Here you will find general articles about emotions-related topics by contributors who’ve kindly written for Emotivity. Nothing too academic or technical – just some interesting emotions research in plain, simple English, with a tip or two on how you can make the science of emotions work for you.
Humour may not often come across as a topic of serious scientific study. But the research in this area tells us that having a good laugh now and then can be beneficial in helping us cope with workplace demands and foster cohesion with our leaders and colleagues.
Much research on video games shows there to be a negative impact on aggressive tendencies. But if we look beyond just games with violent content, are there any benefits to video gaming? Can prosocial video games make us more cooperative and empathetic?
Positive psychology research gives us approaches that help us thrive and flourish. But misconceptions about how it is possible to be happy, optimistic, and compassionate all the time can be misleading, if not detrimental to our well-being. A more nuanced approach to appreciating findings from positive psychology involves understanding the dangers of excessive optimism and compassion.
Movement restrictions and self-isolation don’t have to spell boredom. Countless people have taken to using their leisurely hours in pursuit of things creative and inspiring. What does the psychological literature say about the importance of our non-work hours? And can cooking be good for your emotional well-being?
Crisis events demand leaders to recognize, empathize, and reflect the right emotions. We pay attention to leaders during times of crisis, but the types of emotions that a leader expresses – or fail to express, can determine their effectiveness.
At times of crises, strife and when faced with difficult challenges, it is easy to neglect our own needs and well-being. Being self-compassionate does not mean being selfish, but rather, accepting and kind to yourself when you need it the most.
What motivates individuals to take part in protests and rallies? Our article on the psychology of collective action sheds some light into an area that has received much scholarly attention in political psychology.
Love has seen many expressions over time, from the romantic and passionate, to the companionate and comfortable. Is love really a choice? If so, how can we keep love in our most valued relationships alive? Read our article on what psychological science says about what is arguably our most human emotion.
You are what you eat – but you are also what you feel. Check out our article here on stress – the diseases of adaptation – and how you can use positive emotions for better physical health.
We set ambitious, challenging goals for ourselves, and yet, fail to create a response to how we should act if (or when) we fail to meet those goals. A self-compassionate response takes the sting out of our failure and gives us a renewed sense of vigour to try again.
Our emotions are strongly tied to our memories, but there are ways in which we can stretch our positive emotions so that they linger with us for just that bit longer. Check out our article here on how to craft, and subsequently savour days well-spent.
We grieve for loved ones lost, but the nature of grief – and our bereavement, is especially complicated when our loved ones choose to end their own lives. Read what guest author Hui Yen Ling has to share about the complex and deeply personal experience of bereavement from suicide.
What makes a country’s citizens truly happy? Economic wealth and stability do lead to greater levels of national well-being, but a truer picture of a country’s wealth emerges when we consider more psychological factors – social ties, personal freedom, and natural environments. Check out our article on what makes a country truly wealthy.
We are witnessing the dawn of the era of intelligent machines – computer systems that think, make decisions, and act as efficiently – sometimes more so than human brains. What place do us (mere) human beings have in a world where artificial intelligence (AI) dominates? Ironically, maybe it’s the very idiosyncrasies and irrationalities – the very things that define our humanity, that help keep us future-relevant.
You have probably heard of the saying “time flies when you’re having fun.” The psychological research on time perspective also shows that we tend to perceive time as accelerating as we get older. Why is this? Check out our article by guest writer JY Tan on how time perspective, emotion and memories affect our experiencing of how quickly, or slowly, life passes us by.
A person you envy, or dislike immensely experiences a misfortune. “They had it coming,” you say – but it’s not that you are a bad person. It just feels nice that this terrible person finally experiences some deserving misery. Read Raja Intan Arifah’s insightful article on the emotion that we all experience but are unwilling to admit to feeling – schadenfreude.
Thanks to technology, we are more connected today than ever. And yet, scientific studies show that levels of perceived social isolation and feelings of loneliness, are on the rise, leading to numerous health consequences. Check out our article on the loneliness epidemic, and some of our suggestions on how to counter these unpleasant feelings of disconnection and isolation.
