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Thread: Embodied Emotions - Would you feel emotion if you DIDN'T have a body?

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    from toronto with love ScarlettLux's Avatar
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    Default Embodied Emotions - Would you feel emotion if you DIDN'T have a body?

    Hopefully this title attracted some attention. Haven't posted in a while, but this really intrigued me in my psychology & physiology of emotion course so yeah.

    Been learning about various theories of emotion - one in particular right now we are talking about is William James' and his belief that physiological reactions come BEFORE the emotion, and that really, the bodily responses ARE the emotions themselves. In other words, instead of bear --> fear --> heart racing, running... it would be bear --> heart racing, running --> fear. Change of sequence that seems counterintuitive, but I don't really wanna get into was he right/wrong... it seems obvious to me there is both a cognitive, physiological, and evolutionary aspect to emotions.

    What I really want to get at is this little gem that made me think about Socionics: So someone in '66 allegedly did a study of neck (highest) vs. lower spinal cord lesions. This would mean more or less separation of the brain from the body. The higher the lesions would go, the less visceral (ANS) feedback would be delivered to the CNS (spinal cord + brain). Therefore, the prediction was that people with higher lesions would experience LESS intense emotions (trying to support James' theory). What they found was that yes, patients described less intense emotions, more MOODS + SENTIMENTS vs. that "rush" of physical feeling that comes on strong.

    Simply put, it seemed that these people lost the immediate "hot" nature of some emotions but still had the "cool" aspects. Their emotions were explained in a very COGNITIVE way, whereas normal people explained their emotions more "embodied".

    SO: I got to wondering... could this phenomena also exist along the more normal continuum of things and explain why some people don't seem to be as emotional as others? Could people that have more "intense" and "passionate"/"irrational" emotions (AKA ME!!!) have some sort ofincreased connection/sensitivity to their physical bodies, such that it may over-ride or cancel out "cognitive" aspects?

    Now this may get a little dumb, but obviously I'm also thinking about how this may apply to personality types - strong/valued and especially vs. , , , . I think of myself as having extremely valued/strong and I not only am highly involved and adore physical activity, etc, but I have suuuuch an intensity of "hot" emotion on a daily basis that can only be described as coming from within my body. Do any of experience this? Especially when I'm enraged, it's coming from within my gut. I can't imagine anger feeling any other way. I'm wondering if someone like an INTj would feel anger in a more cognitive sense, almost unable to subjectively feel what I feel.

    AND.. how does this all relate to the physical body - brain connection? I hope this makes some sense to y'all.... Any thoughts appreciated!


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    Emotions are also developed environmentally to me. A lot of emotions are the entire culmination of our entire individual experiences....the generalized, creative/abstract left-handed/right side of the brain' processes compared to the logical, rational and detailed version of the right-handed/left side. I mean there is a lot of 'just born that way' mixed in with a lot of free will, choices, and external envrionment. It's sort of like.... music. It can be analyzed in many different ways the nitty gritty mathematical parts, but you still have the general theme and over-all arc of the song. Is it a sad song, happy, bittersweet. 'Searching', exciting, confusing, bewildered.

    And music can be dolled up, and added a lot of 'sugar' so that its superficially pleasing for everybody on the ears, but truly relating to the actual raw vibration of every song is really rare in my not-so-humble opinion. So if you create a song- not many people may like it, but it might save a certain person's life if they hear it at the right time. I mean a lot in life is if you like something's 'sugar' (or mask of pretentious goodness that is a device used to get you to consume the product) versus their actual raw meat you know?

