Manual de Teorías Emocionalesy Motivacionales

Manual de Teorías Emocionalesy Motivacionales

As two already classical authors have pointed out in the study of motivation (Cofer and Appley, 1979), whatever approach is adopted in psychological research, sooner or later the question must be formulated: why does the behavior occur? Action, or behavior, does not occur spontaneously, as they are induced, either by internal reasons, or by environmental incentives. The motivation has to do with the reasons that underlie a behavior. Such reasons, as Wong (2000) points out, can be analyzed on at least two levels: on the one hand, by asking why an individual exhibits certain behavioral manifestations; on the other hand, asking how such behavioral manifestations are carried out.1 The explanation of behavior in terms of the motivational mechanisms referred to why it has to do with the ultimate cause, while the explanation in terms of how it has to see with the next cause. It is an aspect of interest, since the reason for a behavior, that is, motivation, must have functional and adaptive connotations. There must be good reasons for the occurrence of this behavior in the way in which it occurs and in the situations in which it occurs (Alcock, 1998).

Thus, the reason for a behavior makes direct reference to the concept of motivation. Recently, Beck (2000) has qualified the characteristics of the Motivation concept, emphasizing that not only must we explain why a behavior occurs, but also we must try to explain the important behavioral variability observable in any living being. . The concept of variability refers, at least, to two possibilities. On the one hand, that referred to the different behavioral manifestations shown by two people in the same situation stimulate. On the other hand, that referred to the different behavioral manifestations shown by the same person in the same situation stimulate in two different moments. In either case, it seems clear that there is a basic motivational premise in the behavior of any organism: psychological hedonism. From a reasoning of this kind, one can understand the tendency to approach what will produce gratifying consequences and the tendency to avoid what will produce unpleasant consequences.

As it seems evident when looking at the volume of publications in this regard, the psychology of motivation has developed considerably. In this great diversification, according to Mankeliunas (1987), two great moments are distinguished: before and after the work of Darwin in 1859, or, which is the same, pre-scientific stage and scientific stage. These facts considerably complicate a generally accepted conceptualization of motivation, since, as can be seen, it is the classic contribution of Woodworth (1918), referring to the distinction between mechanisms and forces, which has marked the development of motivational discipline The question of mechanisms has to do with how behaviors occur; the question of forces, or impulse, has to do with the reason for the behaviors; or, what is the same, has to do with the motivation of the behaviors.
 
In the scientific stage, prescientific terms are still used (Graumann, 1971), and, on the other hand, the influence of Darwin is reflected in diverse currents, each of them using a particular terminology.

During the pre-scientific stage, the motivation was reduced to voluntary activity, while, in the scientific stage, talking about motivation implies referring to instincts, tendencies and impulses, which provide the necessary energy; but, in addition, there are also clear references to cognitive activities, which direct behavior toward certain goals. Therefore, the concept of motivation at present should consider the coordination of the subject to activate and direct their behavior towards goals.

An added difficulty has to do with the large number of needs described by the different authors. In this regard, Madsen (1980) groups the needs into two categories: primary reasons and secondary reasons. The primary reasons, innate and biogenic, are central motivations that, from birth, are functionally related to the subsistence of the individual and the species. Secondary, acquired and psychogenic motives are central motivations that, after a learning process, are related to the general growth of the subject. This differentiation is essential to understand the psychology of motivation in all its extension, since, although it is true that primary motives are common to all species, secondary motives, although also present in many of the lower species, they seem to be the fundamental patrimony of the human species. Therefore, in our view, although the psychology of motivation can be understood essentially in its human dimension - and this is one of the most fruitful current trends -, we believe that studies and research with subjects of lower species provide data relevant to the knowledge, at least, of the primary reasons.

What is motivation?

In general terms, the term motivation is a concept that we use when we want to describe the forces that act on, or within, an organism to initiate and direct its behavior. That is, they are forces that allow the execution of behaviors designed to modify or maintain the course of an organism's life, by obtaining objectives that increase the probability of survival, both on the biological level and on the social level. .

In addition, as Petri (1991) points out, the term motivation can also be used to explain and understand differences in the intensity of behavior. That is, the most intense behaviors can be considered as the result of the highest levels of motivation. Likewise, the term motivation can be used to indicate the selective direction of a behavior.

But, motivation is an intangible variable. We infer their presence from certain manifestations shown by an individual. Although for a long time the motivation was considered as an internal process, located in the variable O of the SOR scheme proposed by Woodworth (1918), the important contributions of authors such as Tolman (1932) and Hull (1943, 1951) , allow to speak of intervening variable. Therefore, it is not surprising that in the analysis of motivation, or motivational process, must be based on the study of motivated behavior. Patterns of motivated behavior are the product of the interaction between an organism and its environment. It can be said that the term motivation refers to an internal process that drives the individual, and this impulse is related to some external event. The motivation has biological and cultural aspects that are difficult to do without. Thus, a large part of the adaptive challenges facing human beings have social connotations, since it is society, with the cultural dye that predominates in it, which imposes certain peculiarities that orient biological needs and needs. psychologists in a certain sense. The purpose is to try to relate in a coherent and adaptive way the internal environment and the external environment of a certain individual (Cacciopo and Berntson, 1992). The goals direct the individual depending on the conditions of the stimulus, and the motivation mobilizes the pertinent actions.

