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The nature, properties, and structure of the human psyche have been the objects of discussion for more than one century. The first mentions leading to the issue of emotional intelligence are found in ancient Greek philosophical texts (Plato “Republic”, Aristotle “Nicomachean Ethics”) as early as the 4th century BC.

Closer to the twentieth century, mental abilities become the target of scientific research. Developing his evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin does not forget about the emotional sphere (“Expression of emotions in humans and animals”). The book talks about the similarity of emotional expressions in humans and animals, relying on emotion as an important adaptive survival mechanism. It is no secret that it was universal emotions that Darwin took into account. This idea was also to the taste of the famous researcher of the code of emotions of the XXI century, Paul Ekman.

Paul Ekman is an American psychologist, a researcher in the field of non-verbal behavior (facial expressions and gestures), author of books on the psychology of lies. Paul Ekman became famous thanks to the theory of six basic emotions. This theory says that regardless of culture, all people of the world experience basic emotions. Joy, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, surprise, all have a corresponding universal expression on the face, which cannot be hidden even due to cultural characteristics and upbringing.

While Paul Ekman has dedicated his life to seeking the universality of emotional responses, this article also examines the uniqueness of each individual’s experience. The author wrote about the differences in his works, but the focus was always on the search for universality, and there was plenty of evidence for this. Now Paul Ekman is trying to find out why we can experience the same emotions in different ways and here’s what happened.
The uniqueness lies in the difference between each person, his experience, beliefs, knowledge of the world, thoughts, and behavior. Paul Ekman provides the following factors of distinction:

The speed of the emotional start. Indicates how quickly the response occurs from the start of the stimulus to the start of the emotion itself.

The intensity of the emotional reaction is the strength of the response, which depends on the health of the central and autonomic nervous systems and other factors. The more intense the emotion, the stronger its manifestation at the physiological level.

The duration of the emotional response is the time of the reaction itself.

Decreased emotional response. Shows how long it will take before returning to its original state.

What studies have shown on these factors

In the ratio of intensity and speed of emotional response, there was an expectation that respondents with a quick response should be very emotional, but the results were almost equally divided. Just like the subjects who responded slowly to the stimulus, the response rates were divided on a scale from weak to high. The same comparisons became relevant in the relationship between the interval of emotional response and its strength. This means that if a person is experiencing intense anger, then its duration can be either short or long. And if a person very quickly lights up in joy, this does not mean that his experience will be short-lived, but not necessarily intense.

There are a lot of variations because we are all different. Professionals are working on these studies, but it is already clear that there is a difference in the reactions of even basic emotions, and the further, the more interesting the questions.

How we experience emotions differently