An article on the Power of Belief on Emotion
Fr. Divya Paul
20 May, 2011
The Power of Belief on Emotion
Beliefs and emotions share an inextricable link. They are found to influence and are influenced by one another. Some individuals are of the opinion that emotions affect belief, while others believe that beliefs affect emotion. This makes the study of both, beliefs and emotions interesting.
Emotions are all pervasive, and are experienced by everyone in the world. Emotions are not affected by barriers of age, race, class, sex, caste and the like, and can be seen across the world in humans and animals.
Beliefs represent an important aspect of people’s lives, in that most of what people do, seems to be driven by their beliefs and belief systems. In general, beliefs seem to represent the cognitive dimension of their lives, while emotions comprise the affective dimension. Both, the cognitive and affective processes are two vital domains in the study of psychology, which can be defined as the study of cognitive, connative and affective processes of humans and animals. (Nataraj, 2003)
In order to understand this connection between emotions and beliefs, it is important for one to understand what emotions and beliefs, basically are.
The English word emotion is derived from the French word émouvoir. This is based on the Latin emovere, where e- (variant of ex-) means "out" and movere means "move." It is thus basically, “the stirred up state of an organism.” (Woodworth). There have been several attempts to define emotion over the years, but no one definition is comprehensive enough to capture all aspects of emotions.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines an emotion as “a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes”.
On the whole, philosophers around the world agree that emotions might be viewed as physiological processes,...