Is happiness an emotion?

The meaning of joy:

Joy is very important to our life. For a better understanding of joy, I will explain different points of view. The meaning of joy in evolutionary, biological, psychological and social areas should make it clear how many aspects of thinking and acting are influenced by it.

* Evolutionary meaning of joy:

Humans are social beings. The smile of joy on a human face is the most powerful stimulus there is. It offers personal and interpersonal fulfillment at the same time. This smile also makes other people smile. This is easy to see in babies or toddlers. If you smile at a child, it replies with a laugh. If you want to avoid this reaction (laughing in response to a laughing face), learned inhibition mechanisms are necessary in order to avoid this "preprogrammed" reaction.

There is no doubt that a baby's smile at its mother increases the strength of the mother-child relationship and also makes the mother incredibly happy.

*Biological meaning of joy:

Joy has several biologically significant effects on people and their function. First, joy facilitates and enhances social responsiveness and makes it easier to live in social groups. Second, joy is a great relief from negative stimuli or negative emotions. Drttens, joy can ease bonds, commitments, or affections towards objects, especially if they have helped with negative emotions.

So joy has an important function in combating negative, stressful stimuli.

*Psychological and social meaning of joy:

Many philosophers and psychologists have grappled with and dealt with this topic over time. The result were numerous publications and theories that differed in the interpretation of their psychological and social significance.

Explained joy as a magical attempt to fully possess the desired object. takes the view that joy is usually associated with triumph and that both terms overlap. The emotion of joy is usually linked to the sensation of triumph, so that power, vitality and self-confidence appear. distinguishes two types of joy: Den the first type he calls magical joy. This represents an experience that is based on instinct and desire satisfaction. During this short-lived experience, the individual feels a momentary satisfaction that changes in one fell swoop. "Everything seems or promises to be perfect". A magical transformation seems to have changed the worldview. There seems to be something unreal in this momentary experience, as a single event changes the whole attitude. According to Schachtel, this person does not see magical joy as a product of their own effort, but rather as a gift of luck or fate. You believe you have been chosen and you feel preferred over others.

However, magical joy does not necessarily bring people closer to one another, because this preference is usually a trigger of envy. This envy of people can cause isolation. This fear of envy is often expressed in superstitious behavior. (knock on Holzz so that luck doesn't turn into bad luck)

The second kind of joy who have favourited box differs is the real joy.

Real joy can be associated with an activity in which the individual is in contact with the environment. It can occur when a child is playing with a toy, etc.

Real joy differs from the first point in that it is not based on magical or passive anticipation, but on activity and the reality of the moment. This joy tends to make social contacts and interactions easier.


postulated that joy creates interactions between people, even if no drives or drive gratifications are in the foreground. So people can experience joy together without eating or drinking together. This is illustrated in a study by - It shows that infants placed in a children's home were open-minded and affectionate to the doctor who took the time to involve the infant in face-to-face activities and other forms of play, but not to the caregiver who merely performed the duties necessary to satisfy all of the infant's instincts or biological needs. -


The development of joy in the child:

Joy is not a direct result of human effort, nor is it a dimension that can be learned. It is not possible for parents to teach their child to be happy or to raise them to be happy. They can only give the child a momentary feeling of happiness through play or other activities, but this joy is very short-lived and depends on the generosity of others. In the long term, everyone must find joy as part of their own lifestyle.

Biogenetic factors


Just as intelligence or agility differs from person to person, the ability to enjoy is also genetically variable. Some people are born with a high threshold for joy, and the consequences are mostly visible. They are happier, their general well-being is very good, they have a high level of self-confidence .... This positive attitude towards life is perceived by other people and social contact, dealing with one another, is significantly better.

Studies on the expression of emotions in infants (Parisi and Izard, 1977) and young children (Izard, Izard and Makarenko, 1977) provide support for the hypothesis of the biological determination of joy. It was found that laughter varied significantly among Soviet toddlers who had lived in homes since birth, despite a common living and care system in which the children equally shared the attention and affection of the same caregivers.

The development of smiles and laughter:

It is now common knowledge that the smile response is innate and universal.

(Darwin, 1877; Goodenough, 1932; Thompson, 1941; Tomkins, 1962; Wolff, 1963; Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1972) has studied the smile of newborn babies in depth. He observed her for four hours a day, five days a week, and for ten hours on the sixth day, and reported facial movements morphologically similar to smiling after two to twelve stances after birth. This has occurred during irregular sleep or drowsiness. He found that there is a recognizable smile in infants in the first few weeks of life, triggered by noise and high-pitched human voices. By the fifth week, the voice alone is no longer effective in inducing a smile, as a number of visual stimuli, including changes in the human face, induce smiling responses. In the second and third months, the baby smiles spontaneously without seeing or hearing anyone. On the basis of his study, Wolff was able to determine that the most effective individual stimulus for triggering a smile is the normal human face.

