Book Definition: A four-part process that involves physiological arousal, cognitive interpretation, subjective feelings, and behavioral expression - all of which interact, rather than occurring in a linear sequence. Emotions help organisms deal with important events.

There are 8 basic emotions: Joy, Acceptance, Fear, Surprise, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Anticipation
8 complex emotions: Love, Submission, Awe, Disappointment, Remorse, Contempt, Aggressiveness, and Optimism

In Your Own Words

  • Four stages of "reaction" when a situation arises (physiological arousal, subjective feelings, cognitive interpretation, and behavioral expression) are put together to make emotion.
  • The four stages of "reaction" can be remembered by the phrase, Pigs Can't Smell Bacon which stands for Physical Arousal, Cognitive Thoughts, Subjective feelings and Behavioral Expression.
  • Emotion is a way to express the state of arousal and the body's reaction to similar situations in the past.
  • Emotions are your feelings in certain situations that include the four stages of reactions (PCSB)


  • Being frightened by an aggressive, snarling dog. Cognitively, you are thinking that it's a pretty good possibility that this dog will bite you and cause pain. Physiologically, your heart will race and you may start sweating. Your subjective feeling will be one of being scared, and your face will, in turn, reflect this emotion.
  • Being mad when someone cuts you off while driving. The cognitive aspect is that you are thinking that you could get in an accident. The subjective aspect would be feeling mad or angry at the person, maybe wanting to do something back. The behavioral aspect could be cursing, furrowed eyebrows, and being red in the face. The physiological aspect would be an increase in heart rate.
  • Subjectively, you experience a worried, anxious feeling. Your face will exhibit a behavioral expression of wide eyes, an open mouth, a pale face, and your body will react physiologically by sweating or through the trembling of your hands or voice.
  • Being surprised at a surprise birthday party for your friend. Cognitively, you are anticipating your friend walking in and looking shocked. Subjectively, you are scared and nervous because you don't really know when they are coming in. The behavioral aspect would be whispering and hiding. Physiologically, your heart will probably be racing and you may start sweating.
  • Being excited when you score the game winning goal in an intense soccer game. Physiologically, your heart will most likely be racing. Subjectively, you will most likely experience happiness and excitement. Cognitively, you are thinking about how awesome your goal was. The behavioral aspect would be smiling and probably jumping up and down in excitement.
  • Being angry when someone takes your seat at lunch. Cognitively, you are thinking “where am I going to sit now?” The subjective aspect is being angry and upset. The behavioral aspect is screaming at the person, or walking away in a fuss. The physiological aspect is having an increased heart rate.
  • Emotion is regulated by the Limbic system and it is the release of neurotransmitters and hormones, which affects one's mood.
  • Being sad after losing a pet. Cognitively, you're thinking why did this happen to me, subjectively, you experience sadness or depression, physiologically, your heart is racing, and your emotions are racing, and behavioral aspect is crying.
  • Being shy on a blind date your friend sets you up on. Psychologically your stomach would turn. Subjectively you would feel nervous and anxious. Cognitively, you would repeatedly think what not to do so your date would think you're weird. The behavioral aspect would be fiddling with your hands and stuttering when a question is asked about yourself.
  • Being horrified after you see a large person wearing a bikini. Psychologically, your stomach would churn, eyes would widen, and eyebrows would raise. Cognitively, You would think about taking a picture because your friends wouldnt believe you. Subjectively, you would feel disgusted, scared, and shocked.
The wheel of emotions arranges eight primary emotions on the inner ring of a circle of positive emotions. Pairs of adjacent emotions are noted on the outer ring of the figure. For example, love is portrayed as a combination of joy and acceptance.

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