Friday, December 26, 2014

End-of-Year special: How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction)

MJ captivated thousands with his emotional music.
Source:Wikimedia Commons.
If you watch any video of Michael Jackson, you’d be amazed at how he creatively uses his emotions – his voice, face, hands and body movements – to convey messages that are meant to influence you. Emotions are not only meant to influence others in social relations, it also determines our reactions and personal feelings. Take for example a man who sees a snake on his path. He feels the emotion of fear and decides either to run or look for a stick to kill it. Emotions regulate and coordinate humans and their relationship with others. Emotions could trigger a fight or a flight response.

A nation could go to war riding on the wave of emotions.

Understanding how our emotions determine our existence and using them to human advantage both at an intrapersonal and interpersonal level is then important. This end-of-year special series of blog articles will describe a model developed by Van Kleef that was developed towards this end, but on the interpersonal level. The model is named Emotions As Social Information (EASI) model.

The EASI describes human emotions as signals from one’s face, voice, bodily posture, choice of words etc that were expressed to influence the observer and trigger either an emotional response or trigger his brain to make deductions on what message(s) the emotion was meant to convey based on his information processing ability and social context.

The six series of blog articles that are focused on this theme are:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

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