Motivation refers to an internal dynamic process. At any time, as a process that is, it may imply change or variability. Dreikurs (2000) refers to motivation proposing that, when the motivation is described as a momentary dynamic process, we refer to a motivational state; but, when we refer to a predisposition referring to action tendencies, we are talking about motivational trait. While the study of motivational dispositions emphasizes interindividual differences, the study of motivational states emphasizes the differences in the dynamics of action in that individual, which is changeable in nature: that is, the differences are emphasized. intraindividual.

In a very similar sense, Deckers (2001) proposes that, in order to study motivation, it is necessary to take into account changes in the internal states and in the open behavior of individuals. This variability refers to three areas or possibilities: 

the consideration of the change between circumstances-momentary and situational variation in a given individual, which allows knowing to what extent an objective attracts that individual.

the consideration of the change between different individuals of the same species -inter-specific intraindividual variation, which allows to locate individual differences.

the consideration of the change between individuals of different species (which allows locating the eventual existence of specific behavior patterns of each species).

The aspect related to the intensity of the motivation, that is, the energy factor, can vary from extreme lethargy to maximum alertness and responsiveness. There have been different denominations to refer to this factor that provides energy. These include those of arousal (Revelle, Anderson and Humphreys, 1987, Anderson, 1990) and activation (Malmo, 1959, Thayer, 1989). Currently, and generically, we talk about activation. In this frame of reference, it should be noted that the intensity of the motivation has been considered in two basic ways: in the phasic dimension and in the tonic dimension. With regard to the phasic dimension, it refers to brief reactions or excitations, associated with a stimulus or objective that, for some circumstance, is significant for that individual. With regard to the tonic dimension, it refers to sustained responses or excitations, temporarily more durable than the phasic reactions, which are also caused by a stimulus or objective of relevance for the individual, demanding from the individual a remarkable dedication (Palmero and Chóliz, 1991).

The aspect related to the direction of the motivation does not have quantitative connotations but of quality of the actions and the conducts. The directional aspect of the motivation refers to the variation referred to the types of goals or antecedents to which an organism responds; that is, it has to do with the selection of objectives.

Thus, it seems evident that the study of behavior, of any behavior, is systematically met with the reason for the behavior in question. Since the casuistry of study is diverse, there are also various approaches to describe the reason for the behavior, the Motivation. However, we believe that, implicitly or explicitly, some essential characteristics seem to be a common denominator in practically all the proposed definitions. Such characteristics refer to activation and direction.

Activation

To execute a behavior, whatever it may be, the existence of a certain level of energy is necessary. Without that energy, the behavior will not occur. The energy comes mainly from the food entered into the body. Said energy will be stored as potential energy. When said stored energy is released to perform a certain behavior, it becomes kinetic energy. It is as if the potential energy awaits the appearance of some special stimulus, both internal and external, so that it liberates it and transforms it, kinetically, into some particular behavior.

Activation is an easily observable characteristic when an organism carries out a behavior. Open or overt behavior is one of the properties that best defines activation. That is, to the extent that an organism is carrying out a behavior, it seems logical to think that there is a certain level of motivation in that subject. On the contrary, and at least apparently, if there is no observable behavior, one might think that there is no motivation, or that the existing level of motivation is insufficient to provoke the behavior. However, this premise is not correct, since although it is true that the presence of an observable behavior denotes the existence of an adequate level of motivation, the absence of an observable behavior does not necessarily mean the absence of motivation. From the work of Lacey (1967), in which the concept of activation as a unitary process was seriously questioned, defended by Lindsley (1951, 1957), Malmo (1959), Duffy (1962), among others, there are clear evidence that the activation of an organism can manifest itself through three parameters: electrocortical, autonomic / physiological and motor.

The conclusion seems quite clear: although the motivation is considered to be a behavior trigger, the activated behavior is not always open and manifest. In addition, we estimate that, although the existence of overt and manifest behavior clearly indicates some type of motivation, it does not necessarily indicate the antecedents or cognitions that this individual has carried out in order to obtain a certain goal. That is, the simple observation of open or manifest behavior denotes activation, then denotes motivation, but it does not allow to elucidate what the motivation is or what the objectives are.

Another property that quite well defines the activating characteristics of the motive has to do with persistence. It seems quite obvious that, when an organism is motivated (for example, when it experiences hunger), it persists in its behavior until it gets food. This characteristic of motivated behavior activation has been questioned by some authors (Beck, 2000), who argue that persistent behavior (understanding persistence the repetition of the same behavior) appears in the experiments in which only there is an alternative response (for example, pressing a bar); If there were more response alternatives (as in real life), the persistence of behavior may not be observed, since subjects would have a choice. In these experiments, Beck continues, the experimental subjects have been trained to get food by a specific response: press the bar. It seems logical to find that, when they feel hungry (presence of motivation), the animals give the answer they have learned. If they do not get food with their response they keep trying, they keep insisting, they persist in their behavior. If they had more response alternatives, they might not repeat the behavior and experiment with other responses, so that persistence in behavior would not be as important as an activating modality to explain motivation.

Of course, the persistence is nuanced by the type of program used in the previous conditioning. If a fixed reinforcement program was used -reinforcement after each n number of responses, or after each x time elapsed since the previous reinforcement-, the persistence will be less, or, what is the same, before the response extinction will occur, whereas, if a variable reinforcement program was used -reinforcement after an unpredictable number of responses, or an unpredictable time elapsed since obtaining the previous reinforcement-, the persistence will be greater. As Wong (2000) indicates, it is perfectly demonstrated that training with a variable reinforcement program is the one that produces the greatest resistance to extinction.
 
