MCAT Content / Emotion / Three Components Of Emotion I E Cognitive Physiological Behavioral

Three Components of Emotion (i.e. Cognitive, Physiological, Behavioral)

Topic: Emotion

Emotions are subjective experiences that involve physiological arousal and cognitive appraisal.

As we move through our daily lives, we experience a variety of emotions (which we often call “feelings”). Emotions are subjective states of being that, physiologically speaking, involve physiological arousal, psychological appraisal and cognitive processes, subjective experiences, and expressive behavior. Emotions are often the driving force behind motivation (whether positive or negative) and are expressed and communicated through a wide range of behaviors, such as tone of voice and body language.

How emotions are experienced, processed, expressed, and managed is a topic of great interest in the field of psychology. Psychological research investigates the cognitive, physiological, and behavioral components of emotion as well as the underlying physiological and neurological processes.

The cognitive component is described as how we interpret emotions and think about situations. The physiological component is how the body reacts to an emotion. For example, before sitting an exam, your body feels sweaty, and your heart beats faster. The behavioural components is how you express and show your emotion. A good example of this is after good news you smile and behave more positively to those around you.


Key Points

• Our emotional states are combinations of physiological arousal, psychological appraisal and cognitive processes, subjective experiences, and expressive behavior.

• Our psychological appraisal of a situation is informed by our experiences, background, and culture; different people may have different emotional experiences in similar situations.

• The field of psychology examines emotions from a scientific perspective by looking at their mental, physiological, and behavioral components.


Key Terms

cognitive: the process of knowing; the mental process

physiological: relating to the branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts



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