ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind just ran a 4 part series on emotion. They covered Sexual Desire (arguably not an emotion), Anger, Jealousy, and Joy.
They feature comments from real people who experience the emotion in question, interspersed with interviews with scientists in the field. Tidbits that I liked:
David DeSteno (Associate Professor, Psychology Department, Northeastern University):
“Engaging in satisfying relationships is associated with all kinds of wonderful things: lower cardiovascular threat, greater immune system response, greater wellbeing. And so what jealousy does is it alerts you and impels you to the threat that your relationship is going to be lost.”
DeSteno categorizes jealousy as a “social emotion” rather than a more basic emotion like anger and fear, adding that social emotions “help us navigate our social landscape, much as more basic emotions help us navigate the physical one.”
Lea Williams (Associate Professor, Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney) and Susan Turk Charles (Assistant Professor, School of Social Ecology, University of Southern California) suggest that as we age we get happier. Well, they can’t prove it in so many words, but Williams has found “the part of that that regulates negative emotion actually becomes better able to do that with older age, and, in a sense, takes the brakes off the positive emotions.”
Charmin Härtel (Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Department of Management, Monash University):
“There’s an old saying that if you took three people and you put them in a room and two of them were positive and one of them was negative that they’d all come out depressed. And there’s a little bit of truth in that, it’s a lot easier for the emotional tone of a place to go negative than it is for it to go in a positive way or create a positive environment.”
Transcripts, citations to articles for more information, as well as podcasts & RealAudio of the show are available for all stories.