Notes (EN) - Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology - B2/3 - Psychologie - UL


Lecture 1: What are emotions and why do we have them?

Emotions in folk psychology

There is a huge difference between scientific knowledge and ‘kitchen’ psychology. One of the folk psychology ideas is that you should be rational, and not act upon your emotions. Another common idea in the folk psychology is that ‘my heart says one thing, but my head says something else’, and that ‘emotions come over me, they happen to me’ or ‘time heals’.

Emotions: helpful or harmful?

Emotions are very important signals, just like pain tells you that something needs to be looked after in your body. Emotions tell you that something meaningful has happened. Everything else disappears, emotions give you a very clear focus. That is also what you communicate with your environment. The worst thing you can do is to ignore your emotions, just like it’s bad to ignore your pain, because it will only get worse when you neglect it.

Functional emotion theory

Frijda (1986) is one of the founding fathers of the current emotion theory. It is still very valid today. He says that there’s always a concern at stake. Something meaningful is happening, it can be either a positive or a negative emotion. These emotions, positive or negative, cause changes in action readiness. You can either fight or flight, but in both situations the whole body is involved. This is called physical arousal, which prepares the body to react to the situation. It is aimed to change or maintain relationships. This is the core of the whole emotion theory: emotions are there because you want or don’t want something in relation to others. It’s all about relationships with other persons. We have emotions to regulate our relationships with others. Sadness is a very powerful emotion, because it brings the... Interested? Read the instructions below in order to read the full content of this page.

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