Beck's logical argumentation, we thought that certain maths could be introduced to it. While it is true that in the experiments referred to by this author there was only one possibility of response (press the bar), this fact does not validate the relevance of persistence as an important property of activation in motivation.

Another property that is related to the activating characteristics of the motivation has to do with the vigor or intensity of the behavior. The motivation theorists suggest that the intensity of the response offered by a subject correlates positively with the level of motivation that the subject experiences. However, there is also reluctance in this regard, because if a subject has learned to give a certain response that implies a great intensity, it could happen that, in future situations, the existence of a moderate level of motivation triggers an intense response that did not reflect the real state of the subject. What we suggest with this idea is that previous learning processes can distort the correct relationship between motivational state and intensity of the observed response.

In recent years, Thayer (1989) has established a suggestive distinction when studying activation. Specifically, according to this author, one can speak of energetic activation and tense activation. As regards energy activation, it represents an appetitive or approximation system, and refers to a dimension that oscillates between one extreme, characterized by vigor, energy and vitality, and another extreme, characterized by fatigue. and fatigue. Variations in this system are easily observable in daily (circadian) cycles, food ingestion, exercises, etc. As regards the tense activation, it represents a general system of avoidance (or precaution), which is put into operation in situations that entail a danger (real or imagined) for the subject. It refers to a dimension that oscillates between one extreme, characterized by anxiety and fear, and another extreme, characterized by calm and stillness. This activation system is related to an emergency, preparedness, which analyzes the characteristics of danger that a particular situation entails for the subject.

Address

We have seen how activation, with the various indices that configure it, can be considered one of the main characteristics of motivated behavior. However, some authors (Birch, Atkinson, and Bongort, 197 argue that activation is not the main element that defines motivated behavior.) Their argument is based on one fact: any organism always has a certain level of activity; or, what is the same thing: any organism always has a certain level of motivation.For these authors, what is really important is to study how the activation is evolving in a subject, how said subject changes from one activity to another, understanding that In a word, in the study of motivation, the main sources of behavioral change are the cognitive processes, what is interesting is to observe the directionality of the behavior that is constantly being carried out by any individual.

The directionality of the behavior may not be relevant when the subject in question only has an alternative response. In these cases, the answer is quite evident and clear. But when the choice possibilities allow you to decide which behavior, and where this behavior will be directed, the characteristic of the address acquires an important consideration, although, of course, the behavior becomes more difficult for the subject, depending on the value functional that each of the possible alternatives have for him. It is for this reason that Beck (2000) has criticized the activation - particularly persistence - as an important component in motivation, while the direction can be considered as the most appropriate index for the study of motivated behaviors.

In the psychology of motivation, what is called the "Preference Test" is usually used to determine which of the different alternatives that the subject can choose is the one that motivates him most. For example, in an already classical experiment (Young and Greene, 1953), using rats as experimental subjects, various containers are prepared with water, although each container with a different sugar saturation. In this way, you can find out which of the different possibilities or alternatives motivates the subject more. Specifically, in this case, it could be observed that the more saturated solutions motivated the rats more. The fact of preference ties in with what Beck (2000) points out when addressing the study of motivation; specifically, says the author, it would be pertinent to establish a basic difference between, on the one hand, the preference for a behavior centered on the satisfaction of needs, that is, centered on the elementary biological regulation of the organism, and, on the other hand, the preference of a behavior focused on the achievement of goals that do not imply the satisfaction of biological needs, nor are they related to the homeostasis of said organism. In our humble opinion, it seems to us that, at least, Beck's present argument would be debatable, since, no matter how necessary an objective is for an organism, the absence of it and the desire to achieve it would meet the requirements that are required. to speak of a motivation triggered by deficiencies in an organism. We believe that it would be prudent to speak of a homeostasis in general, in such a way that the possibility exists, not only of referring to the balance of biological variables, but also of all those variables susceptible of being obtained by an organism when it experiences desire to obtain them. . Probably, the motivation goes beyond the concept of homeostasis. It is common to appreciate how social and cultural peculiarities exert a relevant influence, preventing homeostatic justification. You may feel motivated to drink for social reasons; Regardless of the level of fluids in the body, it feels thirsty, and drinks. There is no fluid deficiency, and baby. Homeostasis, when used with the connotations of seeking the equilibrium or appropriate level in a variable variable, can not explain drinking in the absence of deficit signals, that is, the secondary drink.

An organism is always in a state of relative motivation, since, to a certain extent, there is always some objective or goal towards which the conduct of that organism is directed, or from which it is desired to move that organism away. It is necessary to point out, in line with the contributions of Deckers (2001), that the objectives pursued by, or from which one wishes to move away from, an individual may be temporarily far away, which does not preclude the possibility of continuing to talk about motivation. In effect, obtaining an objective or goal may require a lot of effort, persistence and dedication on the part of an individual. If it is an objective whose obtaining is far in time, it is put to the test, on the one hand, the relevance of that objective for the individual, and, on the other hand, derived from the previous premise, the persistence and the effort that individual is willing to invest in the attainment. In the process of achievement, there are, at least, two variables that significantly condition the subsequent behavior or action of that individual. On the one hand, the expectation of achievement. In effect, based on the analyzes carried out by the individual, he will be able to verify whether the objective is subjectively closer or not, since, depending on that expectation of attainment, this will be the subsequent action of the individual. If the individual appreciates that the objective is closer, and remains as attractive as it was, it is very likely that he will continue in his efforts to achieve it. On the other hand, if the objective is increasingly distant from the attainment possibilities of that individual, regardless of how attractive that objective is, it is also very likely that this individual abandons the idea of ??achieving it. On the other hand, the degree of attraction of the objective. It is an important factor, since it may happen that, over time, the objective loses part of the incentive value, or the significance it has for the individual, by referring to what Molden and Dweck (2000) suggest, producing a significant decrease in behavior aimed at achieving that goal. It can even happen that a new objective appears more attractive or easier to achieve that displaces the previous objective in the idea of ??achieving the individual. In this frame of reference, we want to point out that casuistry can be great. In the area of ??basic motives -for example, hunger, and the associated eating behavior-, as a general rule.

