Emotions in Interpersonal Communications

Emotions in Interpersonal Communications


Emotionsin Interpersonal Communications

HowEmotions are used in regards to interpersonal communication

Emotionsplay a significant role in daily decision making process ofindividuals. Individuals react to specific circumstances and makedecisions based on whether they are happy, sad, frustrated, bored orangry. An emotion is defined as a complex psychological conditionthat provides subjective experiences, behavioral response, andphysiological response ((Hockenbury &amp Hockenbury, 2007).Emotional experiences are subjective because every individualexperience different circumstances and such experiences differ someare mild while others result in outright rage.

Physiologicalresponses may also occur through the regulation of the sympatheticnervous system. Such physiological responses include increasedheartbeat, lurching stomachs caused by fear, and sweating palms(Hockenbury &amp Hockenbury, 2007). Behavioral responses are theelements that show specific emotions through actions, e.g. smilingand frowning.

RobertPlutchik developed a model known as the wheel of emotions whichsuggested that emotions can be mixed in the same manner that primarycolors can be mixed to form other secondary color. For instance,anticipation and happiness can be mixed together to form excitement.Emotions are created based on the three components: subjectiveexperiences, behavioral response, and physiological response.James-Lange theory suggests that an emotion is felt by an individualdue to physical body changes and the understanding of the bodychanges by the individual due to an emotional event. Physical bodychanges occur first and the mind interprets those changes. As aresult, an emotion is created.

Howare emotions used to navigate and regulate interpersonalcommunication?

Emotionsplay a significant role in enhancing interpersonal communication.Analysis of how this happens can start with an example of Japaneseculture whereby the behavioral responses to emotions such as frowningand anger are suppressed when one is speaking with a person of higherauthority (Hockenbury &amp Hockenbury, 2007). From this example, itis clear that emotions affect interpersonal communications indifferent environments.

Emotionalintelligence is important in enhancing effective interpersonalcommunications in corporations and business organizations, leading toimproved performance (Hockenbury &amp Hockenbury, 2007). Emotionalintelligence refers to the ability to use emotions to guideinterpersonal communication in a social environment. Emotions areused by organizations to promote effective negotiations that createwin-win outcomes in their businesses (Hockenbury &amp Hockenbury,2007). Leaders are always considered as key communicators in theorganization that pass the mission and vision of the organization tostaff members who perform specific tasks in the workplace.

Emotionsdetermine the traits and behaviors of leaders. Individual abilitiesof leaders and followers can also be established through theiremotional expressions. Furthermore, emotional experiences offollowers affect their interpersonal communications at the workplace(Hockenbury &amp Hockenbury, 2007). For instance, when theyexperience emotions of fear due t o harsh treatment from thesupervisors, then they are likely to communicate poorly with thesupervisors and other line managers. The emotional behavior ofleaders also influences the perception of followers on theirleadership effectiveness (Hockenbury &amp Hockenbury, 2007).Therefore, emotions determine the interpersonal communicationrelationship between the leader and his or her followers.

Emotionsalso influence decision making during conflicts. When two partieshave conflicting interests, they often use interpersonalcommunications to resolve their problems (Ehrenreich et al, 2007). Inthis regard, emotions such as happiness can be displayed throughsmiling in order to create a good conflict resolution environment andreduce the tempo of interpersonal communication during conflictresolution and negotiations.

Howdo we assess the emotions of clients and how might this bebeneficial?

Itis also important to assess the emotions of customers to provideeffective customer service. Assessing clients’ emotions can beassessed consciously or through monitoring of emotional reactions.Service providers may also feel themselves into the emotions of theclients to understand them and respond appropriately to their needsand interests (Hsee et al, 1992). The first step in assessingemotions of clients is to identify the emotions to be assessed. Theperson assessing the clients’ emotions should consider whether toassess the structural content or the functional role of emotions. Inthis regard, the functions and structures of emotions are importantfor the assessment of clients’ emotions.

Emotionsof clients can be assessed by measuring the changes in emotionalbehaviors of clients over time. The methods of assessing emotions ofclients need to be chosen carefully, considering the aims and purposeof the assessment (Ehrenreich et al, 2007). For specific clients, itis important to use self-report measures focusing on traits ofclients to determine their emotional behavior or emotional experience(Ehrenreich et al, 2007). In this case, emotional changes are notedand recorded over time to establish their influences and effects onthe clients’ actions. Physiological methods may also be used todetermine dynamic changes in emotional changes of clients.

Theassessment of client emotions is important because it enables serviceproviders to gain emotional intelligence that will guide them ininterpersonal communications with clients (Ehrenreich et al, 2007).It enables organizations to develop effective strategies tocommunicate effectively and satisfy clients so that they can maintaingood relationships with their clients.

Describethe importance of context when assessing emotions

Contextwhen assessing emotion can be cultural, social, internal, situationalor developmental. These contexts are important considerations duringthe assessment of emotions because they determine the experience andfunction of emotions depend on the context within which they occur(Hsee et al, 1992). For example, internal context of clientsdetermine the role of emotions in the individual life of the client.Therefore, understanding the internal influence of emotions is neededto initiate change with the client.

Developmentalcontext is also important because it enhances understanding of theability of clients to develop self-awareness, express, and reflect ontheir emotions. Social context is important for the assessment of theemotions of young clients because modeling of emotions and acceptanceof emotional displays among young people in their social environmentaffect their emotional functioning. Lastly, situational contextaffects assessment of client emotions by determining the adaptationof emotional functioning of clients to different situations.

Explainwhether or not emotional expressions are universal

Emotionalexpressions are universal, but they are influenced by cultures todevelop emotional intelligence that reflects the values of eachculture. There are six universally recognized types of emotions:disgust, sadness, happiness, surprise, fear, and anger. Each of thesetypes of emotions has a specific purpose (Waller et al, 2008). Theseuniversal emotions are essential in navigating communicationthroughout the world. Although people have different musculararrangements, facial expressions are universal across cultures. Theuniversality of emotions expressed through the face is caused by theuniversal occurrence of facial muscles responsible for facialexpressions. These muscles exhibit minimal asymmetry and accommodateindividual variation in terms of physical body development (Waller etal, 2008). All individuals also have similar complex communicationsystems which enable them to convey their intentions, thoughts andfeelings in a universal emotional manner.

Emotionsare basic functions shared universally among all human beings. Forexample, throughout the world a normal human being feels sad when heor she loses a relative, and all normal human beings are happy whentheir relatives recover from an illness (Waller et al, 2008).Therefore, emotions such as anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, fearand surprise are shared universally among various cultures of theworld.


Ehrenreich,J.T., Fairholme, C.P., Buzzella, B.A., Ellard, K.K., and Barlow, D.H.(2007). The Role of Emotion in Psychological Therapy. ClinicalPsychology,14(4), 422-428.

Hockenbury,D. H. &amp Hockenbury, S. E. (2007). Discoveringpsychology.New York: Worth Publishers.

Hsee,C.K., Hatfield, E. and Chemtob, C. (1992). Assessments of theEmotional States of Others: Conscious Judgments versus EmotionalContagion. Journalof Social and Clinical Psychology,11(2), 119-128.

Waller,B.M., Cray, J. and Burrows, A.M. (2008). Selection for universalfacial emotion. Emotion,8(3), 435-439.