Thursday, July 14, 2005

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE/The Characteristics of an Emotion

From Carl Ratner, Ph.D.'s, "A Cultural-Psychological Analysis of Emotions."

1. Quality: The kind of emotion that is felt in a particular situation depends upon an understanding (concept, representation, schema) of it. Understanding is not simply attaching a positive or negative value to a situation, it is understanding the characteristics, causes and consequences of an event.

2. Intensity: This depends upon cognitive concepts juse as the quality does. The fear generated by something is proportional to one's estimation of the likelihood of harm, and one's ability to defend oneself, which are relative.

3. Behavioral Expression: A given emotional quality is often expressed according to different display rules in different cultures. There include the general ease with which any and all emotions are expressed. "Before the 17th and 18th centuries," write Kasson, "extremes of jubilant laughter, passionate weeping, and violent rage were indulged in with a freedom that in later centuries would not be permitted even to children."

4. Managing emotions: The manner in which people resolve their emotions depends upon cultural concepts about emotions and other phenomena. The Ilongot people of the Philippines, for instance, have a great fear of emotion's potential to disrupt social relationships, [and] consequenly, they immediately dissipate strong emotions in order to ensure continuous amicable relationships.

5. Organization: the similarity or difference which a given emotion has with other emotions varies considerably in different societies. The Ifaluk experience disappointment and fright as similar feelings. They also experience an emotion called "fago" which encompasses the English terms: compassion, sadness, love, respect, and gratitude. It is integrally related to safdnesds, unlike the Western conception of love.

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