Artificially Intelligent

Any mimicry distinguishable from the original is insufficiently advanced.

100 Opinions About Emotions

| 1122 words

I was inspired by Jeffrey Ladish’s 100 Opinions on Nuclear War to write 100 opinions about emotions. This task was less interesting than I thought it would be, but introduced me to new ways of probing my opinions about things. I am also now relatively confident I can come up with 100 opinions about an arbitrary topic. In total, this took me about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

  1. Emotions are often caused by environmental factors.
  2. Emotional circuitry is very complicated and thus likely to be a human universal.
  3. Just because emotional circuitry is universal does not mean that emotional experience is universal.
  4. Culture can mediate someone’s relationship to emotions.
  5. Different people can have vastly different emotional ranges.
  6. A mistake people commonly make is assuming other people’s emotional experience is is similar to their own.
  7. Narrative is a powerful force for invoking particular emotional experiences in people.
  8. Different people identify with their emotions in vastly differing degrees.
  9. Local doses of positive or negative emotion shapes a large portion of human behavior.
  10. Different people exhibit vastly different degrees of emotional control.
  11. A given person’s internal emotional state is often less transparent then they realize.
  12. People can feel strong emotions without being consciously aware of it.
  13. People are often uncertain about what emotions they are feeling.
  14. Cognitive framing can shift the emotion you’re currently experiencing.
  15. Emotions can be generated deliberately by taking specific mental and physical actions.
  16. People are often dismissive of the emotions of children because they have difficultly properly articulating their feelings.
  17. With practice, you can widen the space between emoting and acting.
  18. Forcibly manipulating your facial expression can alter your mood.
  19. Facial expressions are likely relatively universal.
  20. There are some emotions that no longer serve productive purposes in modern life.
  21. Emotions caused by false beliefs are less “real” than emotions caused by true beliefs.
  22. Acting based primarily on emotions is often unwise.
  23. Being angry makes it easier to take costly actions.
  24. Fear makes people more cautious.
  25. The bodily sensations of fear and arousal are similar.
  26. Sadness often manifests as a generalized lack of interest.
  27. The opposite of sadness is not happiness, it is excitement.
  28. Jealousy is often unproductive.
  29. Using guilt as motivation is often unsustainable.
  30. You have not experienced vast swaths of the human emotional landscape.
  31. Aliens will not have a sense of humor.
  32. Imagined embarrassment is often stronger than reality.
  33. Learning to accurately communicate your emotional state with appropriate uncertainties is valuable.
  34. On the margin, people should talk about their feelings more.
  35. Noticing emotions is very difficult for many people.
  36. Body language is not a reliable way to infer someone’s emotional state.
  37. Framing effects can cause emotions to generate conflicting intuitions.
  38. People in emotional distress often do not know the best way to hep them.
  39. People can experience very powerful emotions without being able to identify the cause.
  40. Emotions can be roughly categorized into “positive” and “negative”.
  41. Contempt produces an asymmetrical facial expression.
  42. You are not obligated to feel anything.
  43. From the perspective of evolution, the primary purpose of guilt is it’s value in signalling.
  44. Emotions nudge humans towards policy level behaviors that create better outcomes in situations that resemble iterated prisoner’s dilemmas.
  45. Human emotional range is not large enough to properly calibrate emotional experience to reality.
  46. People have different hedonic set points.
  47. People get better at being happy as they age.
  48. Animals experience emotions.
  49. Ignoring your emotions is unwise.
  50. Anger can be a powerful motivator.
  51. Anxiety is uncalibrated for modern life, often causing harm.
  52. For evolutionary reasons, emotions do not often persist for multiple days or weeks.
  53. The brain can cause the body to feel certain sensations, which then get interpreted by the brain as emotion.
  54. Not all emotions you feel should be endorsed.
  55. It is unfortunate that people sometimes possess emotional triggers that they do not endorse.
  56. Initial feelings of unease or excitement when meeting new people are often correct.
  57. You have probably talked to a psychopath.
  58. Conditioned on their existence, future humans will likely experience emotions that are qualitatively different than us.
  59. The laws of nature do not forbid computers from having emotional experiences.
  60. There are humans with almost no internal emotional experiences.
  61. There are many things more important than being happy.
  62. It is difficult to determine how happy someone is.
  63. It is unlikely that insects have complex emotional experiences.
  64. Humans can be moved to tears by abstract topics.
  65. With careful thought, it is possible to arrive at a better understanding of your internal emotional experiences.
  66. The human fear response is often overactive because the modern world is much larger than the environment of ancestral adaptation.
  67. Deep and meaningful relationships are a stable source of happiness.
  68. Humans can adapt and feel happy in many situations.
  69. On the margin, people should experience more emotional intimacy.
  70. How tired you are can have a large impact on your emotional range.
  71. Small frustrations can wear down your emotional resilience.
  72. If the two differ, it is more important to act correctly than to act in accordance with your emotions.
  73. Drugs can provide access to previously inaccessible regions of emotion space.
  74. People often fail to attribute internal emotional experiences to other people.
  75. People often explain the actions of others with enduring dispositions rather than contingent environmental circumstances.
  76. It is very difficult to predict how people will behave when experiencing any particular emotion.
  77. Traditional masculinity discouragement of emotional expression is harmful.
  78. People have vastly different ways of grieving.
  79. Some people are very good at inferring emotional states in other people.
  80. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective treatment for depression.
  81. People can have different values in different emotional states.
  82. People often feel emotions about their emotions.
  83. If the evolutionary origin of an emotion was X, then this absolutely does not mean any particular instance of that emotion only exists because of X.
  84. The expression of emotion is more mediated by culture than the experience of emotion.
  85. It is possible to completely conceal your emotional state.
  86. Advertising often works by creating vague emotional associations between concepts.
  87. Social media generally decreases people’s emotional health.
  88. Community is a stable source of happiness.
  89. Social deduction games are superstimuli for emotions pertaining to social manipulation and betrayal.
  90. Emotions like guilt, embarrassment, and fear act primarily to constrain behavior.
  91. The vast majority of current human emotional experience is mundane compared to theoretical limits.
  92. Humans routinely feel emotions that require five or more levels of common knowledge to unpack.
  93. On the margin, people should be more willing to do potentially embarrassing things.
  94. Consuming news is emotionally unhealthy.
  95. Pain and pleasure often cause emotions, but they are not themselves emotions.
  96. Feeling sad can be enjoyable.
  97. Emotions are often contagious.
  98. People have vastly different emotional activation energy.
  99. Most emotional experiences are not likely to be unique.
  100. Anger is often based on misunderstanding.