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Feelings vs Emotions

Can you tell the difference between your feelings and your emotions?

These two terms are often used interchangeably. But while one – feeling – simply describes the perception of an event with your senses, the other – emotion – encompasses cognitive and motivational processes, too, that finally lead to a specific behaviour, e.g. smiling.

Feeling is a neurophysiological process. According to several similar theories, there are a few, basic feelings that occur worldwide, are independent from culture, and universally expressed and understood. E.g. Paul Ekman defines the following seven basic feelings: Joy, surprise, contempt, disgust, fear, sadness, and anger.

Emotions are the conscious experience of these bodily sensations. That means they are based on both, on feelings as well as on a person's previous experiences in life and beliefs about themself or the future. Thus, emotions are more complex than feelings.


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