minor key music is a sad music. No wonder, music has always been used to evoke different emotions in people.
That concludes our set of 25 emotion facts. In case you want us to add more or you want to suggest some more emotion facts, feel free to get in touch with us. We will respond!
- Damasio, Antonio R. 2003. Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. New York NY: Harcourt, Inc.
- Dooley, Roger. “Emotional Ads Work Best.” Neuromarketing. July 27, 2009. Accessed: June 10, 2012.
- Eckman, Paul. 2003. Emotions Revealed. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
- Franklin, Deborah. “Emotions Outlast the Memories That Drive Them.” NPR. April 13, 2010. Accessed: June 10, 2012.
- MacDonald, Matthew. 2008. Your Brain: The Missing Manual. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc.
- Sandler, Elana Premack. “Facebook, Emotions, and Identity: The Social Network and Teen Emotional Health.” Psychology Today. March 30, 2011. Accessed: June 10, 2012.
- Weaver, Rheyanne. “The Link between Clothing Choices and Emotional States.” Good Therapy. March 30, 2012. Accessed: June 10, 2012.