• Question: why do we have emotions?

    Asked by Dennis Relojo-Howell II to Robert, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Great question! I think perhaps for two reasons…. firstly, to help us interact with each other and judge how others are feeling, and then change our behaviour accordingly. I think this would link back to the fact we’re social beings and want to feel at one and part of a group, so knowing how to behave in the group is important. Secondly, emotions help us personally. Emotions are like an inner compass and tell us whether we like or dislike something so we can do it again or avoid it next time.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Emotions help us survive by:
      1) letting us know when we are in danger (e.g. we feel scared or angry or disgusted or sad)
      2) helping us interact with one another, which keeps us safe and happy

    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      It’s thought we developed the ability to ‘feel’ things because back when we were cavemen it helped us survived. People that were scared of a tiger about to attack them were more likely to run away and survive than those who were not! Nowadays, although emotions are still useful in social situations, we don’t normally need them in life and death situations but we still experience anxiety, sometimes more than we actually need to which can cause mental health problems. You could say that although we have moved and adapted with the times, our emotions haven’t.

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Because we need to interact with other people. Without emotions, interaction will be impossible. Emotion is one of the reasons why robots cannot replace us. It’s our unique selling point. 🙂

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Interesting question… I think emotions have an evolutionary basis and are likely important for our survival in terms of signalling our emotional state to others in our social group (especially danger and fear when we encounter a threat in our environment). I think there’s a strong social element to emotions and that they help us to build and foster relationships with others, especially those who we may not be biologically related to.

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 13 Jun 2019:

      There are load of evolutionary explanations for this; that it makes us human, for communication, for survival. Finding evidence for this is very very difficult and mainly comes from studying primate behaviour. Beyond this, we can only guess.