    And people are constantly radiating a deeply base aura to me, like their own sense of rhythm. Add in personal choices and style and flair and hyper-independent human-ness and it results in human empathy being an unfortunate rare occurrence. I mean, this is probably why most of us felt everybody else was being a sociopathic asshole to us growing up in high school, and then if/when you met people who understand you it's very relieving, almost like it re-aligns your entire DNA. And why we have to be taught and instructed to be decent to others, and why society as a whole is concerned with the individual 'getting over their feelings' and doing the right thing anyway. Emotions have always caused a lot of ethical mishaps. People see you in deep true love and they get so hatefully jealous, because they're not in that themselves. They see you in fear and pain and the less noble among us tries to take advantage of that, hunting inside the holes of others like a vulture. (ewww humans are so blah)

    And feelings are sort of....everything to me. They are just the base, the raw, the primal. It's impossible to really be thinking clearly and rationally and saintly higher human-like unless you're feeling decent anyway, or at least calm and neutral. But if you really are more excited and passionate than others than that's okay- a lot of occupations can still support that. I'm really concerned with I guess 'managing my feelings' more than anything else because they are the foundation to me. I mean think about it: that's why everybody tends to look down on feelings and emotions: "Oh poor sad emo boy. haha emo fag. LMAO EWW STUPID FEELING HAHA SO DUMB. spit on you, feelings are dirt!"

    Yet, dirt and slime and grime and worms are the things that are holding up the beautiful narcissistic flower....

    Hee!
    Last edited by bnd; 10-09-2011 at 05:19 AM.

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    I'm not that advanced in music theory (or anything else for that matter =p) but just follow me for a second...

    Say you have a song right and like, the song is slow and notes are being held down. Some people will instinctively want the notes to be let up on, and something else to start happening. something, anything but a few people will enjoy this ...and even fewer still it might be the most beautiful thing they hear. And it's like the over-all mood/vibe of the song. It's like 'ehhh I'm not really feeling this' to 'oh fuck yes, more more' it sort of cuts you inside and bursts you open so there's nothing left but light- like the right song for you. That's what the nirvana/bliss is, like you know the supernova of releasing your feelings and everything and coming one with the pure light of oneness, but it can only happen unless you effectively catharize the emotions, re-experience them to yourself , without the judgement and scorn of society. Your ego-self, your personality, your individuality, everything that makes you you, but also makes you incredibly annoying to others, it gets ripped away, and you love truly, totally selfless... totally loving another, merging with one other being- and them to you, in perfect loyalty.

    Being yourself is such a heavy burden. Drugs, meditation, spiritual practices, and all forms of relationships are all tricks to get the person to get outside of themselves and over themselves. Even bullying others and being mean/hateful is a way to get out of ourselves! We feel trapped... so to answer your question: Your conundrum seems to be, you want to get outside of yourself, but you are afraid of 'losing your intense feelings' that make you feel special to others and gives you your sense of unique identity. I think they give you a sense of self-confidence that's hard to let go of. You want relationships primarily based on feelings, because you are such a passionate person. I can understand that, it might just mean that you're just going to have to search extra harder for the people who really 'get you' since emotions are such rare, specific things in their intricacies and complications. (I'm assuming it annoys you when people ask you to calm down and not be so fiery, but you might be used to that by now)

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    I think it might be a bit too primitive to be related to socionics - I think the physiological-emotional feedback system only really works for basic emotions like fear, satisfaction etc., which are also experienced by animals and are centred in the limbic system, whereas socionics deals with differences in high processing functions (i.e. presumably cortex).

    Also, wouldn't your proposed theory predict that STs would be more impulsively passionate than NFs? Which isn't really the case.
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    from toronto with love ScarlettLux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Well, embodied emotions is certainly an interesting idea (as is embodied cognition) which I think has merit.

    But it's completely pointless to speculate how it may or may not be related to Socionics. It just gives more ammo for people to postulate stupid shit with.
    Why are you even here? Honestly. It's not pointless to speculate about anything, shut up. Anything can be discussed, it's a forum for psychology for God's sake. If you have nothing to contribute, why even bother replying? Socionics has given YOU ammo to create your own stupid forum to postulate your own dumb personal typings with.


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    from toronto with love ScarlettLux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by octopuslove View Post
    I think it might be a bit too primitive to be related to socionics - I think the physiological-emotional feedback system only really works for basic emotions like fear, satisfaction etc., which are also experienced by animals and are centred in the limbic system, whereas socionics deals with differences in high processing functions (i.e. presumably cortex).