Sources of motivation

The sources of motivation refer to the origin of the stimuli that cause an individual to activate. There are some interesting aspects that appear when we try to locate the sources of motivation. For example, is the current human being motivated by the same stimuli that motivated the ancestors? Is there a motivational difference when we consider the variable sex? These are questions that, following the recent formulations of Buss (1996, 1999), allow us to understand the adaptive value of certain primary motives in their proper dimension.

The sources of motivation vary along two axes: the internal-external and the psychological-neurophysiological. In a reduced way, we can say that there are internal sources and environmental sources.

Some environmental stimuli can provoke an involuntary response in an individual, appreciating that the intensity of the response is proportional to the intensity of the stimulus. In these cases, the extent to which an individual is activated represents the extent to which they feel motivated (Deckers, 2001). Involuntary behavior shows a uniform relationship with external stimuli. On the other hand, as regards voluntary behavior, it may occur immediately after the appearance of an external or environmental stimulus, or, on the contrary, it may occur after a certain time, which may be more or less dilated. .

Motivated behavior can also occur in an individual as a result of some internal stimuli, which acquire psychological connotations, such as impulses, needs, desires. In this case, environmental influences can configure the range of stimuli that will trigger this motivated behavior. Within the internal stimuli, in addition, the neurophysiological, biological variables in general, can also give rise to motivated behavior. In a concrete way, we can see how the deficiency or reduction of the level in some variable necessary for the functioning of the organism triggers a process that has as objective to warn the individual so that he knows that he has to carry out some activity that restores the balance in that varia-

To some extent, these considerations are related to the ideas presented by Lorenz (1970) when he defends his hydraulic model for motivation, and which we will later deal with in the section corresponding to the important concepts in the field of motivation. In particular, an increase in the need -the increase of the specific energy for action, in terms of Lorenz- produces a decrease in the qualitative demand of the individual-a decrease in the threshold for the appearance of the motivated behavior, also in the terminology of Lorenz.
 
As a consequence of this warning, which the individual usually experiences as a typical malaise, it is very likely that the motivated behavior aimed at suppressing discomfort and recovering the balance or the level of said variable will begin.

With regard to internal sources, we can talk about genetic history, personal history and psychological variables. As for the genetic history, it refers to the effects that the process of evolution has exerted on the human species. Natural selection may have favored the existence and maintenance of certain basic motives that are intimately related to survival; Such is the case of active avoidance or elective behavior in the presence of some animals, such as snakes.5 Something similar, although now in the opposite direction, occurs with other manifestations, such as the smile. In fact, smiling is a behavior that appears in the first moments of extrauterine life, having the function of making the interaction of the human being with its external environment more flexible (Weisfeld, 1993). As a consequence, such motives increase their frequency among the individuals of the species. As for the personal history, it refers to the experience that an individual draws from birth. These experiences shape the baggage of events that stimulate and motivate an individual, the incentives that attract that individual, and the behaviors through which these incentives can be achieved. In fact, the judgments referred to what is pleasant and pleasing, as well as what is unpleasant and unpleasant, are based on the experience an individual has had in similar situations. Consequently, from those judgments, the individual will feel motivated to approach or to move away from a certain event, according to those judgments based on his own experience. One of the areas in which the existence of personal biases has been found on the motivational plane has to do with the opinions of individuals about the attraction of human faces. Thus, in a study carried out by Langlois, Roggman and Musselman (1994), it could be seen that the participating individuals responded by saying that the most attractive face was that which reflected an average face, which was made up of the combination of Many images of scanned faces. This image reflected an individual with defined lips, with a specific nose, with the eyes equidistant and somewhat separated from the nasal septum, etc. However, based on the review made by Berscheid and Reis (1998), it seems to be emphasized that, depending on the experience of each individual in the visualization of attractive faces, this is the assessment made by said individuals regarding the attractive potential of another person's face. This is, to a large extent, evaluative judgments about attraction depend on what a particular individual knows. As for the psychological variables, they represent the incontrovertible fact of.

In fact, the motivated behavior that an individual carries out to recover the balance after a possible deficiency in his organism is the second mechanism set in motion, since, in the first place, the organism itself, and automatically, puts in operation mechanisms to mitigate as far as possible the deficiency. If with these automatic mechanisms it is not possible to solve the imbalance, the individual perceives certain signals in his organism that inform about the deficiency - for example, hunger when there is deficiency of glucose in the blood; thirst, when there is deficiency of liquids, etc. In addition, as we have indicated above, we must consider the effects of social and cultural variables, which can motivate an individual to carry out behaviors related to the deficiency of some variable, even if there is no such deficiency: these are the cases of the secondary food and drink.

They are animals that, as Buss (1999) indicates, probably, in other remote times before they were predators of the human species, so that genetic history allows, even today, to experience a quasi-automatic behavior of avoidance and alienation. of such animals.
 
