The feeling of emotion across the life span
thesisposted on 2011-02-01, 11:29 authored by Jeanette G. Janes
This thesis examines emotion and the feeling of emotion across the life-span. The ageing population is growing, and as emotions may influence aspects of healthy ageing, it is of importance to know the differences and similarities in the experience and perception of emotion between the younger and older population, as this may tell us more about emotions themselves. Due to recent years' development of technology our knowledge of the neurological aspects of emotions have increased, and with this emotions have re-gained the interest of researchers from various fields such as neuroscience and philosophy as well as many areas of psychology. Still, emotion definitions are many and varied, and influenced by the area investigated. The aim of this thesis was to provide a working definition of emotion which could encompass the different aspects of what emotions are believed to be, and to investigate emotion in different age groups. The research presented here was based upon a study of three age groups. The study induced emotion through a visual standardised stimulus (The Affective Picture System), and through an autobiographical account of an emotional event. Throughout both parts physiological data (Skin Conductance Level) and subjective ratings were taken. There were three main objectives to the analysis of the data: to compare the physiological data across the age groups, to compare the physiological data to the subjective ratings of the emotion, and to conduct narrative analysis, informed by discursive analysis, of the interview data to investigate how emotion are constructed across the age groups. Griffiths (1997) suggested a re-categorisation of the emotion term, however, the findings in this study suggest that by having a working definition of emotion that encompasses the social, biological and psychological aspects of emotion, and a multiple methodology, we may look at the embodied emotional experience and constructions, and thus gain better understanding of potential changes in emotion and feeling of emotion across age groups. The results showed that emotion does change across the life span and thus lend support to non-universality of emotions. These results bear importance for future research in emotions, and have implications for research in affective disorders.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences