Human behavior is one of the peculiar areas of research and study in human life. People have different behaviors that are dictated by the environment in which they live in and the exposure to situations and experiences. It has also been noted that there are various factors that affect the way decisions are made by human beings in their lives. This has prompted researchers to carry out studies to examine how these factors influence the lives of human beings in terms of rationality in making certain decisions. This essay is therefore a reaction to Antonio Damasio’s Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, in relation to psychology of emotions.
According to Damásio (1994), there is a relationship between emotions and reason in human beings (p.45). This author reiterates that there is no way of separating reason from emotion and any form of separation may lead to a total incapacitation of the person involved in regard to making rational decisions. Therefore, the state of one’s emotions is very important and determines to a large extend the kind of decisions that are made by the person. In reference to Phineas Gage’s situation to support arguments, Damásio (1994) asserts that the emotional part of the brain that was damaged in Gage’s brain affected the way he reasoned and made decisions (p.48). On the other hand, there are arguments that reason feelings and emotions have a common genesis and thus cannot be separated. On the other hand, separating the two is a recipe of irrational decision making process in a human being.
There are many arguments that have been put forward either to support the position held by Damásio in his work or to discredits his arguments as null and void and thus irrelevant in the lives of human beings. According to Oatley, Keltner & Jenkins (2006), there are several stages of evolution of emotions that takes place in a person and thus determine the personality of a person in his later life, depending on how they are regulated (p.322). For example, young children have different emotional status as compared to adults. On the other hand, these emotions vary in boys and in girls. Boys have a mentality that violence and anger boosts one’s esteem. These stages of evolution of emotions are the biggest determinants of the way people reason in the modern society. Oatley, Keltner & Jenkins (2006) asserts that there are several perspectives that can be used to look at evolution of the human emotions (p.34). First, there are the selection pressures. This is whereby threats or opportunities to human life exists thus forming a basis of survival or extinction of human life in certain kinds of environments. On the other hand, the human capacity to collaborate with each other remains to be among the greatest determinants of whether they survive or not.
The second part of emotional evolution in human beings involves the adaptation to certain environments. This encompasses the way human beings align their emotions to respond positively to certain situations within their environment. For example, human beings are emotionally attached to their offspring and will take the risk of protecting them from any harm from the external environment (Oatley, Keltner & Jenkins, 2006, p.36). Consequently, human emotions play a key role in the overall survival of human race within a particular environment. It has also been noted that there is a relationship between bodily changes and emotions. Changes in the body have been found to have an effect on people’s emotions.