That human beings are different and unique. We have our own individuality, which makes us peculiar. Also on the motivational level, this specificity is appreciated, since each one of us is attracted or motivated by certain stimuli, which do not have to coincide with the stimuli that attract other people. The human being has the ability to seek, even to create, a particular environment that allows meeting those psychological needs, among which are the achievement, the power, the help.

With regard to environmental sources, they refer to the different stimuli that, from outside the individual, exert their influence on it. They are the incentives, considered as stimuli that motivate the behavior. The amount of incentive, the specific quality of the same, 6 as well as the temporal distance - also the distance or psychological distance, using the terminology of Lewin (1936) - referred to its eventual achievement, are factors to be considered if one wants to understand the motivation - tion of an individual.

In the end, the behavior is motivated jointly by the interaction of internal events and environmental events. If either of these two aspects does not occur, or is not present, or is present, but in an incorrect or deficient manner, it is very likely that motivated behavior does not occur7 (Biner, Huffman, Curran and Long, 1998).

To conclude this section dedicated to the concept of motivation, it is easy to see how in the recent history of the motivational process the different proposals have been grouped around three major dimensions: biological, learning and cognitive. Each of them has emphasized the relevance of the component in question, coming to propose, as a colophon, that the mutual interaction between the three components, together with the environment, make possible the activation and direction of motivated behavior . However, the historical tendency to locate a single determinant of behavior is being replaced by the empirical finding that different factors can trigger the same behavior. It is even possible to review the aspect of persistence in behavior in the absence of the factors (or motives) that triggered it, producing what Allport (193) called "functional autonomy of behavior." In this case, it is argued that there is some form of motivation to maintain the behavior, another thing is to discover if it is the same motivation that triggered the behavior, or, on the contrary, is a different motivation.

Ultimately, the analysis of components in motivation emphasizes that each of them is involved to a varying degree in any motivated behavior. The interaction between the three components of motivation increases the likelihood that the resulting behavior will be organized and adaptive. The compo-

These are aspects very similar to the effects of the quantity and quality of the reinforcement, synthesized by Bolles (1978) from the contributions of Simmons (192) and Crespi (1942) .In fact, let us also remember that Bindra (1969) talks about synonymy between incentive motivation and reinforcement.

It is an argument similar to that proposed by theories of motivation related to the disappearance of momentum (Hull, 1951, 1952), which defends a "learning model based on impulse reduction". Motivated behavior is the result of the multiplicative relationship that exists between the habit, the impulse value and the incentive value of the goal: E = H x D x K. If one of these two factors is zero, the behavior does not occur.
 
The biological component is based on the fact that one of the principles of behavior depends on the genetic structure of the subject. The learning component plays an important role in motivation, since the so-called acquired motifs (achievement, power, etc.) escape pure biological determination. The cognitive component is related to knowledge processes. Cognition implies thought, perception, abstraction, synthesis, organization, choice, etc. In a word, the relation of the subject with its environment from the causal knowledge of the behavior.

The motivation process

As we have defended in other areas, motivation is closely related to survival, and growth in general, which can be considered as an exponential increase in the probability that an individual will achieve the objectives pursued; among them, as is obvious, also that of survival, understood, in this case, not only as the life-death distinction, but also in its social dimension.

As we have just noted, motivation is an adaptive process in which it is essential to consider the existence of various components. In addition, as a process that is, motivation implies dynamism. It is a functional dynamism, which aims to increase the likelihood of adaptation of the organism to the changing conditions of the environment.

Recently, Deckers (2001) has proposed a simple scheme in which he establishes the moments that can be distinguished in the motivation process. To a certain extent, the Deckers proposal is quite similar to what Kuhl (1986) pointed out a few years ago, although his attempts have not had much repercussion in the field of the psychology of motivation. In any case, we believe that, if we want to delimit the motivation process more precisely, we must analyze, step by step, what happens since a stimulus or need is detected by the individual, or his or her organism, until the objective and / or the satisfaction of the need is achieved, as well as the eventual failure. In both cases, taking into account the analysis referred to the causal attribution of the result, going through the different stages in which it is decided what to do and how to do it. Broadly speaking, the sequence proposed by Kuhl (1986) and Deckers (2001) considers three moments: objective choice, behavioral dynamism and completion or control over the action taken.

As for the choice of goal that becomes goal, the individual decides what motive will satisfy, and what goal will try to achieve to satisfy said motive. That is, there is a prior circumstance or incentive that activates a motive, along with the potential energy needed to execute a behavior. The choice of a motive depends on the intensity of the motive, the attractiveness of the incentive, the subjective probability of success and the estimate of the effort necessary to achieve the objective.
 
In terms of behavioral dynamism, it refers to the activities carried out by an individual to try to achieve the chosen goal. That is, from the motive, and the incentive selected to satisfy that motive, the individual decides what activities will allow him to achieve the goal, carrying out the appropriate instrumental behavior for that purpose. Generically, instrumental behavior refers to the set of motivated activities in which an individual is involved to satisfy a motive. As it seems logical to suggest, instru- mental behaviors are a relevant aspect, since they can be considered as the link between a motive and its satisfaction. The goal that the individual has chosen depends on the correct execution of the instrumental behaviors.

