Emotional feeling

Genevieve Wanucha wrote a very interesting article in Seed magazine, “Emotion’s Alchemy”. (here) Following on from the last post, more from this article.

…Damasio’s team found that people reported feeling emotional only after the eruption of a physical emotion. “It’s very important for you to think of emotion as an action, so crying is a component of emotion, never as a part of feeling. Feeling is a perception of the action we have,” he told me….

In that same study, Damasio found that the body-sensing region of the brain, the somatosensory cortex, came online as the feelings arose. Later, in 2006, he reported that for each basic emotion (e.g., happiness, sadness, anger, and fear) there is a distinct cardio-respiratory pattern. Linking these data sets together, in a technology-age tweaking of the James-Lange theory, Damasio suggests that feelings arise from “maps” continually forming in brain regions such as the somatosensory cortex. The brain doesn’t have simple “on” and “off “emotional switches. It is always in flux. Feelings are more than the brain’s perception of emotion; they are a constant process of mapping shifting body states.

What appears to be happening is that consciousness registers a perception of emotional states as a fringe feeling. Consciousness does not contain emotion – it contains a model of emotion existing in the body using the form of a feeling.

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