Emotions are an integral part of living species. Human beings and other living species exhibit emotions. Your dog, upon seeing you come home, for example.
So is the recognition of emotions universal and accurate? Do you, for example, know for sure when someone around you is happy, sad, upset, angry, confused, or irritated?
Desmond Morris, the famous author, wrote the book Gestures, in which he described how you could read human emotions merely by looking at their gestures. A tilt of a neck, the flicker of an eye, and so on. So was he right?
Some are now arguing otherwise.
Psychologists are now arguing that emotions are not universal. The expression of emotions is not universal either. So irritation can mean different things to different people. The expression of irritation can mean different things to different people.
We already know from living in a global world that different cultures respond to emotions differently. We even have lablels for them. The emotional Greeks or the inscrutable Chinese, to pick from the Internet.
But are these labels accurate?
Remember, we are not discussing this for an entire group. We are talking about you being able to accurately depict the emotions of your neighbour in the elevator when you run into him or her.
So some are arguing that the skill to do so is not accurate at all. In fact, internal factors such as whether you are hungry, dehydrated, or have slept or not may drive your perceptions far more than anything else.
Yes, you conjure emotions in others, depending on the state of mind and body you are in. So, for example, you may think of someone as angry, unfriendly, and scowling at you because you have not had lunch.
The more you learn about the human being, the more you realise that it is often the body and its need for balance that are driving our behaviour, not the other way around.
So the next time you meet your scowling neighbour, perhaps ask yourself, Did you have lunch yet?
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