Physical Changes during Emotion (External & Internal)

Physical Changes during Emotion (External & Internal)

Changes during emotions are divided into external and internal changes

1.    External changes:
There are many external or observable changes during emotion.
§  The voice changes according to the type of emotion. Experiments have proved that emotions can be identified on the basis of voice.
§  Facial expressions change. We can identify emotion experienced by a person by looking at his face.
§  There will be changes in the body language like stiffness of muscles, twisting of fingers, movements of hands and legs.
§  Sweating.
§  Wrinkles on forehead.
§  Redness of eyes.
§  Erection of hairs on the skin, etc.



2.    Internal changes:
Many internal changes take place during emotions. These internal changes are the result of stimulation of
The ANS has 2 subdivisions. Sympathetic division prepares the body for facing emergency either by fight or by flight, i.e. fights if possible, otherwise escapes from the situation. It stimulates the adrenal glands and causes the excess release of adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. Adrenaline gets circulated all over the body and stimulates vital organs leading to following internal changes.
§  Increase in heart rate thereby increase in BP
§  Increase in rate of respiration
§  Increase in blood sugar level
§  Decrease in functioning of GI tract-that is why we do not experience the feeling of hunger during emotional states
§  Changes in frequency of brain waves
§  Dilatation of pupils
§  Decreased secretion of saliva and dryness of mouth.
After the emergency or emotional situation is over, the next step is to restore the energy spent during emotion. This work is carried on by parasympathetic division





Organic (Physiological) Changes During Emotion


The experience of emotion is associated with a variety of bodily changes, both overt and covert. Overt bodily manifestations of emotions are obvious and observable. But the covert organic changes are detected only by special procedures, and modern recording devices including computers. Following overt and covert changes occur in the body at the time of emotion:
§  Eyes are protruded;
§  Face becomes red with excitement or anger;
§  The pupils of the eyes are dilated.
§  Respiration becomes more rapid;
§  The electrical resistance of the skin decreases;
§  The blood clots more quickly at the time of injury;
§  Blood sugar level increases to make the organism energetic;
§  Gastrointestinal activities decrease or even stop totally;
§  Blood is canalized from stomach and intestine to the motor organs and brain;
§  The hairs stand on their roots.
All bodily changes during emotions are the result of a number of complex underlying processes originating in and integrated by the Autonomic Nervous System, the endocrine glands and the cerebrospinal system. (Activities of the Autonomic Nervous System have been described in detail later in this chapter), these internal reactions are quite complex and difficult to measure.



The outward bodily changes include changes in facial expression, vocal expression, sweating on the surface of the body, and accelerated motor activities, etc. The internal physiological changes include changes in the electrical activities of the skin, respiratory activities, blood pressure, pulse -ate, sweat glands, reactions of the endocrine glands, and the chemical activities of blood etc.

Emotion and the Brain


a)    Emotion associated with the limbic system
b)   The brain structure most closely associated with fear is the amygdala
c)    When the emotion of fear first materializes, much of the brain’s processing is nonconscious
d)   Researchers using electro-encephalographs to track mood changes have found that reductions in both anxiety and depression are associated with a shift in electrical activity from the left to the right side of the brain

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