Forming and maintaining relationships

Charles is a 23-year-old rather shy and inhibited man. He lives with a male flat-mate and has a good, steady job in an office. The prospects for career advancement are reasonable although not startling and Charles has a number of outside interests, all of which tend to be pursued alone -reading, running and hiking or walking in the countryside when time off allows. He gets on well with his parents and visits them quite regularly. Like him, they tend to be quiet people who keep themselves to...

What is abnormal

To describe someone as abnormal depends on the circumstances. What is abnormal in one culture or at one time might not be abnormal in the next culture or a few years later. One way of looking at abnormality is statistically. This equates the abnormal with the rare. At first sight this might seem reasonable. In Western culture, the two types of reaction described at the start of this chapter are relatively rare. Fortunately, either for themselves or for those around them, not many people suffer...

The basics of emotion cognition

It is clear that emotion and cognition are intimately intertwined and that emotion and motivation are also connected. It is difficult to understand emotion without considering cognition. Imagine that you have just woken up on the morning when you are due to have root canal surgery. You have not experienced this before but many of your friends have and they all speak of it, wincing with expressions of mild horror. You get up and find that you are very tense, so much so that breakfast is an...

Emotion in the arts and in sport

The regulation of emotion always occurs in some context or other - it has to. Many of these contexts involve either leisure or work (discussed earlier in this chapter). Other than family life (which might be regarded as a mixture of leisure and work), these two together characterise what can loosely be termed culture. In other words, this is a combination of the customs and achievements and style of a particular group of people. This section, then, is to do with how, in practice, people...

A specific health problem smoking

In order to illustrate some of what has been discussed in this chapter, various health problems could be considered in more detail, but one that is frequently mentioned in the contemporary world is smoking. The illness-related effects of smoking have now been incontrovertibly established. Smoking has direct effects on all respiratory and heart and circulatory diseases, as well as lung cancer. In Western society, people of different ages typically smoke different amounts, becoming more...

The specific emotions

In everyday life, the specific emotions are very important to us. We don't just feel 'emotional', we experience anger or sadness or joy or guilt, or whatever it might be. Emotions exist in quite discrete ways although they can also appear in very complex mixtures. So, for example, we might well experience sadness in a very pure form if our dog has just died or we might experience a complex mixture of sadness, anger, anxiety, jealousy and even guilt and shame if our relationship has just ended....

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence and its potential impact on daily life at home and at work have been much discussed recently. It is to do with a set of skills that everyone possesses, to some degree in this it is similar to general intelligence. These skills concern how we deal with any information that is relevant to emotion. In more detail, our emotional intelligence is made up of how we judge emotion and express it, how we make use of whatever information we gain from emotion, and how we regulate...

Emotion and gender

To finish off this chapter it is important to say a little about the relationship between emotion and gender, a topic that has already been touched on. The Western stereotype is that women are irrational and emotional and men are logical and rational. What truth is there to this It is true to say that women, in our society, are more emotionally expressive than men and that they are better than men at expressing some emotions sadness and fear, for example . Men, by contrast, are better at...

Old age and death

It begins at different times for different people, although what exactly 'it' is, is hard to say. Clearly it is a time of decline, although arguably every year from the early twenties onwards might be described similarly. It is also to some extent a matter of attitude. Some people reach a particular age, say 60, and regard themselves as officially old at that point and so start behaving in an 'old' way. There are stories of people of that age who are perfectly fit...