Emotions and their cognitive and adaptive functions
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Emotions appeared very early in phylogenetic and ontogenetic development. The word emotion originates from the Latin verb movere. However, attempts to distinguish and name the concept represented by the phrase emotion reach back to the beginnings of human language. The compound and subjective nature of emotions stress an essential aspect of this phenomenon, which leads to changes in physiological, psychological, and behavioral issues. World literature dedicates significant attention to the mutual associations between the cognitive and adaptive processes and emotions. Emotions help to estimate the adaptational meaning of stimuli. Its cognitive aspect is, however, just as significant. The review of the literature presented herein is an attempt to classify and evaluate particular emotions, both positive and negative, and the influence they have on physical and mental health. Paul Ekman, the author of one of the more esteemed classification attempts, has distinguished six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. These universal emotions are recognized based on emotional facial expressions, the automatic reactions that unfold within microseconds. Robert Plutchik, on the other hand, devised his „emotion wheel” upon which he organized eight basic emotions by grouping them in pairs comprising a combination of positive and negative emotions. He is also the author of one of the best framed emotional combination theories. In this respect, emotions play a crucial role as compound model reactions to everyday situations such as a long-lasting effort ensuring survival and individual development.
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