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Emotion can be termed as feelings, behaviors, and other psychological responses. It is always difficult to adequately define what emotion really is. It is always an expression that involves some feelings that can cognitively be translated. This leads to some physical reaction that leads to an expression of certain behavior. Our everyday way of life is always controlled by different sets of emotions (Fehr & Gaechter, 2002). They determine how people behave, and respond to issues of life. When emotions set in, the feelings invoked in most of the time do lead people to respond differently thus shaping the behavior. There are two categories of emotions that exist; they can either be positive or negative. In most cases, positive emotions are exhibited in joy, excitement, happiness, and contentment. On the other hand, negative emotions are seen through hatred, distress, embarrassment, sadness, and anger.

Expressing affectionate feelings triggers different responses amongst people which may be short term or long term. Affection is one of the fundamental human needs. Affection is a vital component in development and maintenance of human relationships (Staats, 2008). This paper looks at the responses to expressed feelings of affection or affectionate emotions. Affectionate emotions can be broadly categorized as verbal, non-verbal and support affection. The expression of affection has stimulates varied responses. Study of emotional and emotional responses has a short history.

Historical Researches

In the early world emotions was always associated with being female. Male were often associated with using logic rather than emotions. Emotions were regarded as a negative force which needed to be controlled. These stereotypic thoughts and assumptions hindered scientific research until late in the nineteenth century when Charles Darwin began recording emotional expressions of humans and animals (Fisher & Ashkanasy, 2000). Darwin proved that emotions were necessary for survival rather the early thought that they interfered with life normal life. Charles Darwin classified the basic emotions as joy, surprise, interest, contempt, disgust, shame, fear, sadness, anger.

John Watson advanced the study on emotion and emotional responses in human infants in the early twentieth century using laboratory studies. Watson agreed with Darwin’s ideas that some emotional responses are innate. More to these Watson also believed that emotional responses could be conditioned. This conditioning would then shape the behavior of the children. Like earlier psychologists john Watson believed emotions should be constrained because they caused pathological problems (Diener, 1999). Watson specifically warned parents to control displaying affective emotions to their children in his child rearing guide of 1928. He proposed that parents should endeavor to engage their children in activities that suppress their emotions. Later researches by emotional psychologists such as Paul Ekman, Carroll Izard, Robert Plutchik and Silvan Tomkins emphasized the unique neurogical, physiological, expressive and feeling states of emotions. Furthermore these researches stressed on role of emotions such as affection on interpersonal processes, memory and personality.

Measurement of Affectionate Behaviors and Responses

Affection as a positive emotional expression is unique. Affection has definitive features such as high regard for one another, positive feelings and a development of a sense of liking (Zanolli, Saudargas & Twardosz, 1997). Affection is also unique in that it is an individual level variable. Verbal affection is characterized by use of endearing words. Examples of these words include words that express someone’s feelings: “I love you”, “I like you”. Other affectionate words affirm future hopes: “I hope we will live together forever”, “I hope we will meet once again”.  Better still other affectionate words assert the current status of the relationship between the individuals in question:  “you my darling” or “you are my best friend”, “I care for you”.  Words which show how somebody will feel without the other also show affection: “Life will be meaningless to me now that you are leaving.”

Non verbal expressions can also show feeling of affection.  Facial behaviors such as smiling, eye contact and winking shows affection. Affection can also be demonstrated by other non verbal means such as touch. These include holding hands, hugging and kissing. Vocalic behaviors such as baby talk also show affection (Tracy & Ainsworth, 1981). Support affection is demonstrated by behaviors that provide emotional, social, instrumental and psychological assistance. This support may be in form of providing material needs such as giving financial support to someone who has lost a job. Another form may be just giving your time to listen to somebody who is passing through tough moments such as lose of a loved one or relationship break up.

Verbal affectionate behaviors and responses are often measured through self- report methods. Using this method people are asked to rate their own or others amount of affectionate behaviors.  A good example is by asking or identifying how many times spouse tell one another “I love you”, hug or give praise. The affectionate words parents use to their children during the day to day interaction can also be determined. Furthermore the number of times teachers says “good”, “well done”, pats the children on the back or smiles can be determined (Nordquist, Twardosz & McEvoy, 1991). The responses to the affectionate behaviors can then be observed immediately or studied over a long period of time. Affection given and response behaviors can then be analyzed.   

