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#340534 - 05/10/07 07:27 AM emotional evolutionary development?
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
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Taken from my post on this thread:

http://www.fightingarts.com/ubbthreads/s...01#Post15937989

Does anyone know the evolutionary reasons for negative emotional development? I mean emotions like despair, sadness, boredom, etc.

I can understand happiness and positive emotions for reinforcing good situations, rage and fear for self protection, etc. But the others I mentioned?
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"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#340535 - 05/10/07 08:33 AM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: MattJ]
jpoor Offline
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Registered: 04/11/07
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Just a guess, but we naturally move towards pleasure (positive emotions) and away from pain (negative emotions). Mayhaps those negative feelings are there to steer us just as much as the positive ones are?

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#340536 - 05/10/07 08:42 AM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: jpoor]
MattJ Offline
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jpoor -

I agree with you that they probably serve some purpose. I was really looking for specifics ie; under what cicumstances and for what reason did the construct of boredom come about? How is (was?) this useful in human development?

PAGING FORUM SCIENTISTS, PSYCHOLOGISTS, BEHAVIORISTS, etc.

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#340537 - 05/10/07 09:13 AM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: MattJ]
Joss Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 567
"Does anyone know the evolutionary reasons for negative emotional development? I mean emotions like despair, sadness, boredom, etc."

This is just layman's conjecture, but my guess is that boredom is no more than a side-effect of an evolved advanced mental capability... with nothing to run on. If advanced mental capability is the evolutionary product, then boredom is only the result of insufficient stimulation.

Despair and sadness are the emotions of loss. The pain of loss probably teaches "value" and instills the desire to protect things critical to survival (shelter, family, food, etc). Fire hot! Thag not play in fire. Loss hurt too! Thag remember feed mate next time.

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#340538 - 05/10/07 09:18 AM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: Joss]
Joss Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 567
An evolutionary benefit of boredom might be if it prompted one to "get busy" with something productive. Otherwise perhaps we'd be content to simply sit and starve.

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#340539 - 05/10/07 10:52 AM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: Joss]
Stormdragon Offline
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Registered: 08/05/04
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Loc: Salem, OR
Yeah, besides the chemical/physiological reasons it can be the result of learned helplessness, or a sign that tells us we need to do something different. Just a another way to get on track and survive better.
_________________________
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#340540 - 05/10/07 11:28 AM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: MattJ]
oldman Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
Matt,
Did anyone page a cartoonist? I'll throw out a few ideas. Feel free to throw my ideas out also.

If we talk about boredom I guess we could start with brain chemistry.

Think of your brain /body as a pharmacy.

Excitement and fear are based in the bodies production of adreneline.
It is produced by the adrenal gland. When the adrenal gland is stimulated by thought or experienceing an activity adreneeline is released into the body and can be experienced as excitement or fear based on the attributional style of the person experiencing it. Two people could go on a roller coaster. One would be terrified and the other exhilarated.

If we experience it as pleasureable we want to repeat (reinforce the behavior) the experience. If it was unpleasurable we tend to avoid the experience and also (reinforce the avoidant behavior.)

Back to the pharmacy. During the coaster ride adreneline is released. After the ride the brain releases endorphins (endogenous morphine) and gives a soothing reward for having survived. Either behavior can be self reinforcing.

When a person uses drugs they are looking to alter mood and experience. Their drug of choice will fall into two broad catagories, a stimulant or a depressant/opiate. The drug similar to adreneline would be epinephren.
Our body produces Endorphine/ endogenous morphine for pain and stress relief. The drug doctors and junkies choose would be morphine.


So, the thoughts and behaviors we choose stimulate our neuropharmachology. If we are unaware of this our behaviors we choose can be self reinforcing and problematic. Why? because neuropharmachology is as prone to external pharmachology the the reality . habituatio and developing TOLERANCE.

Habituation happens when we have grown accustomed to a level of drug of stimulation. That level becomes, normal and not "exciting". To experience excitement again one must experience more of the behavior or more of the drug. Boredom in part can be habituation to a level of stimulation. What bores one person stimulate another. Many time people experience boredom in the abscence of activity or stimulation. In an evolutionary argument you could say it compeles an organisim to take action.

But here is the dark side of activity.

If we become addited to excitement (the stimulating of the adrenal glands through thought and activity we are headed for depression. Even depression can be understood as having evolutionaty value and here is how.

Constant activity and stimulation can lead to Hypoadrenia. The adrenal gland works on supply and demand. Living an adreneline recruiting lifestyle causes us to have too much adrenelin in our systems. With that we get the asscociated downside effects of jitteriness, nervousness loss of sleep aggitation and anxiety. Hypoadrenia often lead to the overwhelming of the adrenal gland leaving the individual exhausted and unable to take action.

One other complication at that point can be Anhedonia, or the inability to expeirience pleasure.

Depression serves to (press down) feelings. It is like shutting down and overheating engine. That can be seen as having evolutionary benefit. It is also a bit like driving with the brakes on and not a place on would want to stay for a long time. One part of ending depression is to experience the evolutionary value of another emotion percieved negativly which is sadness which is connected to grieving any loss.

Ironically one of the most effective ways of moving through depression is by experiencing sadness.

So sadness and depression, emotions that are seen as negative can have an upside when understood and responded to effectively.

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#340541 - 05/10/07 12:16 PM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: MattJ]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Matt, as a slight addition to what Mark listed, I remember a behaviorist commenting on fear and excitement being on the same table in the brain.

Look at our ourselves and our closest genetic kin, chimpanzees, to see behaviour provoked by the same stimulus. If you take fear and Mark's roller coaster example, people will smile, bear their teeth, and yell. Reactions that can be attributed in different contexts to being caused by fear. In this case, it can be for fun.

Generally, in other species the bearing of teeth is a warning when afraid or provoked. In humans, we see a smile. We have changed the perceived symbology of that physical act to one of friendliness.

In humans, and if I remember correctly, with chimps, this physical response to fear has been adapted to not show only being afraid and potential harm to an attacker, but by performing this physical reaction it can imply meekness in the face of a superior. So, it is a physical reaction to fear usurped for behavioral response in society to mean something entirely different...but stemming from the same original stimulus and fear response.

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#340542 - 05/10/07 12:31 PM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: butterfly]
Stormdragon Offline
Who Dares Wins
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 3409
Loc: Salem, OR
One thing is while experiencing more of the fear and anxiety producing events MAY desensitize some people, in others, it will produce learned helplessness if the event doesn't end up well. So if you get put into a situation that produces fear but then it turns out well, them ore that happens the stronger you'll be but if it just keeps turning out bad, you'll end up with learned helplessness or more anxiety depending on the situation. The fear and anxiety will be reinforced.
What other ways can you combat fear and anxiety without drugs or experiencing the situation continually? Cognitive therapy? Rationalization? That has helped me some but how do you do what they call compartmentalization? I was taught by a psychology teCHER ABOUT IT BUT i'M NOT SURE HOW. Sorry for the caps.
_________________________
Member of DaJoGen MMA school under Dave Hagen and Team Chaos fight team under Denver Mangiyatan and Chris Toquero, ran out of Zanshin Martial Arts in Salem Oregon: http://www.zanshinarts.org/Home.aspx,

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#340543 - 05/10/07 12:59 PM Re: emotional evolutionary development? [Re: oldman]
Joss Offline
Dragon

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 567
Oldman,

Given the inevitable resistance built up to over stimulation, I'm tempted to read into all this that a person maintains the greatest ability to "feel life" simply through pursuing quiet calmness as a lifestyle. If so, this would certainly seem to endorse the "Eastern" perspective over the "Western" desire to "be happy".

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