Emotions…Just a Chemical Reaction?

Project Overview

Emotions by their very nature are controversial. What causes them? Why do we have them? What purpose do they serve? From philosophers to scientists, no one seems to agree on any of these questions. One thing they do agree on, however, is the fact that emotions are linked definitively to a release of chemicals within the body.

Early pioneers in the field of emotive inquiry include, among others, Dr. William James of Harvard. Around the turn of the century, he theorized that there was nothing within the mind called emotion that precipitated bodily responses, but that rather it seemed the other way around. In other words, the chemicals (bodily response) caused the emotion to manifest. He espoused the idea that those who were overly emotional were only suffering from an over abundance of the chemical buildup in the body.