NCSU COM 112 - COM 112 Chapter 8 (40 pages)

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COM 112 Chapter 8



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COM 112 Chapter 8

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Pages:
40
School:
North Carolina State University
Course:
Com 112 - Interpersonal Communication
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CHAPTER PREVIEW 1 2 3 4 1 Emotion in Interpersonal Communication 2 The Nature of Emotion 3 Influences on Emotional Experience and Expression 4 Sharpening Your Emotional Communication Skills AWASH IN EMOTION In an episode of the Fox television show Glee Kurt Hummel played by Chris Colfer sat at the bedside of his father Burt played by Mike O Malley who had recently suffered a heart attack and was in a coma Kurt was overwhelmed with a wide range of emotions He felt guilty about an argument they d had the last time they spoke He was fearful of losing his father and saddened at the thought of life without him He felt grateful for the support of his friends and ashamed that he had neglected them earlier And when his dad began to squeeze his hand Kurt felt surprised happy and profoundly hopeful that Burt might recover The intensity of Kurt s many emotions helped him to realize how important his father was to him Page 246 E motion is a powerful force When we experience an intense emotion such as the profound sorrow of losing a loved one or the profound joy of reuniting with one it can seem as though our emotions consume us In some respects that s exactly what happens Our emotions are so connected to our body mind and behaviors that they practically overtake us Understanding this powerful and often mysterious force can therefore help us to appreciate the enormous role it plays in the ways we relate to others 1 Emotion in Interpersonal Communication So much of what we say think and do is affected by our emotions yet we seldom stop to consider what emotions are We realize that emotions cause us to feel and act in certain ways but why In this section we ll define emotions and consider how they are related to moods We ll then examine specific forms of emotions that are joyful and affectionate hostile or sad and anxious considering their applications to interpersonal communication as we do What Is an Emotion Emotion might seem like the kind of phenomenon you can t really define but when you feel it you certainly recognize it Emotions can be powerful even life changing experiences but what kind of experiences are they exactly According to researchers an emotion is the body s multidimensional response to any event that enhances or inhibits a person s goals 1 For example you feel nervous before a final exam because the possibility of failing interferes with your goal of passing it Doing well on the exam makes you happy because your goal has been met doing poorly makes you angry or disappointed because your goal has been inhibited You feel sad when a cherished pet dies because your goal of maintaining a relationship with that pet has been thwarted Basically speaking emotion is your mind and body s way of reacting so that meeting your goals feels good and not meeting them feels bad EMOTION IS DIFFERENT FROM MOOD Many people refer to emotions as moods and vice versa but moods and emotions are different experiences Whereas an emotion is a response to a specific event such as passing an exam or losing a pet a mood is a feeling that has no specific identifiable cause 2 You might feel as though you re in a good or a bad mood for no obvious reason If you can identify the reason you feel good or bad then you re probably experiencing an emotion rather than a mood Moods also are more persistent often lasting for days or weeks at a time 3 In contrast most emotions are relatively short lived Emotions come in many forms Communication scientist and emotion expert Laura Guerrero has suggested that we can understand many emotions by placing them in one of three categories 1 joyful and affectionate 2 hostile or 3 sad and anxious 4 Let s look at some of the specific emotions that constitute each category Communication scientist Laura Guerrero suggests that most emotions fit one of three categories those that are joyful or affectionate those that are hostile and those that are sad or anxious Page 247 Joyful Affectionate Emotions Happiness Love Passion and Liking What makes you happy If you re like most people your personal relationships are high on the list 5 Feeling connected to others is a source of profound joy for many people and emotional experiences of joy and happiness play an important role in making those relationships rewarding In this section we will look at the emotions of happiness love passion and liking to understand their functions in interpersonal communication HAPPINESS Of all human emotions happiness is one of the most easily and universally recognized 6 Happiness is a state of contentment joy pleasure and cheer People in all known cultures display happiness by smiling laughing and being energetic and they all interpret those behaviors as indicating happiness 7 To some extent happiness begins as an individual experience When we feel happy however our tendency is to approach and reconnect with people 8 In other words happiness tends to make us share our joy with others by seeking contact and being emotionally expressive in our interactions 9 Those behaviors in turn often make the other party happy so that happiness becomes a truly social experience Research indicates that happiness also contributes to our health and well being by helping us recover from the harmful effects of stress 10 LOVE AND PASSION Love can be easier to recognize than to define One reason is that we experience so many forms of love including romantic love love for friends love for family members love for God and love for the self Love is a remarkably powerful emotion that motivates people to behave in ways they otherwise would not Love for a romantic partner for instance can cause people to quit their jobs sell their homes and even move thousands of miles to be together Likewise people make extraordinary sacrifices out of love for their children or love for God Love therefore means caring for feeling attached to and feeling deeply committed to someone 11 Some forms of love are accompanied by passion an emotion that mixes feelings of joy and surprise with experiences of excitement and attraction for the target of our passion 12 People often feel passion in the early stages of a romantic or sexual relationship when behaviors such as kissing handholding saying I love you and interacting sexually are novel Because passion is partially based on surprise it is enhanced by the novelty of those behaviors Page 248 For the same reason however passion also tends to fade as people get to know each other better 13 In that way passion


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