The emotionally intelligent coach recognizes that people are moved through their feelings. In this article, we discuss some of the ways you can use emotional intelligence to be a more effective and empowering coach.
What can different cultures teach us about living a fuller, richer life? Plenty, in fact. In this article, we delve into wisdom from Japanese culture, and feature three concepts – mono no aware, natsukashii, and wabi-sabi, and how each informs us about the ideals of life and of our well-being.
Nosce te ipsum, or ‘know thyself’ is probably the most well-known of the Delphic maxims. This maxim has often used to stress the importance of self-awareness. Are we, however, as self-aware as we think we are? Read our article here on this important skill, with a particular focus on whether we are sufficiently self-aware of our emotional experiences.
Why do so many New Year resolutions and goals go unfulfilled? Having good intentions and motivating goals is only part of the story. Being more motivationally intelligent requires us to make use of specific emotions – termed ‘anticipatory emotions.’ Mental contrasting works too, in helping us develop greater, sustained intentions to meet our resolutions. Check our article here on how to make these approaches work for you.
There is no sincerer love than the love of food, as a famous playwright once said. But our relationship with food is a little more complex and unpredictable than the scheduled three square meals most of us have in a day. Read our article here, by Tsee Leng Choy, on the biological and psychological effects of food consumption.
Nostalgia is a form of mental time travelling – but research evidence also suggests that it can have positive effects on our overall well-being. Read about some of the fascinating science of this misunderstood emotion here.
Is “follow your passion” actually bad, or at best, ill-informed advice? What does psychological research on passion say? Read our article here to find out.
Enjoy a good horror movie every once in a while? Psychological research has an explanation for why some of us enjoy the thrills of the gruesome and gory genre, and from being scared out of our wits. Check out our article here on what psychologists think make horror movies so appealing.
We often associate joy as an emotion state with a rather childish, immature, but pleasant quality. And yet, we seek this positive emotion state by making it dependent on external events. Joy is everywhere – in everyday mundane objects and events, according to guest contributor Joey Koh. Read what she has to say about finding and experiencing joy from everyday objects and events.
Small, positive changes to your life can add up over time, leading to sustained well-being. Here are some ways to incorporate positivity just that bit more into your day-to-day routine, based on 20 years of positive psychology research. See how positive psychology can work for you in our article here.
There is considerable evidence that emotional intelligence can help us better cope with stress, resolve conflict, and be more effective leaders. Can this important skill, however, help increase financial gain for an individual? Are individuals high on emotional intelligence paid more than those low on emotional intelligence?
An evolutionary view suggests that our emotions have been long part of our history, making them a necessary feature of our psychology.
There are psychopaths among us – but are they really as depicted in popular media? Tsee Leng Choy sifts through fact and fiction on this antisocial personality disorder, and shares what neuroscientists understand about psychopathy.
Awe can literally be an out-of-this-world experience. This aesthetic and self-transcendent emotion can also elicit a sense of oneness, and connectedness with the world around us.
Prolonging experiences that elicit positive emotions has been shown to be beneficial for our well-being. Read on to find out how you can savour the goodness that comes your way.
How do scents and odours influence our feelings? And how do they shape our judgments and actions?
The groups we belong to, and identify with shape our emotional experiences. We make the emotional ups and downs of our group’s fortunes our own.
You may have expressed cute aggression in response to something unbearably adorable, or expressed 'tears of joy' to a deeply moving, positive experience. But why do we express intense emotions in such unusual ways?
The benefits and advantages of being emotionally intelligent are well-attested to - but does this important skill also have a shadow side?
Most discussion of politics, or even studies of political action are emotion-laden, prompting strong reactions from commentators and participants alike. Why then, do some of us simply not care about political issues? Read on as Pak Wei-Han and Dr. Tsee Leng Choy shed light on the science of political apathy, from a uniquely Malaysian perspective.
Being emotionally agile can help in enhancing your responsiveness and adaptability to a wide range of situations at work.
Interest is a curious emotion - but new research suggests that it can help replenish psychological resources and enhance well-being.
A thought-provoking episode from the Black Mirror series raises questions about the ethics of warfare - and whether technological advances are diminishing our sense of empathy and capacity for compassion. Sybella Ng tells how technology is shaping our emotional experiences.