Sometimes, in addition to choosing and deciding what motive an individual will try to satisfy, there is also the possibility of choosing and deciding which activities or instrumental behavior an individual chooses to achieve the objective. There are some aspects of instrumental behavior that reflect the level of motivation; such aspects refer to frequency, intensity and duration. Frequency refers to the number of times an individual is involved or initiates an activity to achieve the goal; it can be assumed that the greater the frequency with which an individual carries out activities in pursuit of an objective, the greater the motivation of that individual. Intensity refers to the vigor or force with which the individual performs the instrumental activity or behavior; as a general rule, as we have already indicated, there is also an association between intensity of the activity and level of motivation. Duration refers to the time an individual devotes to the satisfaction of a motive. To a certain extent, it can be understood that the combination of the three aspects commented configures the persistence of an individual in the search and attempt to achieve an objective.

Regarding the finalization and control over the action taken, it refers to the analysis of the result obtained with the different actions or instru- mental behaviors that the individual has carried out. That is to say, the individual verifies if, through the conducts that he carried out, he has managed to satisfy or not the reason that he chose. Whether the goal has been achieved or failed, the individual performs the relevant processes of causal attribution, which will allow him or her in the future to decide whether to reuse the present behavior or to introduce some type of modification. If the result has been the achievement of the goal, the individual will carry out the corresponding consummatory behavior, with which it ends the motivational process. As Deckers (2001) indicates, consummatory behavior represents the completion of the motivational sequence; the execution of consummatory behavior completes said motivational sequence by satisfying the motive. If, on the other hand, the individual has not achieved the goal, depending on the parameters related to the interest or need to achieve that goal, he or she will decide whether to persist and try to achieve it again, even considering the possibility of redoubling the efforts to achieve this goal, or if, on the contrary, it changes the goal to be achieved, choosing another that it considers more affordable to its possibilities.

Based on these suggestions, our proposal to explain the motivation process considers two sections. On the one hand, the corresponding to the decision making and election of the objective that will become a goal, and, on the other hand, the one corresponding to the control over the action that is being carried out. With regard to the section focused on decision making and choice of goal, it is necessary to include the aspects related to stimulation, perception, evaluation and assessment, decision and choice, activation and direction. With regard to the section focused on the control of the action, it is necessary to include the aspects related to the analysis of congruence, persistence, attribution of causes and the possibility of introducing changes in the actions or in the goal, or to abandon the achievement of that goal. In a generic way, this section will be analyzed considering globally the control of the result.

So, tentatively, the sequence we propose to explain the motivational process would be the following: stimulus, perception, evaluation-assessment, choice of goal, decision to act, activation, direction, control of the result.

Throughout the process, it is usual for the individual to perform the relevant attributional processes about the results that are obtained with their behaviors, which can understand the dynamics of the motivational process, as well as the eventual persistence or abandonment of behaviors directed to the achievement of the goal in question.

The following figure illustrates our idea of ??the motivational process, pointing out the different moments that the individual goes through in his eagerness to achieve the goal that will satisfy his needs.

Occurrence or appearance of the stimulus. The presence of a stimulus that is capable of triggering the motivational process is required. That stimulus can be external or internal. When the triggering stimulus is external, we refer to some goal that becomes a goal because the individual is attracted to some of the characteristics of that goal. We speak, in this case, of desire. When the triggering stimulus is internal, we refer to a deficiency situation -real or not- in any of the important components of the organism. In this case, changes and signs are produced in the organism that are perceived by the individual, and that impel him to carry out some activity with which to achieve some objective that suppresses those signs that, as a rule, are experienced with negative or aversive connotations. . In this case, we talk about necessity.8

The stimulus may be present in the physical environment of the subject or it may not be present, referring, in the latter case, to a memory, or to a more or less important goal that the individual pursues, and which does not have to be present. Continuously. On the other hand, the stimulus may not be real, and consist only in a perceptual distortion, hallucination, etc., of the individual.

In addition, the stimulus may not be consciously perceived, that is, it may happen that the intensity or duration of the stimulus provokes in the subject an activation that does not exceed the threshold of consciousness. In this type of situation, the individual does not have conscious knowledge of having received the stimulation, although this stimulation impacted him and was processed. Whether or not the stimulus is consciously perceived, it must have a certain capacity to trigger an eventual motivational process.9 This capacity can be innate or acquired through the experience of that individual.

The stimulus is an essential and necessary variable for the motivational process to begin. However, it is not a sufficient variable, since it requires the existence of an eventual perception and an evaluation-assessment that confers on the stimulus or objective the connotations of the goal to be achieved by that individual.

Perception of the stimulus. It is an important aspect, since the absence of perception - conscious or non-conscious - impedes the initiation of the motivational process. The non-existence of conscious perception suppresses the possibility that an individual notices the existence of the stimulus and feels motivated to carry out an appropriate action. The non-existence of non-conscious perception - also assuming the absence of conscious perception - keeps the organism in a quiescent state, without any manifestation of changes and signs that would make the individual feel attracted or motivated by some kind of objectives. . That is, for perception to occur, the presence of a stimulus and the existence of appropriate receptors are required.

Thus, perception can occur in two ways: consciously and not consciously. In the conscious perception of an external stimulus, the individual detects and notices the presence of a stimulus that, due to its particular characteristics, possesses enough attraction to attract its attention and, if it is the case, make it try to achieve it. In the conscious perception of an internal stimulus, the individual.

When an individual carries out the motivated drinking behavior, in those cases in which the organism experiences a decrease in the level of fluids, it does so because it feels thirsty, and not because it thinks that there is fluid deficiency in its organism. Drink to suppress the negative effects associated with the sensation of thirst, and to experience the gratifying connotations of fluid ingestion.