Reported at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow Kistiakovskaia (1965), of action behavior patterns. These occur in infants towards the end of the first or the beginning of the second month of life. In addition to smiling, the animation behavior pattern includes quick and general animated movements with repeated stretching and bending of hands and feet, rapid breathing, vocal responses, and blinking eyes. Some of Kistiakovskaia's findings have important ramifications for parents or caregivers: a) An adult can only become a source of positive emotions for an infant if he or she experiences auditory and visual sensations for a long enough time to give the infant ample opportunity to practice these behaviors. b) The satisfaction of an infant's organic needs can best be understood as a method of eliminating the causes of negative emotions and thereby creating the conditions for positive emotional experiences; c) positive emotions tend to promote the duration of visual concentration and increase its stability.


A classic investigation with infants is that of This shows that between the second and fifth months of life the social smile is more or less indiscriminately triggered by every human face. At around four to five months old, the baby begins to distinguish the mother from others, and after this age the baby is rather unlikely to smile at a stranger. The child recognizes the familiar faces exactly. After extensive research, they came to the conclusion that emotion plays a groundbreaking role in child development. Emotion and expression of emotions are motivating. Smiling creates smiles and promotes affection, interpersonal bonds, and the exchange of warmth and tenderness.


studied the smile in newborns in connection with organic states characterized by crying, agitation, vigorous activity, and various degrees of drowsiness and sleep. Thirty infants were observed during the days following delivery. During the 45 different observation periods, 194 smile reactions could be observed, of which all but 4 occurred in the sleep stage, namely in REM sleep. This REM sleep (rapid eye movements) is characterized by rapid eye movements, as the name suggests.

At other stages there was almost no smile, so the authors came to the conclusion that during the first few days of life, laughter visibly only occurs in REM sleep and REM sleepiness.

Interestingly, the babies of the sixteen mothers who had been sedated within eight hours of birth smiled significantly less than babies born to mothers who were not given medication.

The authors claim that the newborn's smile does not mean the same thing as the social smile. The latter is triggered by other people, whereas the newborn's smile is spontaneous and linked to an internal state.

They cited an earlier study (Hernandes-Peon, 1966) which had shown that REM sleep is associated with the release of limbic system activity that can trigger recent memories and the affective state of dreaming in adults. They concluded that babies' smiles are linked to activities of the limbic system, a region of the brain that is generally believed to be involved in human emotions. in short, the smile seems to be an innate expression that signals and ensures a strong bond with the mother. The fact that babies from three to five months old smile indiscriminately at every face may be due to the fact that newborns need loving behavior.

conducted the first empirical studies of smiling young children, using various stimulus situations, both auditory and tactile stimuli, to force a laugh. Funny threatening gestures with her head, rhythmic clapping of hands are her limited selection of stimuli. She found no developmental change in the amount of laughter at the various stimuli and no relationship between the frequency of laughter and the stages of development. have done much more extensive research on the ontogeny of laughter. They relied on the work of Washburn, Bergson (1949), Darwin (1872), Koestler (1964) and Hebb. They carried out their investigations with large samples of infants. In their first research, they tested 70 healthy white babies, of which 29 were boys and 41 were girls, aged 4 to 12 months. They used 24 tests and grouped them into 4 categories:

1) auditory e.g. to the infant with a high-pitched, squeaky voice; 2) tactile e.g. Kissing on the stomach 3) socially - e.g. "look-peep game" and 4) socially - e.g. Mother's crawling on the floor.

In all of the above cases, the mother performed these tests. The researchers hypothesized that the items with the greatest cognitive demands, namely visual and social stimuli, tend to trigger laughter later in development. Less demanding items, such as tactile and auditory stimuli, would therefore trigger an earlier laugh. Whether the baby laughed or not laughed during the various experiments was judged by the mother and by independent observers. With these previously mentioned test items, unlike Washburn, the researchers were able to determine a considerable increase in the frequency of laughing with age. The infants aged 10 to 12 months laughed significantly more in response to the visual and social items. In the 4 to 6 month old babies, nine of the eleven items that induced laughter included auditory or tactile stimulation. The most powerful social item - I'll get you - contained both auditory and tactile stimuli. Sroufe and Wunsch tried the laughing reaction to the "mock attack"

- I can explain you to Ambrose's ambivalence hypothesis (1963).