Are some people simply - because of their personality - naturally happier than others? What personality traits are good predictors of a happy disposition?
Do dogs, cats, birds – and bees experience emotions? The idea that non-human animals are capable of experiencing and expressing emotion may be something you intuitively believe is possible. We spoke to Dr. Gentaro Shishimi as he shares his insights on the latest research findings on emotions in animals.
It may be important, now than ever, that children and young learners are equipped the necessary skills that allow them to succeed in life. Can we teach our kids to be more socially and emotionally astute? Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) approaches have been shown to be important and effective in developing holistic educational outcomes. We've also asked Developmental Psychologist Sybella Ng for her thoughts on SEL.
Emotional contagion subconsciously nudges our mostly automatic mimicry tendencies so that we get as close as possible to experiencing another’s emotional states. This helps smooth social interactions and empathize with others, but it can also cause us to take on too much of others’ emotions.
In contrast with a universal, general assessment of (merely) being satisfied or happy with work, employee engagement assesses three key components. When researchers measure more specific emotion-related experiences at work, they find that it has a strong association with work performance.
From an evolutionary point of view, disgust is beneficial in helping us stay away – and avoid altogether, items that could cause us illness or disease. But disgust too, serves another important function – it shapes our moral judgments and opinions.
Positive psychology is a domain within the psychological sciences that focuses on understanding how, and why some people thrive and flourish. There are five important elements that that serve as key ingredients for a good life.
Much of what we have come to understand colloquially about pride is that it is an emotion associated with arrogance or an inflated sense of self-esteem. Pride, however, is not necessarily all bad.
What is deemed moral or immoral is made on intuitive grounds rather than on reasoned or rational routes.
Close, meaningful and trusting relationships are important contributors to psychological well-being. Thinking about how these relationships helps provide you with a sense of psychological safety, with an environment where you feel safe to disclose your most emotionally sensitive concerns and vulnerabilities.
Psychologists categorize both envy and jealousy as self-conscious emotions. Not all envy, however, is destructive. Some research has indicated that there may even be good forms of envy. Similarly, jealousy brings to our attention the need to strengthen a valued relationship.
Facebook is a great way to reconnect with a long-lost friend, and generally, keep people who matter to us updated with our own lives. Yet, all these benefits appear to come with costs – psychological costs in particular.
Paradoxically, the wish to be happy – and, more generally, making happiness as a goal, is not always the best way to achieve happiness.
If we were to ask you what your best day at work was, and contrast that with your worst day at work, we would guess that the two incidents there would be emotional ones.
Why does gratitude have this effect on well-being? It may be because gratitude prompts us to recall, and then savour the positive aspects of one͛s life – something which we may not necessarily do regularly.
By cultivating mindfulness, we can exert a greater degree of control over behaviours; we can choose not to act on the impulse of certain thoughts and emotions.
You have probably heard, or maybe even seen an angry person take their frustrations out by hitting things, or yelling. Does venting help reduce our anger?
Procrastination is the delay, dallying and postponement of tasks we should be doing because we fail to properly and effectively regulate our negative emotions towards those tasks. We avoid – rather than confront the task, and the unpleasant emotions it triggers.
We are affected by others͛ emotions, as much as others͛ emotions affect us. As a social species, the capacity for empathy – feeling alongside others, would enhance our tendencies for altruism, cooperation, caregiving and simply, being a nice member of our societies.
Compassion helps us care – and cooperate; we are stronger as a community and as such, find it easier to survive when we are compassionately responding to one another. Is compassion, however, relevant for corporations and companies?
We talk about our decisions being calculated͛, but emotions always have a means of seeping into our thoughts where decision-making is concerned.
The arts in its many forms have, over the course of human history, been an outlet for the most creative and varied expressions of human experience and emotions. Creative therapies – art and music, in particular, have been used as interventions and approaches to help individuals facing psychological issues and challenges.
Can love be studied and observed in the brain? However we define (or in this case, study it), undeniably love has a strong sway over our relationships, and health – even if it is all stems from series of intricate chemical-driven neural wirings.