To what extent does Emotion colour our perception



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Emotions are powerful feelings, passions or moods which are experienced by someone that can bring about a change in mental activity. 1 Due to this, it can clearly have an influence on perception. There are many different types of emotions with different effects on the body and it depends on the individual as well. Without emotions, most situations and events would not have any meaning. This essay will show how perception is clouded by emotion and the extent of this in different cases.

Emotions have the power to drive us towards something. For example, positive emotions can motivate us to achieve rewarding tasks and negative emotions can protect from decisions that can harm us. 2 But also, emotions can be unsafe and cause bad effects on us. Sometimes, emotions are so strong that we do not have the ability to control ourselves. 3 This can lead us to make bad decisions that are of high importance. But the strength of the emotion and in turn the effect it has on us, depends on the type of emotion.

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There are many emotions that link to the same feeling but have different degrees of strength, such as anticipation, nervousness and fear are all linked with anxiety but have different degrees of anxiety. There are many different ways we can convey these emotions, such as the tone of our voice, body language and facial expressions. This shows how emotion can serve a social purpose as well. 4 Perception is when living organisms use their senses to attain a certain understanding or awareness of something. 5 So if perception is something we obtain by using our senses, how can an internal feeling affect it?

Shouldn’t it be the same at all times as the ability of our senses do not change? This is because we have to process this information initially to make any understanding out of it so during the processing stage, the state of mind that we are in can effect what we perceive in the end. We use our senses to perceive something using but to do this, we have to use our minds. 6 Our mood may set us in a state where we have certain expectations or where we choose to perceive something differently. 7 This may be because we do not believe for it to be true and in the end, we become close minded.

What we see is something that can be highly affected by our emotions. The state of mind that we are in can block certain things although they are in front of us. 8 For example, when I am in a bad mood, I often only look at the flaws in things and complain at them. The opposite applies to when I am in a good mood as I am more optimistic. But does the factor which triggered this mood play a role to how it affects our perception? Moods can be caused by both internal causes, which include emotions we feel inside and usually do not know why, and external causes, which are caused by external factors that can trigger an emotion.

9 The internal causes are the types which are most difficult to control. As we usually do not know the cause for them, it is difficult to solve the problem and we might not be able to tell if we even have the emotion. 10 Also they have the strongest affect on us, for example love. Some causes or emotions can have different affects on our perception. Anxiety and sadness are both negative emotions but do they affect our perception equally? Both of these emotions make a person more sensitive to unpleasant perceptive information.

11 But a state of anxiety makes someone opt for a state of self control and safety whereas sadness makes someone opt for a state of comfort. 12 But does our experience with the emotion affect how much of our perception gets clouded? Can we identify some feelings incorrectly sometimes? I think this mainly applies to feelings we have experienced for the first time. 13 This is why people take counseling to help them understand this feeling. After we understand the feeling, we might be able to cope with it better and not allow it to cloud our perception in the future where we might encounter it once more.

The more times we experience the emotion, the better we will be able to control ourselves and not allow it to cloud our perception as much. However, does the same emotion affect all people equally, disregarding their experience with the emotion? There are many reasons why emotions might affect people differently. For example, our cultural backgrounds, knowledge, age, personality, upbringing and beliefs. An example of this during fear would be that, the intelligence someone has can help them predict dangers in the future.

The Arts is a topic that involves much emotion. Most pieces of art are created to convey a certain emotion and are usually created with the authors emotions. Emotion is what drives the artist to create a piece of art and nearly all types of art evoke a certain emotion. Without emotion, there would be no art in the world. The emotions an individual feels also has great importance when viewing art. For example, when I and my mother viewed a painting related to the background and culture of Pakistan, we perceived it differently.

My mother, who understands Pakistani culture well and has an interest in it, saw the deeper beauty and meaning of the painting whereas I, who does not have much of an idea on Pakistani background, will comment on mainly the effect of the colours used and the physical beauty of the painting. Another are where emotion plays a very important role is in History. History does not consist of only statements in the past, but includes the reasons and events that led up to that point and the causes for it. These causes can be interpreted in many ways and one of the factors that determine how someone interprets an event is emotion.

This can cause them to have an emotional bias or have them unwilling to listen to all sides of the argument. It is true that the past always has ambiguities and uncertainties, but there is always an argument between them. 14 The bias is what makes someone gear towards one side and ignore the other. The primary sources are often considered to be the most reliable, but the person could have a bias and preconceptions. 15 The beliefs or the side the person was one could bias their views. Emotion has a direct influence on our mind and can change the way we think.

Perception uses the five senses to work and the ability of this also depends on the mind. It is this influence that affects our perception. But the degree of this is always variable depending on the type of emotion and how the individual themselves can cope with it. Strong emotions have a greater affect on our perception but if the person can control it, we can stop it from colouring our perception. Therefore it can be said that since emotions are always felt by someone, our perception is always clouded by it, but we have the ability to overcome this depending on the type of emotions and ourselves.

Word Count – 1225 1 Alchin. N. , 2003 Theory of Knowledge, John Murray, London Pages 297-8 2 N. d. What are affects and emotions ;http://www. affective-sciences. org/emotion-details; (accessed 11, Feb. 10) 3 Alchin. N. , 2003 Theory of Knowledge, John Murray, London Pages 299 4 Idem 5 Lindsay, P. , 1997, ‘Human Information Processing: An Introduction to Psychology’ Definition of Perception ; http://www. sapdesignguild. org/resources/optical_illusions/intro_definition. html; (accessed 10, Feb. 2010) 6 Idem 7 idem 8 Cline A. , n. d. Philosophy of mind ; http://atheism.about. com/od/philosophybranches/p/Mind. htm; (accessed 10 Feb 2010) 9 Bick. , M. , 2007 Theory of Knowledge Printed in Great Britain, Glasgow. Page 50 10 N. d. What are the seven emotions? ; http://www. shen-nong. com/eng/principles/sevenemotions. html; (accessed 11 Feb 2010).

11 Chen. D. , March 23, 2005 The Effect of Emotion and Personality on Olfactory Perception ;http://chemse. oxfordjournals. org/cgi/content/full/30/4/345 ; (accessed 10, Feb. 2010) 12 31, Jan. 2010 Scientists explore effects of emotions; http://www. physorg. com/news10395. html; (accessed 1013 Bick. , M. , 2007 Theory of Knowledge Printed in Great Britain, Glasgow. Page 51 14 24, Nov. 2009 Can one talk meaningfully of a historical fact? How far can we speak with certainty about anything in the past? ; http://tok. ism-online. org/category/ways-of-knowing/emotion/; (accessed 10 Feb 2010).

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