If emotions are constructed from limited data rather than direct perception, similar to the way vision and memory are constructed , then, as with perception and memory, there must be circumstances when the way the mind fills in gaps in the data results in your “getting it wrong.” The result would be “emotional illusions” that are analogous to optical and memory illusions.
For example, suppose you experience the physiological symptoms of emotional arousal for no apparent reason. The logical response would be to think, Wow, my body is experiencing unexplained physiological changes for no apparent reason! What’s going on? But suppose further that when you experience those sensations they occur in a context that encourages you to interpret your reaction as due to some emotion—say, fear, anger, happiness, or sexual attraction—even though there is no actual cause for that emotion. In that sense your experience would be an emotional illusion.
To demonstrate this phenomenon, Schachter and Singer created two different artificial emotional contexts—one “happy,” one “angry” —and studied the physiologic aroused volunteers who were placed in those situations. The researchers’ goal was to see whether those scenarios could be used to “trick” the volunteers into having an emotion that the psychologists themselves had chosen.
Subliminal, How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Leonard Mlodinow 2012
Cribb Comment: Several experiments have been performed to explore and examine the validity of this theory. The results have strongly suggested that most people are not perceptive or engaged enough with reality to even accurately understand the root cause of their emotions. In other words, they make shit up that fits into the “reality” that they prefer to believe or that happens to be pervasive in the herd so that they can comfortably conform. It further logically follows that this psychological maneuver is the linchpin enabler of withdrawal and withdrawal is the primary means of avoiding auto-corrective objective reality to maintain persistent excusable or justifiable delusion.