    Also, wouldn't your proposed theory predict that STs would be more impulsively passionate than NFs? Which isn't really the case.
    This is true. Hmm. Well, would you say that people who experience "hot" emotions are evolutionarily more primitive? Just putting the question out there lol..

    Also interestingly -- Interoceptive Awareness (IA) - being aware of the internal sensations of your body (and therefore being more sensitive to physiological feedback) was tested and found to have a very specific area in the brain involved - right anterior insula. The more activity and grey matter/volume that a person had in the right anterior insula is DIRECTLY correlated to their ability to detect their OWN heartbeat rate (not with fingers obviously, just with concentrating on the beats). Surprisingly, most people suck ass at this simple heartbeat detection task and often will mistake a fake pattern for their real heartbeat when deceived.

    Anyhow... I also found it interesting that these people with greater r.a. insulas were ALWAYS people very anxious about their bodies, often hypochondriacs, and were much more sensitive to experiences of negative emotion.


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    Less evolved? Idk. Probably not. I don't think being emotional is really genetic. With various ethnicities being anecdotally more or less emotionally dramatic, I think it's almost entirely a cultural thing.

    Did you come across any data on whether these people were into action sports, or had good reflexes? (From Wikipedia it says that the insular cortex is involved in motor control, so I think there might be some studies on that.)

    My boyfriend has amazing motor control and naturally gravitates towards things like juggling, skateboarding, skydiving, video games, rock climbing etc., but he's the biggest whiner when it comes to his health, which was surprising to me since his hobbies all seem to invite pain. About once a week he tells me he thinks he has some sort of cancer. For about a month he complained about a heart dysrhythmia and how one day his heart would just stop, until a med friend pointed out that a) if he hadn't died from it yet it probably wasn't fatal, and b) it's really common. It's quite probable that he's one of those people with a larger R. A. insula, but it'll be interesting if there's a non-whiny aspect to it too.
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    from toronto with love ScarlettLux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by octopuslove View Post
    Less evolved? Idk. Probably not. I don't think being emotional is really genetic. With various ethnicities being anecdotally more or less emotionally dramatic, I think it's almost entirely a cultural thing.

    Did you come across any data on whether these people were into action sports, or had good reflexes? (From Wikipedia it says that the insular cortex is involved in motor control, so I think there might be some studies on that.)

    My boyfriend has amazing motor control and naturally gravitates towards things like juggling, skateboarding, skydiving, video games, rock climbing etc., but he's the biggest whiner when it comes to his health, which was surprising to me since his hobbies all seem to invite pain. About once a week he tells me he thinks he has some sort of cancer. For about a month he complained about a heart dysrhythmia and how one day his heart would just stop, until a med friend pointed out that a) if he hadn't died from it yet it probably wasn't fatal, and b) it's really common. It's quite probable that he's one of those people with a larger R. A. insula, but it'll be interesting if there's a non-whiny aspect to it too.
    Whoa holy shit. That sounds exactly like me! I'm creeped out! I had the very thing 2 summers ago - heartbeat irregularities where I panicked and had to go to the ER and they ran a bunch of tests, finally concluding it was nothing more than the benign, common skips that some people get. I'm in general a huge hypochondriac so yeah, that would be sooo cool if there was some sort of relation.

    I'm in love with dancing and I feel like I have good control over my body in terms of what things should look like when I move around... if I watch myself in a mirror or playback in a recording, I can immediately know how to change or manipulate for it to look better.


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    Quote Originally Posted by octopuslove View Post
    My boyfriend has amazing motor control and naturally gravitates towards things like juggling, skateboarding, skydiving, video games, rock climbing etc., but he's the biggest whiner when it comes to his health, which was surprising to me since his hobbies all seem to invite pain. About once a week he tells me he thinks he has some sort of cancer.
    In like manner, my face-punching, skirt-chasing, bike-crashing, drink-and-drug-enough-to-kill-a-mule-team SEE chum was a serious hypochondriac and a massive baby whenever he was sick.

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