The emotion system

Wundt offered his studied beliefs regarding the emotions in contrast to other theorists of the day, all of whom worked in the traditions of either romanticism or rationalism. Wundt sided more with the principles of romanticism, meaning that human beings fall into the category of emotional beings rather than intellectual.

Explanation Contemporaries such as William James, who were transforming such romantic tradition into a modern-day behaviorism, took exception to Wundt's approach. But Wundt noted,

First, the definite outer symptoms of emotions do not appear until such time as the psychical nature of the emotion is already clearly established. The emotions, accordingly, precedes the innervation [a stimulation that results in movement] effects which are looked upon by these investigators as causes of emotion. Second, it is absolutely impossible to classify the rich variety of psychical emotional states in the comparatively simple scheme of innervation changes. The psychical processes are much more varied than are their accompanying forms of expression. Third, and finally, the physical concomitants stand in no constant relation to the psychical quality of the emotions. This holds especially for the effects on pulse and respiration, but is true also for the pantomimetic expressive movements. It may sometimes happen that emotions with very different, even opposite kinds of affective contents may belong to the same class so far as the accompanying physical phenomena are concerned.

When Wundt referred to "feelings," "moods," and "emotions," he was not specifying categories, only intensity levels. He would later present his ideas about sensory qualities, explaining affective and aesthetic qualities of experience.

Example Wundt held to the idea that all mental states were transported through constant fluctuations of emotions, mood, or feeling. Sometimes these would become intense enough to precipitate action. Inherent in every mood, according to Wundt, was its opposite. Other psychologists moved out of the context of Wundt's ideas to provided their own generation of his tri-dimensional feelings. The three dimensions were ideas to which others basically adhered. The aspects of "pleasure versus displeasure," "high versus low arousal," and "concentrated versus relaxed attention" were explained further by the notions of the opposites of control, potency, and domination as opposed to submission. An example he used when discussing sensory qualities were a person's reactions to music and rhythms.

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