Okay all of you, I need your help. Yesterday I had small group and it raised the question about whether or not pain is an emotion. Awhile ago I did some research in an attempt to find a definition of emotion. It turns out that emotion is rather difficult to define--or at least to get people to agree on a definition. Besides which, the terms emotion, mood, motivation, and affect all get used somewhat interchangeably in popular culture. So let me give you a few of the definitions out there:
Emotion: a response to an environmental stimuli that creates an intense but short term affective state. Emotion is externally triggered.
Or another definition of Emotion: Emotions are psychological rewards and punishments. They constitute part of the feedback provided by the brain to motivate us to optimize our survival by acting to correct inner deviations from cellular homeostasis. In reptiles, injury, restraint, or blockage of ancient survival drives, such as air-hunger, cause powerful alarm responses and associated reactions. These are part of the ancient pleasure-pain drives ascribed to our brain core system Dragon. In the early mammals, these reptilian drives were extended or amplified by the limbic system to become a larger number of distinct emotions. Thus, the limbic-Caretaker has many behavioral properties overlapping those of Freud's Ego.
Mood: has a general stimulus--it is often difficult to determine the source of the mood--and has a longer span than emotion.
Affect: generally the intensity is milder than emotion. If the stimuli is intense--it is generally considered an emotion.
Motivation: motivations are internally fired up and are action oriented whereas emotions are more of a series of reactions to surrounding situations.
(Take it for what it is worth. This information comes from: http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/Gallery/Young/emotion.htm http://www.ciadvertising.org/studies/student/97_fall/theory/emotion/ea/definition.html
Then there is the theory (actually more than one theory, but anyway) that there are PRIMARY emotions, and that all emotion comes from some sort of combination of those primary emotions. Of course, there is little agreement of what those primary emotions are. Robert Plutchik is one of those advocating the theory of primary emotions. He even uses colors to represent his model.
Another theory is the THE HEXADYAD PRIMARY EMOTIONS MODEL. In organisms whose brain includes a limbic system, there appear to be six independent primary emotion-generating systems. The function of these separately regulated primary emotion systems appears to be based upon the activity of several different limbic-brain core structural elements. This is supported by measurements of regional brain glucose uptake. In these observations, only the brain core system and the limbic system have shown shifts in regional brain activity during the production of emotion‑associated behaviors. In general, each of these emotion-associated structures receive separable neural inputs, and produce different neurotransmitter outputs most likely leading to production of a primary emotion.
Inherent in the hexadyad primary emotions model is the concept that each primary emotion-generating system produces an output ranging between two polar extremes. For each primary pair, one extreme is rewarding (appetitive) and generates approach behavior, while the other is punishing (aversive) and produces avoidance behavior. In keeping with this proposal, certain observed regional brain activity outputs occurred in opposite directions, depending on whether the emotion was rewarding or alarming. This binary, dichotomous situation is not to be confused with the dualism of mind and body, an obsolete concept to be discarded.
Given those definitions, do you think physical pain could be considered/connected to/experienced as emotion? My main character can feel (literally) the emotions of others. I'm struggling to determine if she would experience pain if someone else got hurt. She's in a fight, would she feel the others' pain as well as her own? Would she feel it as they did? Like, if they hit something, would her hand hurt? Or would she feel pain in a more general way--like, alarm?
Various other things I've read about psychics mention healing or being able to determine the source of pain, illness. I know this isn't a right or wrong type thing; most people would deny that these abilities exist at all. But I need to know if it exists for my character. I want to make this as believable as possible--suspension of disbelief, isn't it? As long as the "rules" seem logical, it doesn't matter if they are, or aren't. After all, it's fiction! Interesting questions that writing brings up. I love it. I never know what I am going to learn next.