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5.1: Introduction

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    Happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, disgust and fear. All these words describe some kind of abstract inner states in humans, in some cases difficult to control. We usually call them feelings or emotions. But what is the reason that we are able to "feel"? Where do emotions come from and how are they caused? And are emotions and feelings the same thing? Or are we supposed to differentiate?

    These are all questions that cognitive psychology deals with in emotion research. Emotion research in the cognitive science is not much older than twenty years. The reason for this lies perhaps in the fact that much of the cognitive psychology tradition was based on computer-inspired information-processing models of cognition.

    This chapter gives an overview about the topic for a better understanding of motivation and emotions. It provides information about theories concerning the cause of motivation and emotions in the human brain, their processes, their role in the human body and the connection between the two topics. We will try to show the actual state of research, some examples of psychologist experiments, and different points of view in the issue of emotions. In the end we will briefly outline some disorders to emphasize the importance of emotions for the social interaction.

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