Studies on Effect of Warmth and Affection on Children

A research conducted by center on emotional and social foundations for early learning in United States reveals various responses by children to expression of affection. The participants during this research were children with disabilities. The research was conducted not only in the university education settings but also in homes and the community in general.

In the research a teacher looks at a four year old child who has been absent for three days and tells him “we missed you while you were a way.” The response of the child was that he smiled back and was freer with the teacher. A teacher also allowed three year old children read.  A different teacher realized that one of his pupils needed a diaper change yet she feared. The teacher therefore moved closer to her gently stroked her hair and said “my lovely girl I need to change your diaper.” When the child looked at the teacher the teacher smiled at her. Furthermore, the teacher started singing for her.  In another separate incident two teachers were organizing a strenuous activity for their pupils to cope up with the rainy day (Twardosz etal, 1987). During the activity which involved jumping, hopping and running, the teachers clapped, cheered and shouted in encouraging their pupils.

Results of the research

This research proved that affection contributes immensely in children emotional and social development.  The affectionate behaviors by the various teachers in the research helped in creating secure relationships between the children and their teachers. The interaction and the affection the pupils received from their teachers also helped the children to interact positively with their peers. Withdrawn children with disabilities were also able to integrate with their peer group as the teachers continually provided the warmth and affection. Furthermore immediate responses to the teacher’s affectionate expressions were observed during the research (Shreve, Twardosz & Weddle, 1983). The teacher’s affectionate behaviors were reciprocated by kind words, smiles and hugs. Similarly the teachers felt appreciated and enjoyed their work due to this reciprocation.

Different researches also prove that affectionate behavior enhances positive behaviors responses of children in the long run. The attachment parenting international has conducted a number of researches and concludes that AP is the best. This is because this form of parenting involves expressing of affection to the children. The affection by parents enhances positive behavioral responses.  They attachment parenting proponents prove that securely attached kids tackle new challenges confidently. The confident response is because of the fact that their parents will be there for them (Shreve, Twardosz & Weddle, 1983). Attachment parenting research on communication also reveals that high quality communication between mothers and infants leads to more secure relationships. Study on maternal sensitivity during infant play shows that affectionate mothers brought up more secure children compared to their more unresponsive counter parts. The children receiving affection have also a positive response even in their physical health. The children under the care of affectionate mothers are more physically fit.

The knowledge of the importance of affection has been applied in many areas. The expression of affection leads to lowering of blood pressure, heart rate. This has been made use in hospitals. Families of those with high blood pressure, heart rate have been advised to be affectionate their patients so as to improve their conditions. Researches also show that expressing affection through writing has a very high ability to reduce stress (Carlson, 2005).  This is because such activity of writing the hormone Cortisol is accelerated to normal level. Therefore patients with high stress levels are advice by doctors to use affection writing to lower their stress levels.

Affection behaviors have therefore been proposed in various colleges learning curriculum. This is the reason why teachers colleges train their teachers to be affectionate to their students when they start teaching. The teachers are advice that to change the response of their students and to provide a good learning environment they are to be affectionate. During counseling clients are advised to embrace more affectionate behaviors to change the responses of their spouses. All the shows the importance of affection leads to overt positive response.

Psychology of Emotion

Many studies have been done on emotions. However, most of these studies have only focused on the negative emotions and their effects. Positive emotions have most of the time been neglected by the scholars (Carlson, 2005). There are therefore fewer studies on his area. One of the things that can lead to the positive emotions is the overt behavior. This is the kind of behavior that can be observed by others. When one actively does something that can be seen by the others, it is termed as an overt behavior. For instance, when somebody sings, the behavior can be seen and heard by others. In contrary, convert behavior is the behavior that can only be identified by the person executing it. For instance, when a person thinks, nobody else is able to know what is taking place. This action is a convert therefore does not directly or immediately affect others.