In this case, babies seem to vacillate between expressing grief and fear on the one hand and laughter on the other. The ambivalence hypothesis did not apply to all of Sroufe and Wunsch's observations. So they noticed that with their item (mother with mask) there was no doubt on the part of the baby. The toddlers tried to grab their mother's mask and smiled or laughed as they tried. Through their extensive studies of the development of laughter, they provided support for the differential emotion theory hypothesis. This states that emotions are motivating and play a role in controlling behavior. The researchers have repeatedly found that babies who cry turn away from the stimulus, while when they laugh, the baby remains focused on the trigger. The child tries to reach for the object and reproduce this positive situation.

The excitement-security-model of laughter seems to be consistent with the Spencer and Tomkins point of view in general. Simply put, this model explains laughter through excitement arising from a suddenly unexpected situation or an intense stimulus. If this excitatory stimulus is judged not to be dangerous (trivial, inconsequential), smiles and laughter are likely to follow.

Rothbart pointed out that early laughter games can promote two types of laughter:

a) the development of general expectations; and b) the social experience of learning, namely that one's own actions influence the activities of other people. She pointed out that the sequence of behaviors within the mother-child relationship relating to grief and laughter begins with the child. When the baby cries, the mother tries to comfort the child. If the baby smiles, the mother probably provided the initial stimulus for this arousal.


Understanding of humor


Humor always includes the positive affect of joy, but when humor is at the expense of other people, it can be connected with anger and a subsequent sense of guilt. Understanding of humor is a function of both affects and cognitions, and in differential emotion theory it is viewed as a special kind of affect-cognitive interaction.

Laughing games in childhood lay the foundation for an understanding of humor. Humor in general is evolving. The more people who can laugh and develop a sense of fun in their early childhood, the more fun and sensitive they become to adult hummor. An excellent series of studies on the psychology of humor is that of Levine and his collaborators.

worked mainly with adults, with healthy people and with psychiatric patients. He described three theoretical models for the study of humor: a) the perceptual-cognitive theory, which emphasizes the successful and surprising triggering of incongruity, b) the drive or tension reduction theory, and c) the psychoanalytic theory, which relieves or satisfies unconscious sexual or stressed aggressive tendencies associated with cognitive activity, which may include resolution of incongruity. He showed how psychopathological conditions and certain affective states can hinder or increase the relationship between humor.


Interaction of joy with other affects, cognition and action:

Joy, like any emotion, can reinforce, dampen, obscure or suppress another. There are different interactions of joy with other emotions.


* Joy and Interest:

The interaction or combination of interest and joy supports the development of play and social activity and is likely the cause of love and tenderness in a relationship. That is, joy and interest form the basis of a romantic relationship.

* Joy and Shame:

If a person is fond of expression, shows no interest or no joy in the presence of another person, that person can become a stimulus for shame. The prototype for this negative interaction is not returning to a smiling face.

* Joy and guilt:

Feelings of guilt always arise when we experience joy or fun at the expense of other people. if we enjoy forbidden things or violate our own moral or ethical norms, we feel guilty. This can occur in real real life as well as in fantasy.

* Joy and contempt:

When joy and appreciation come together, the result can be cruelty. If this combination of emotions occurs with a certain regularity, then a sadistic character can arise.

The prototype of joy - disdain - reaction occurs when an opponent has been defeated and the triumph is literally written on your face. One sees the feud about one's own victory as conviction. This person believes he is a better person and

therefore to have won.


The interaction of joy with perception:

Joy has an incredible effect on people. All information, reactions and perceptions that we receive in a state of joy appear pleasant and positive. We perceive life and the environment through "rose-colored glasses". Roses appear much redder, violets are bluer, the sun seems to be brighter ........

Feude changes our systems of perception, it makes people appear more fantastic, more patient and more generous.


Joy and Lifestyles:

Joy and the development of "emotional needs":

An emotional outcome is a kind of reliance on a person, object, or situation in obscuring a positive emotion or avoiding a negative emotion. In early childhood, everyone has an emotional need for the mother (or a mother-substitute). Infants and young children are very dependent on their mother for arousal and joy. It is the mother who is responsible for confronting the children with new objects and novel situations, and the mother is the greatest and most continuous source of comfort and joy. Likewise, children are dependent on their mother to avoid negative emotions. The presence of the mother alone often prevents grief and fear. The more the mother keeps these negative feelings away from her child, the greater the child's emotional need for her.

Mismatched interaction of joy, cognition, and action:

The possible mismatched effects of certain joy-cognition interactions can be illustrated by the emergence of various forms of addiction.

