Emotions & Brain | Discussion

Introduction

It is no question that emotions are one of the vital parts of everybody’s life. They significantly impact brains, life events, attitudes, and emotional/psychological state. Simply put, emotions are one of the manifestations of a person’s reaction to self and the surroundings. Scientists have attempted to discover this phenomenon in details, though this topic is still vague. Although little is known about emotions, their functions, and precise consequences, the paper reveals how various emotions impact parts of the brain, learning, and its components, and how emotions can be a great aid in creating a positive environment in the class.

Emotions and Part of Brain

All emotions are placed in the limbic system. Scientists developed the parts of the brain influenced by various emotions:

  1. Happiness. Japanese scholars defined that happiness ensues in the right of the precuneus. Happiness is strongly influenced by genetics and consists of emotional (experiences) and cognitive (reflective) components (CBHS, 2017).
  2. Sadness. When people are required to imagine something distressing or think about sad, emotions impacts the amygdala. It plays a vital role in the existence of memory, decision making, and emotional reactions.
  3. Fear. Though it is not one hundred percent studies, some studies believe that the amygdala is responsible for producing fear.
  4. Rage. It is located in the hypothalamus since fury links for physical events. As a result, physiological responses the external stimuli, e.g., heart rate, increased blood pressure, and so on.
  5. Sexual arousal. Scientists prove that it is placed in both the hypothalamus and the amygdala. The hypothalamus controls sexuality after receiving information from limbic nerves. If the amygdala is damaged, an individual tends to become hypersexual.

Learning

Emotions modulate every aspect of the cognitive system.  Subject matter influences emotions that affect one’s ability to learn and remember (Tyng et al., 2017, p. 1454). Emotions and assimilation of information are not just interconnected; their close interaction significantly improves the process of adaptive learning. The emotional component strongly influences such criteria as the motivation, attention, and many others. With negative emotions, motivation is very weak or completely absent. In the creative activity, positive emotions are necessary motivational factors. For instance, motivation drops if the task is too simple or complicated. However, if one picks up a task that will be optimal in complexity, that is, the student is confident and will cope with it, motivation is noticeably increased. People with a positive attitude are ready to receive and perceive new information. On the contrary, people with negative emotions perceive the world through a variety of filters that cut off specific information.

Memory

Emotions have a direct impact on both the operational and long-term memory (LTM) of the student. The most interesting thing is that during memorization both positive and negative (anger, protest, and others) emotions can be involved. The emotional-cognitive interactions in the various brain regions are intimately involved in emotion and memory systems (Brod et al., 2013, p. 139). When emotions connect with the experience gained during learning, the ability to memorization process increases.

Attention

It is the concentration on a particular object, even when exposed to interference from the environment. If a student experiences boredom, irritation or dissatisfaction from the educational material during the lecture, his/her attention is dissipated; the student gets distracted by extraneous thoughts and actions. Positive emotions, such as interest or dedication, will help keep the concentration on the topic of the lesson.  Attentional components enhance perceptual processing, which then helps to select and organize salient information via a “bottom-up” approach to higher brain functions and awareness (Tyng et al., 2017, p. 1454). Thus it is necessary to remember that not all positive emotions are equally good, they can both contribute to and interfere with the learning process.

Meaning

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Positive emotional environment

Logically, every educator should focus not only on providing relevant material but creating a positive atmosphere. Negative emotions caused by various factors will never bring success or favorable outcomes, but distress, laziness, and the lack of reasoning. There are some crucial tips for building positive emotions:

1. Respect for the audience. Teacher’s respectful attitude towards students necessarily evokes positive emotions. They are pleased to realize that they are valued and respected for merely fulfilling their duties, i.e., learning. Hence, it is important to “let students know that the educator does not only care about their progress in the classroom but also as human beings” (Kamb, 2012). 

2. The use of sensory perception. Positive emotions arising from the use of multimedia teaching methods greatly facilitate the passage of tests, affect the level of intellectual abilities and motivation of the student.

3. Social interaction. It is necessary to “notice and reinforce casual, positive interactions between students on a daily basis” (Kamb, 2012).  During communication and information sharing, people use their emotional channels. When organizing studies that ensure joint work on solving any problem, the student will acquire skills in building relationships, mutual assistance, interaction, and so on.

4. The use of emotional visual images. Expressive gestures and facial expressions are understandable to people of different nationalities, speaking different languages and belonging to different cultures. It happens because such information is not perceived by the mind, but by the parts of the brain responsible for the emotions.

Conclusions

Emotions are still underway to develop, analyze, and apply in practice. Every day people have various emotions: in the morning it can be happiness, and by the night – sadness, or vice versa. Scholars have established that the limbic system is responsible for emotions. Moreover, different emotions significantly impact learning, attention, memory, and meaning. Consequently, it is of priority to distinguish emotions and be in control of them in the class. Ultimately, educators should grasp that only a positive emotional environment will lead to favorable outcomes and create the most effective atmosphere and learning process for students.

References

Brod G., Werkle-Bergner M., Shing Y. L. (2013). The influence of prior knowledge on memory: a developmental cognitive neuroscience perspective. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 7:139. DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00139

Kamb, R. (2012). Key Factors in Creating a Positive Classroom Climate. Committee for Children. Retrieved from https://www.cfchildren.org/blog/2012/08/key-factors-in-creating-a-positive-classroom-climate/

“The parts of your brain that control emotion.” (2017). CBHS Health Fund. Retrieved from https://www.cbhs.com.au/health-well-being-blog/blog-article/2017/05/17/here-are-the-parts-of-your-brain-responsible-for-emotion

Tyng, C. M., Amin, H.U., Saad, M. N. M. & Malik, A.S. (2017). The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory. Front Psychol. 8: 1454. doi: [10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01454]

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