According to Barbara L. Fredrickson (2001) agrees to the fact that positive emotions have been neglected in most of the studies already done. According to his work, he comes with a theory that positive emotions can lead to the overt behaviors. The behaviors can be a source of human strength that is responsible for the flourishing of mankind. His theory brings up and supports what is known as positive psychology. The ability to maintain positive emotions such as joy, contentment, and happiness are important in keeping negative feelings away. According to Barbara, the well being of a person is affected by the negative emotions. In most of the occasions, this scenario leads to retrogressive lifestyle. He believes that exhibition of positive emotions is sign of success and flourishing. It is important in the development of the psychological growth over a period of time. Unlike the negative emotions which produce benefits which only deal with the immediate survival, positive emotions produce enduring thought responses that are able to be implemented later when threats arise. 

Researches have been done which have shown that overt behavior directly relate to the positive emotions. It should be noted that positive emotions can lead to behaviors that are pro-social in nature. George, Jennifer M, in a Journal of Applied Psychology (1991) does a research on the effects of positive mood on those overt behaviors. The research seeks to find out how the overt behaviors lead to the pro-social behaviors that help improve work. In this research, the effects that positive moods have on the performance at work place. This was to find out the relationship that existed between the two aspects. The method employed in the research was the analysis of the services that was mostly directed to customers in a business organization. The analysis of all the positive behaviors of the salespersons towards the customers was done. In the hypothesis, a sample of around 200 salespeople was used. The results generated proved all the hypotheses made. Positive behaviors of the salespersons clearly led to the increase of sales of the products.

Positive emotions can produce overt behaviors that when controlled well, can lead to many personal growth and resilience. The ability of a person to regulate his or her emotions is very important. Overt behaviors play a major role in the controlling of the emotions for growth. For instance, when a person has negative feelings or emotions, doing an activity may work to change the situation (Carlson, 2005). A person may decide to go for a movie or comedy to boost the feelings. Some decide to lift their spirits through taking a walk at a social park or going to party with the friends. It is evident that a person needs to actively find out an overt activity that can change the emotions. Positive emotion is thus important in keeping negative feelings at bay. In the process, the mechanisms that are incorporated are important in building resilience in a person (Tugade, Fredrickson, 2007). 

A study was done to assess the effect of the positive emotion in the length of life in people. The study targeted catholic nuns over a long period of time. It was begun when a group of these 180 Catholic nuns were averagely 22 years old. Their emotional behaviors were keenly followed until they were at the ages of between 75 and 95. Their ability to survive verses their emotional behavior was the most interest. The study found out that those nuns who had positive emotions in their early life had the ability to survive more than the rest. This is a proof of the consequences of the overt behaviors shown (Danner et al, 2001).

It should be considered that positive emotions play a major role in the development of the positive traits in people. Every sector of life including business is able to effectively use positive emotions to come up with the overt behaviors that can improve service delivery. 

Overt behavior are those behaviors we are able to observe on others while positive emotion is a facet of emotion that that  includes joy, calmness, happiness excitement and other contents.  Positive emotions will generally influence the overt behavior of many individuals and this may be observable and conclusions about the feeling of an individual are made effectively.  The emotions in this case are a significant component of how human react towards many different types of stimuli. This makes it influence any kind of behavior in an individual. The overt behaviors are likely to be observed and specifically in this subject matter when there is positive emotions. This is because the emotions have got effect on the cognitive, social and physiological processes in the human being.

The positive emotions will actually prepare and helps in energizing appropriate tendencies of action and as a result overt behavior may result in this aspect after some given time span since the responses are not released immediately.  It is better to note the contribution of Diener, a psychologist in the contribution in his Journal based on the structure of emotions that the overt behavior will vary based on the intensity of the positive emotions (Diener, 1999).  Generally, the emotional intensity is a major factor that contributes in certain behavioral exhibitions in our daily lives.

The overt behavior on positive emotions linkage has been emphasized by various theories that explain the relationships even further.  In this aspect, noting that certain prototypical events leads specific behavior and to achieve overt behavior, there must be specific king of emotion that should be expressed.  For instance the motion like love which is a positive emotion, may consequently trigger a unique sequence of events in terms of showing that particular behavior which is observable. This simply is overt behavior which has been initiated due to the stimuli in place. The emotion behavior linkage is actually depending on the type of emotion which could be positive or negative emotion. The positive emotions are majorly associated with slightly slower and variable responses than the negative emotions on the other hand. (Fisher, 2000).This is because the positive emotions had actually attracted less attraction than the negative emotions which are do attract the more attention in the field of psychology.

