Cognitions or Thoughts and Feelings?

I have previously considered emotions to be synonymous with feelings which are separate but influential to thoughts that motivate behavior. This way of thinking contradicts accepted definitions of emotions.

Emotions, according to psychology, are complex feeling states with three basic components. These components are:

  • bodily arousal
  • cognitions,
  • expressed behaviors.

According to psychology, cognitions are described as “subjective, or conscious, experience of the feeling, as well as the thoughts or judgments we have about people or situations that evoke the feeling(Nevid, 2015, p.301)*. As I understand this definition, cognitions occur when an individual internalizes environmental stimuli. This subjective interpretation of the external stimuli makes each individual unique, and it is the individual’s awareness of uniqueness that forms the self-identity.

I am personally interested in the thoughts and feelings or cognitions that form the identity of the individual. After all, it is the individual’s identity that motivates the individual’s actions. People do what they do because they are who they are. But why? is the question! Searching for insight into this seemingly simple question is certainly a motivator to my continuing education and struggle to become a life-long learner.

*Nevid, J.S. Essentials of Psychology, Concepts and Applications, (4th, Addition © 2015, 2012 Cengage Learning)