The Functional Structure of Emotion

Emotion can be broadly viewed as a relation between an organism and its environment, pertaining both to the evaluation of external stimuli and to the organism's dispositional and actual action on the environment in response to such evaluation. To analyze this view in more detail, we can identify three components of emotion: (i) recognition/evaluation/appraisal of emotionally salient stimuli; (ii) response/reaction/expression of the emotion (including endocrine, autonomic, and motor changes); and (iii) feeling (the conscious experience of emotion). These components, and some of the neural structures that participate in them, are schematized in Fig. 1.

However, it is important to keep in mind that emotion is a broadly integrative function for which recognition (appraisal), experience (feeling), and response (expression) typically all overlap and influence one another. Several lines of evidence point to a correlation between the experience and expression of emotion, at least in many circumstances. For example, production of emotional facial expressions and other somatovisceral responses directly causes changes in emotional experience, brain activity, and autonomic state. Additionally, viewing emotional expressions on others' faces can cause systematic changes in one's own facial expression and emotional experience.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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