Tomkins (1962):

An addiction is similar to an emotional need through which an individual gains positive emotions and prevents negatives. An addiction represents an extreme and virtually immutable bond. Habitual smoking of marijuana is a good example of an addiction, especially when smoking marijuana is the main source of arousal or pleasure, and when the lack of marijuana induces negative emotions.

According to Tomkins, addiction to an object occurs when it elicits two types of emotional response.

1) the object evokes intense fear through its presence in our imagination,

2) the absence of the object creates intense negative emotions.

If this complex of emotion-cognition-reaction characterizes our relationship to an object, the relationship can be described as a psychological addiction.

In no way are all addictions entirely negative. We can also become addicted through learning. Many people, especially in our civilization, become addicted to achievement and success

The only question is whether this addiction to success is always positive?


Empirical studies on joy in adults:

The emotion joy has so far been the subject of only a few empirical studies. Even among these few, there is no unanimous definition of the concept of joy.

Izard (1972) carried out studies on joyful situations. Three types of situations in which loved ones played a role led to joy: a) making someone you love happy; b) someone who loves you goes out of their way to please you, and

c) the mere sharing of experiences with someone you love.

An empirical analysis of the phenomenology of joy:

On the subject of joy, Meadows (1975) developed a joy questionnaire with 61 items, all of which represented 6 aspects of the phenomenology of joy. He postulated that joy can be adequately described by the dimensions activity-passivity, individuation-sociability and arousal-serenity. He saw activity as a dimension of joy that is felt when one plays an active role. Especially in events that lead to joy, on the contrary to passivity. Individuation was defined as a sense of the "centeredness" of the self. That is, the self is seen as separate from the surrounding world. Sociability is that part of joy that gives you a sense of oneness with other people. The arousal aspect of joy was identified as a feeling of vitality. Serenity signals relaxed peacefulness, a lack of muscle tension and a tendency to simply enjoy the world.


An empirical study of happiness and personality:

Happiness is not necessarily synonymous with joy, but these terms are obviously related. It stands to reason that a happy person is likely to experience more joy than an unhappy person.

Conducted a relatively large cross-sectional study of four college classes to examine the relationship between happiness levels, personal development, and attitudes toward goal achievement in college. She could tell that students had started their college days with a low degree of happiness. however, the degree of happiness increased significantly among students on average from the first to the last academic year, while it decreased among female students. this decrease was not significant. For all participants, the level of happiness correlated positively with basic trust, initiative and identity and negatively with basic distrust, guilt, and isolation. An important question that Constantinople asked itself was why there was a decrease in happiness among women and an increase among men, and it offered one possible answer by pointing out the possible goals in life young women might have to have. Marriage and motherhood seem to become more and more important, especially as the last academic year comes to an end, the pressure on the female students increased. These goals for women seem to be just as important a part of their identity as professional competence is for men. Constantinople's investigations were conducted in the late 1960s. It would be really very interesting what results such a study would give today.


Freud's psychophysiological studies:

Some psychological studies focus their interest on different emotions, including joy. One of the problems with doing such research is that the trigger of the emotion takes place in the laboratory. Two methods of inducing emotions, in this case pleasure: a) self-inducement through the introduction b) and the use of films that are specifically suited to the particular emotion desired. In this study, however, the only evidence for the presence of Emotion the introspection of the participants.

asked their subjects to imagine a happy situation. They measured the heart rate, the changes in the muscle potential in the expressive facial muscles (EMG) as well as the introspection. The changes in the muscles of the face occurred in every muscle that was predicted to be involved in expressions of joy. compared the EMG profiles of subjects who had been instructed to develop happy, sad, and angry ideas themselves so that they would experience the respective emotion. They recorded EMG activity. They selected specific muscles and were able to use them to show that the change in muscle potential varied significantly from one emotion to another. In short, one can say that emotions have an effect on the EMG, i.e. on the muscles.


The phenomenology of joy:

* Joy increases a person's ability to enjoy and appreciate the world. In other words, people who feel joy see their fellow human beings and nature or the environment differently. He is much more likely to discover the beauty and uniqueness of the world. These people see an object as it is, they do not want to change it or reject it.

* Joy gives you the feeling that there is a special bond between you and the world. Joy is more than a positive attitude towards yourself and the world.

* Joy is often accompanied by a feeling of strength and vitality; it is not uncommon for this person to feel superior and free at the same time. In this state you often feel light as a feather, or you have the feeling of being able to fly.

* Joy is often associated with feelings of harmony and harmony with an object.





In its purest and most significant form, joy is perhaps that which reigns after some creative or socially beneficial act that is not done with the express aim of obtaining joy or doing good.