As discussed earlier emotional changes can
We will explain them one by one.
Physiological Changes in
These change include neural, hormonal
(glandular), Visceral and muscular. The
systems involved in change are following
Autonomic Nervous System
Glandular System especially adrenal gland
Most of the physiological change
that take place during emotional
arousal result from activation of
the sympathetic division of the
autonomic system, as it prepares
the body for emergency action.
In normal life, when we experience an
intense emotion, such as fear or anger, we
become aware of many bodily changes
rapid heartbeat and breathing,
dryness of the throat and mouth
, increased muscle tension, respiration,
trembling of the extremities and a sinking
feeling in the stomach.
The autonomic nervous
system is responsible for
most of the physiological
changes that accompany
ANS is the part of the peripheral nervous system that
carries information between the brain and all organs of
The ANS affects all of the organs such as the heart and
blood vessels, the digestive system and so on.
The autonomic nervous system coordinates their
functioning to meet the needs of the whole organism and
prepares the body for changes by modulating the activity
of the organs.
Autonomic Nervous System has two
Sympathetic Nervous System
Parasympathetic Nervous System
The sympathetic system is responsible for the following
1. Blood pressure and heart rate increase.
2. Respiration becomes more rapid.
3. The pupils dilate.
4. Perspiration increases while secretion of saliva and
5. Blood sugar level increases to provide more energy.
6. In case of wound the blood clots more quickly.
7. Blood is diverted from the stomach and intestines to
the brain and skeletal muscles.
Parasympathetic system which is
actually energy conserving
system, takes over and returns the
organism to its normal state.
Either branch of the autonomic
nervous system can be activated
during an emotion.
For example during anger,
sympathetic nervous system
increases the heart rate and the
system causes tears to flow in
In both the Parasympathetic and sympathetic systems,
there is relay station called a ganglion between the central
nervous system and target organs.
In a parasympathetic system, the neurotransmitter at the
target organ is acetylcholine, but in sympathetic system
the neurotransmitter at the target organ is almost always
noradrenalin. Very often Erie same organ innervated by
fibers of both systems, each of which may produce
opposite effects. For example, the noradrenalin speeds up
the heart, where as acetylcholine slows it down.
Polygraph Autonomic arousal is an inevitable
part of an emotion, that's why polygraph has been
introduced as a lie detector. Polygraph
simultaneously measures several physiological
responses known to be the part of autonomic
arousal. The measure most frequently are changes
in heart-rate, blood pressure, respiration and the
galvanic skin response (GSR), which is a rapid
change in the electrical conductivity to the skin
that occurs with emotional arousal.
Role of Adrenal Gland in Emotion
It is also part of sympathetic nervous system
There are adrenal glands, one on each side of the body
just above the kidney, Each adrenal gland has two parts;
adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla, both of which
participate in emotional responses.
The outer adrenal cortex is part of endocrine system and
the inner adrenal medulla is part of the sympathetic
nervous system. The adrenal medulla acts as a ganglion of
the sympathetic target organs. It activates all target of the
The influence of hormones on emotion on
emotion has been shown in several kinds of
studies. Hormone levels in the blood and urine
rise during emotional sates, where as change in
emotional responding occurs when hormones are
administered and in diseases, affecting the
endocrine glands. Steroid hormones, as
epinephrine and nor-epinephrine, act on many
different kind of body tissues, including nerve
Parts of the limbic system are involved in display
of emotional reactions. It consists of amygdala,
hippocampus and septum.
Amygdala is involved in emotional awareness
and expressions through its many connections
with higher and lower regions of the brain.
Amygdala also produces reaction of rage and
aggression when stimulated.
Septum (another part of Limbic system)
has the opposite effect. It reduces the
intensity of emotional reactions when
stimulated. The impact of amygdala and
septum on emotional reactions is quite
immediate and direct in non-humans. In
humans it is more subtle, reflecting the
influence of other brain centers.
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