This statement has to be qualified in terms of the fluctuation of the thresholds related to gratification and to the need, in the style of the hydraulic model proposed by Lorenz (1970).
 
he experiences certain changes, generally uncomfortable, that impel him to carry out an activity with which to achieve some objective that makes those changes and signs more or less aversive disappear. Thus, in conscious perception, the biological variables -the special capacity of the individual for certain types of stimuli-, the cognitive variables -the judgments or beliefs of that individual with respect to the stimulus-, and the affective variables -the state exert their influence. affective current of the individual. Taken together, these three types of variables make up a kind of filter that has an impact on perception, as they increase or reduce the eventual sensitization of the individual towards a specific type of stimulus, thereby modifying the perception thresholds.

On the contrary, in the non-conscious perception of an external stimulus, this stimulus does not have enough salience (in intensity or in duration) to capture the conscious attention of the individual, but it is capable of producing a certain processing of the stimulation. This processing does not reach the thresholds of the individual's consciousness, although it may result in the following steps of the motivational process. In the non-conscious perception of this type of stimuli, the filter described above also influences, exerting its effect in the scope of that individual's preferences. In the non-conscious perception of internal stimuli, as a rule, it is the body itself that carries out the actions designed to respond to the eventual demand implicit in that stimulus. If with the automatic actions of the organism it is possible to respond to the demands of the stimulus, the individual will not be conscious, neither of the stimulus, nor of the perception, nor of the responses derived from the stimulus-perception association. However, when the more or less automatic actions carried out by the organism are insufficient to respond appropriately to the demands of the stimulus, various changes and signs will appear, also with unpleasant and aversive connotations -in fact, these are relatively similar changes. those that appear when the non-conscious perception of an external stimulus occurs- which, now, are consciously perceived by the individual, prompting him to perform certain actions with which to achieve a specific objective that suppresses the discomfort.

The perception, conscious or not conscious, is an essential and necessary variable for the motivational process to occur. However, it is not a sufficient variable either, since it requires the existence of a stimulus susceptible of being perceived, and of a process of evaluation-assessment that makes the subject think, or that makes the body decide, that said stimulus is capable of triggering a motivated behavior.

Evaluation and evaluation. They make reference to two fundamental aspects in the motivational process. Each time the existence of a stimulus or a need is detected, the individual has to decide what to do. In the process of making the decision, as well as in the eventual choice of objective that will become a goal for that individual, a lot of cognitive activity occurs, characterized by the evaluation of the expectation of achieving an eventual objective, and by the value - associated with the connotations that that objective has for the individual.
 
Regarding the evaluation, the individual analyzes the characteristics of the different objectives that he / she can try to achieve, considering the difficulty that each of them entails, analyzes the baggage of available resources and skills to try to achieve one of those objectives. , and it analyzes the effort that it estimates that it will have to invest in this achievement task. The result of these analysis processes produces an expectation of achievement for each of the different objectives. This expectation of achieving an objective could be better termed as the subjective probability of success, since it reflects the result of the subjective analysis carried out by that individual.

Regarding the assessment, the individual assigns a certain weight of satisfaction or gratification to each of the possible objectives. This satisfaction includes the cognitive and affective dimensions, also considering the possible negative connotations, in the case of failure to achieve the objective that becomes a goal.

The evaluation and assessment processes can occur consciously or non-consciously. When they occur consciously, they also influence the same variables that exerted a sort of filter in the perception process, that is, biological variables, cognitive variables and affective variables. This set of variables refers, respectively, to the biological dispositions of the individual in question, to the accumulated experiences throughout his life, and to the momentary affective state in which said individual is. When the evaluation and assessment processes occur in a non-conscious way, the influence of the affective variables usually predominates, under the elementary distinction of considering the situation experienced as pleasant or not pleasant. When the result of the non-conscious assessment and assessment qualifies the situation as unpleasant, the individual experiences a tendency to avoid events and situations similar to what the current experience has produced. But when the result of the evaluation and evaluation results in the experience of the situation as pleasant, the individual experiences desire for something, a tendency-without knowing why-to the search for the stimulus that can satisfy that desire. The stimulus, which has not been consciously perceived, is capable of producing results even if it falls below the thresholds of that individual's consciousness.

If the individual locates the desired objective, the evaluation and assessment processes come into play, now consciously, to decide which of the possible objectives will become the chosen goal, and how to carry out the possible behaviors instrumental to achieve it. On the other hand, if the individual does not locate the stimulus, the desire that he experiences at that moment impels him to seek and achieve a certain objective that could appease that desire.

The evaluation and assessment are two essential aspects and necessary for the motivational process to occur. We could say that they constitute the key piece of the process, because, although the existence of a perceived stimulus is required, there is no doubt that the analysis of personal significance emerges through the evaluation and assessment processes. That is where what we consider to be the motivational process is gestated.

Decision and choice of the goal. The value of the objective and the expectation of achieving it are the relevant factors to understand which of the possible objectives available becomes the goal that an individual will try to achieve. However, to fully understand how these two factors influence motivation and the behavior associated with it, it is necessary to consider a triadic interaction between need or desire, value and expectation. This interaction has multiplicative characteristics (see Hull, 1943, 1952), so when one of the three variables -factors- is zero (0), the motivated behavior will not occur. So, assuming that none of the three variables is zero, the possibilities that we can find are varied. Let's see:

When the value is high and the expectation of success is also high, the probability of a motivated behavior directed to the objective is very high, as long as there is a minimum of desire or need.