Positive emotions are characterized by the fact that they are less differentiated since they are not even associated with specific problems which requires solutions of an urgent nature. Hence, this justifies the claim that they are also not associated with a given action tendencies which are thought to be very necessary for the survival (Eid & Diener, 2001). However, the positive emotions can have many critical functions that are necessary for the survival. The survival in this aspect may reflect the behavioral aspects which are observable in nature.  According to Fredrick in 1998, he built and developed a broader perspective on value of these positive emotions. She attests that the positive emotions help in broadening attention creations of situations where the cognitive and social aspects can be built. For instance, he states that love triggers more other positive emotions and solidifies the individual and other social resources.

In generalizing from this perspective, positive emotions have had effect on the overt behaviors that individuals are able to observe. Love and joy will always bring smile and laugher to the persons if there are no any other external stimuli on the same. For the positive emotions, the will be some kind of positive social relations and interactions that flourish our behavior and affections in winning other people’s attentions. In close analysis of the positive emotions, psychologists conducted an experiment on the effects of these positive emotions on individual behavior towards other people. Physical beauty and positive emotions combined can help in creation of the best example of overt behavior. The personal reactions in this case when the two are integrated for instance, the way of standing or posing may be different totally. For instance physical beauty and positive emotions may influence how couples would stand and in simple terms they will stand closer to one another so long as there are positive emotions in them. The positive attitude which is also the emotional response between them will exist between the two and act as a stimulus in justifying their behavior (Cosmides & Tooby, 2000). This helps in the general positive take on how the emotions are generated.

Positive emotions mean that the individual is very happy and this emotion will actually create a healthy individual. Being healthy may be expressed in terms of playing with the rest of the society while undertaking personal assignments in our place of work. There could be laugher and joy all over in a way of expressing our positive emotions. When one is able to play, there are certain benefits that through development of muscles and general cardiovascular fitness. The muscle developments are some features that can be seen and may even have more effect in general behavior.

The contribution to the science of emotion and their social policy relevancy

Generally, it is very difficult to have certain overt behaviors when there are no direct link in the mindset and how personal perception about a particular even occurs. The emotions for instance have got its social relevancy human way of living.  The social interactions between individuals are encouraged through these positive emotions (Fisher & Ashkanasy 2000). The emotions will always serve as ubiquitous guidance for the social interactions.  For instance, tonal variations, facial expressions and our posture play a key role in determining how we generally feel towards one another. Scientifically, this helps in social interaction in the daily way of living in the society. The positive emotion in this aspect has developed the gesture or the observable features from persons in the society that strengthen the way of conduct towards one another.  This kind of argument is developed for the social functional approach which is majorly affected by the emotions of an individual.

The assumptions that are used in the development process are justified by the three theories. The first theory on the assumptions postulates that expression of any emotion will always signal the socially relevant information. The second on social perspective states that the evoked responses in other people are largely associated with certain degree of benefits and the last support assumptions states that emotions always serve as an incentive for the actions of other people. This is because most of the time emotions results into such overt behaviors that translate to such stated incentive. The best example in this case aspect is that according to Eid and Diener, psychologists, he noted that experience and the expression of any kind of embarrassment may automatically evoke forgiveness and reconciliations after any other social transgressions.

In conclusion, the overt behavior on the positive emotions as realized are directly linked and associated because one action leads to the effectiveness of the other. Without any positive emotion, the behavior may not be influenced much since there will be absence of stimuli that directs on how generally human beings perceive issues in the psychological field.

Conclusion

This paper has looked at affection as a positive emotion expression and the responses that it triggers. The paper has looked at the historical development research in emotion including affection from Charles Darwin to the present. Responses of affection as a positive observable behavior have also been highlighted using specific relevant examples. Some of the contributions of affection to the science of emotion and clinical policy have also been looked at. Benefits of expressing and receiving affection have also been looked at in this working paper.       

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