Brain processing speed in relation to emotion

I recently published my thought-provoking, award-winning acidlogic article entitled “What Is Emotion?” which analyzes the feeling process and will no doubt propel mankind towards a greater understanding of this complex topic. Much of my analysis — built off the work of neuroscientists and psychologists like Antonia Damasio and William James — is that the core of the emotional experience is a change of sensation in our viscera. Fear, for example, mostly equates to a tight chest, a disturbed stomach, a certain electrical quality within our muscles.

I’ve been reading another one of Damasio’s books, this one called, “The Feeling of What Happens.” He adds an interesting layer to the emotional experience, arguing (rather obviously) that the processing speed of our brain changes based on our motion. In essence, we become more or less alert depending on our emotional state. Thus we can remember moments from heightened emotional states with crystal clarity, whereas when we are in dulled emotional states, like depression, everything takes on a somewhat slow-moving blurry quality. (Which, of course, is how such emotional states are often presented in film.)

There’s a section in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Blink,” where he recounts the experiences of several police officers who had to shoot a suspect. For them, time slowed down to a crawl, and they became incredibly aware of what they were experiencing both visually and aurally. The emotional tension of the moment was frozen in time.

One thing I’ve been thinking about lately: it’s interesting how many of our memories lack movement. Rather than experiencing miniature film clips of our memories, we experience them as still photos. I was just thinking about a recent ride on a roller coaster, for example, and when I summoned the memory from my brain, it condensed down to a single moment. I wonder why we can’t recall memories in motion?

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