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Emotions Are Cognitive, Not Innate

Emotions are not innately programmed into our brains, but, in fact, are cognitive states resulting from the gathering of information through experiences. Emotions are an innately programmed in the brain’s subcortical circuits. As a result, emotions are often treated as different from cognitive states of consciousness, such as those related to the perception of external stimuli. In other words, emotions aren’t a response to what our brain takes in from our observations, but, rather, are essential to our makeup. Emotions are “higher-order states” embedded in cortical circuits. The brain mechanisms that give rise to conscious emotional feelings are not fundamentally different from those that give rise to perceptual conscious experiences. ”Emotions are not tools of cognition”, said Ayn Rand. Innate emotions come from the brain’s limbic system, a part of the primitive hind-brain. Cognitive processing of emotion is the business of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in the human brain.

Cognition and emotion – this phrase-connects two concepts, but it is ambiguous. For some people, it means the cognitive approach to emotion. For others, it means joining two domains, cognition and affect, that were previously thought to be disparate. A Handbook of cognition and emotion, implying as it does a productive marriage between the two research areas in its title, is something of an achievement. Cognition in emotion is like concept and action of valence, arousal, and control. A not uncommon reaction to claims about the role of cognition in emotions is to agree with the proverbial farmer, who, when asked for directions to the city, replied: “you can’t get there from here.”Emotions are both (conceptually) defined by appraisals and (empirically) constituted by them. Although recent research has shown that social cognition and emotion engage overlapping regions of the brain, few accounts of this overlap have been offered. Cognition and emotion are closely linked to music. The researcher concludes is a part of an ongoing program investigating how the dynamic aspect of musical emotion relates to the cognition of musical structure. Some research suggests that the expression of emotion in music shares properties with the expression of emotion in speech and dance.

Faculty of Behavioral Science
Department of Clinical Psychology
SGT University, Gurgaon, Haryana

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