Psychology/emotions

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Question
Hi!
I have heard that we have primary and secondary emotions. It is said that we may be sad (primary) but then experience anger (secondary). I've also heard that anger can be primary and sadness can be secondary. How's that?
I also hear a lot of different terms like thoughts, emotions, affects, feelings. What role do they play in primary and secondary emotions?

Is it true that when you have certain psychological diagnoses you may have difficult expressing primary emotions like sadness. Then you become so frustrated and stressed that you may even need to express anger (secondary)?

I would be very grateful for your answer!

Answer
Primary emotions are the feelings that we have.  Secondary emotions are how we feel about our primary emotions.   It is not uncommon for people to react to their own anger with sadness.  For example, if you have a great deal of anger at someone and it has made it difficult to have a relationship with them, you may feel sad about that.  The sadness would be a secondary emotion.  

Emotion, affect and feelings are describing the same thing.  Thoughts are not emotions.

The relationship between psychological problems and emotions varies widely. I can't make a generalization about that. People develop symptoms when they try to ignore their feelings or bury them.  People with bipolar disease experience emotional mood swings that have little to do with what is happening in their environment.  People with depression experience excessive sadness.

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Katherine ONeill

Expertise

I can answer academic questions about psychology. I am not a clinician (therapist), I am a research psychologist with expertise in biopsychology, general psychology, cognitive psychology, research methods and psychopharmacology.

Experience

I have 25 years experience as a researcher in health behavior, biopsychology and psychopharmacology.

Organizations
Healthcare Businesswomen's Association

Publications
Applications of Market Research for Small Business UMBC Activate Program, March 2008 HIV/AIDS: An assessment of Need in the Continuum of Care. Optum Health Education. Optumhealtheducation.com/node/2887, 12/2008 Maximizing the online medium for market research: Best practices. Market Research for Pharmaceuticals Conference, 12/06/2006 O誰eill, K.A. APD, ADD, ADHD and AD/HD: Personal and scientific reflections. Audiology Online, 6/6/2005. O誰eill, K.A. et al, Hyperactivity induced by NMDA injections into the nucleus accumbens. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 34(4), Dec 1989, 739-745. O誰eill, K.A. and Liebman, J.M. Unique behavioral effects of the NMDA antagonist, CPP, upon injection into the medial prefrontal cortex of rats. Brain Research, 435(1-2), Dec 1987, 371-376. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centally administered H2 antagonists on motor activity. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 264, 1987, 683-686. O誰eill, K.A. and Gertner, S.B. Effects of centrally administered H2 antagonists in the behavioral despair test. 90(2), 1986, 190-192. O誰eill, K.A. Chronic desipramine attenuates morphine analgesia. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 24(1), Jan 1986, 155 158. O誰eill, K.A. and Valentino, D. Escapability and generalization: Effect on 礎ehavioral despair. European Journal of Pharmacology 78(3), March 1982, 379-80. O誰eill, K.A. et al, An automated high capacity method for measuring jumping latencies on a hot plate. Journal of Pharmacological Methods, 10(1), Aug 1983, 13-18. O誰eill, K.A., Scott, C. and Weissman, A. Naloxone enhances nociceptive responding. Society for Neuroscience, Abstract 9: 274, 1983.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, University of Rhode Island, 1983. Post doctoral fellow dept of psychiatry, New York University Medical Center, 1983-1984. Post doctoral fellow, dept of pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 1984-1985.

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