What is the difference between feeling, emotion and sensation.

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What is the difference between feeling, emotion and sensation.

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Sensation involves detecting stimuli through our senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. These link us to, and help us construct notions about, our objective reality.

A feeling is a state of internal apprehension. Feelings constitute our subjective reality.

Emotion describes the affective quality of feelings which emerges once our minds have processed and interpreted meaning from both our objective and subjective realities.

A Nobel prize awaits whoever figures out how the latter part works.

Sensations are messages we perceive through our senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and sound. “Feeling(S)” are akin to emotions. Our emotions come from the difference between what we want to happen and what actually happens. When these are in harmony, we experience positive emotions. When they are not in harmony we experience negative emotions. This of course implies that if you don’t know what you want, you may find it difficult to be happy.

**Sensation** is the broadest. It includes external signals from your nervous system like sight and sound and banging your toe, but it also includes feelings and emotions. You “sense” sensations. You can also “have a sense of”…whatever. You can sense music or art or fear or joy. You can also sense broad accumulations of different factors logic and social insight when you say things like “I sense the end of the story coming”. You have sensations exactly as long as they last. While you can sense it, there it is. When it’s gone it’s gone. Then there’s other usages like “a hit sensation” meaning a song got popular, but that kinda metaphorical while being technically true.

**Feelings** is an overloaded term with two usages. You can “feel” a certain subset of sensations. Emotions, touch, heat, hunger (signals from the stomach), disorientation (wonky balance signals from the ear, I think), but not sight, sound, or smell. You don’t feel the color blue nor feel music (unless there’s a lot of bass). If you feel your mother’s spaghetti sauce, there’s a problem.

Used the other way, feelings are synonymous with emotions, and it’s usually “feelings” in the plural. If one “hurts your feelings” it means they feel sad.

There’s an immediacy and fleeting aspect to feelings. You feel emotions. You feel the toe getting stubbed. But these aren’t long term dispositions or the makeup of your character. They won’t last.

**Emotions** would be sensations internal to the brain, specifically the lower brain closer to the stem. The amygdala is in charge of fear and anger. Other parts are tied to different emotions. Huh, they think they’ve found what controls lust. The frontal lobe regulates and controls these emotions because we’re more evolved and need to override those signals. Emotions are natures broad strokes at telling you what to do. Fear risky things, avoid them. Joy is a reward good behavior. Lust propagates the species. Anger, offense, pity, righteous indignation, apathy all have various roles in a social structure that help keep society functioning. Imagine a species where no one got angry when one person ate all the food stores. That group would starve in winter or some such. Before there was higher-order reasoning, emotions directed species in what to do and how to live. Instincts baked right into your genes with the instructions of how to build your brain. That also means asocial species like spiders probably don’t feel things like altrusim or loyalty. Being chemicals in your heads, mostly hormones, these can take a while to filter out and go away.