When the value is low and the expectation of success is also low, the probability of a motivated behavior directed to the objective is very low, although, in this case, the high desire or need can increase the probability of occurrence of the behavior.

When the value is high and the expectation of success is low, the high desire or need maximizes the value and minimizes the expectation of success, increasing the probability of occurrence of the motivated behavior.

When the value is high and the expectation of success is low, the reduced desire or need minimizes the value and maximizes the expectation of success, reducing the probability that the motivated behavior will occur.

When the value is low and the expectation of success is high, the high desire or need minimizes the value and maximizes the expectation of success, increasing the probability that the motivated behavior will appear.

When the value is low and the expectation of success is high, the reduced desire or need maximizes the value and minimizes the expectation of success, reducing the probability that the motivated behavior will occur.

However, beyond the different combinations that we can establish between these three variables, it seems a remarkable fact that necessity is the main driver of motivated behavior. The need, both when it is understood as a lack of some fundamental element for survival, and when it is understood as a desire to achieve some expendable objective, although very an- cidious, can completely mask the value of the other two variables. Let's take an example.

An individual is on an island where there is no water.

About 20 meters away there is another islet in which there is water.

Let's see the value of the variables. Need to drink: growing. Water value: a lot. Expectation of getting the water: none, because the individual does not know how to swim. Although the expectation of achieving the goal is zero (0), it is certain that the individual will try to swim to the other islet (assuming that there is no other way to get there). Therefore, it is good to know how the three important variables are combined, to understand how a motivational process is triggered and the eventual behavior associated with it. But, it is also convenient to know that, in extreme situations, the need imposes its force and pushes the individual to perform the behavior that, eventually, could allow him to achieve the goal.

Sometimes, at least apparently, one can think of the incongruity that supposes that an individual says that he does not feel any type or degree of motivation and, despite this, carry out a behavior aimed at achieving a certain objective. -For example, when you have to perform a specific task that is unpleasant. Also in this particular case we can talk about the existence of motivation. On the one hand, it is possible that this activity supposes the achievement of a concrete reward, or the avoidance of a punishment, in which case we could state that it is an extrinsically motivated behavior. On the other hand, it is possible that this activity supposes a necessary intermediate step in the achievement of the goal that, in the longer term, the individual expects to reach. In this case, we would be talking about an intrinsically motivated behavior. Ultimately, as can be seen, the casuistry is quite large.

The activation. Actually, the activation occurs at the same moment in which the organism detects a need or the individual perceives a stimulus that is attractive and wants to achieve it. Now, this activation process requires some explanations. As for the occurrence of any change in the organism that it detects as a need, the appropriate mechanisms are automatically put in place to correct, if possible, this deficiency or need. A form of selective, parsimonious activation is produced, in virtue of which only those systems necessary to try to correct that need come into operation. It is an activation with homeostatic characteristics, because the organism, blindly, tries to balance the deficiency produced. As for the conscious perception of some attractive objective for the individual, there is also an activation that, at the beginning, has connotations of generalized activity. This type of activation allows the individual to carry out all the processes to which we are referring, including, as is obvious, those of evaluation and valuation. Later, when the individual has chosen the goal and has made it his goal, deciding how he will try to achieve it, the activation becomes more specialized, affecting those specific systems that will allow the individual to execute the instrumental behaviors that bring him closer to the goal. . Again we appreciate that, also in this case, the activation system in the individual is parsimonious and homeostatic. That is, only those systems necessary to achieve this goal -parsimony- are activated and they do so trying to satisfy a motive, in the form of an incentive associated with the goal in question, which, from the moment it was considered as a goal to achieve , has produced in the individual the need to achieve it. The achievement satisfies the need and suppresses the possible imbalance produced by this need -homeostasis.

The direction. It is also appreciated that the direction begins to manifest itself at the moment in which the evaluation and assessment processes take place. In effect, when talking about the direction in the motivational process, there are two possibilities. On the one hand, the direction related to the choice of objective that will become a goal for that individual. It is the answer to the question where to channel the activation produced by the stimulus or need, together with the possibility of achieving the target -meta- chosen by the individual. On the other hand, the direction related to the choice of instrumental behaviors that will lead the individual towards the goal. It is the answer to the question how to channel the activation produced by the stimulus or need to approach the objective and achieve it. In both possibilities, the direction reflects the individual's choice, both in regard to the objective and in regard to the behaviors.

The instrumental behavior. It is related to the address. In effect, the individual decides what behavior he will use as an instrument to achieve the goal in question. It is an important aspect, and represents the manifestation of one's motivated behavior. With its peculiarities, the motivated behavior is made up of two main phases: the approach phase or the search phase, and the summative phase or execution phase. The approach phase refers to the different movements and activities that allow the individual to search, locate and achieve the goal. The consummatory phase refers to the different movements and activities that allow the individual to use the goal he or she already achieved. The approach phase is variable, different for the different individuals; it depends on their experiences and learnings; it has acquired connotations, therefore modifiable. The consummatory phase is fixed, identical for all individuals of the same species; it depends on the genetic configuration; It has hereditary connotations and is not subject to change or modification.

Control of the result. As instrumental behaviors develop, the individual checks whether the incongruence between the current situation and the situation that he expects to obtain diminishes. If so, that is, if you see that you are approaching the goal, you persist in your activity to minimize the incongruence. Obviously, in the decision that the individual takes about persisting in the effort to achieve that goal, the degree of attraction of the goal pursued appreciably influences. The term attraction not only has connotations of positive affective gratification, because aspects related to cognition are also involved. A goal can be cognitively attractive because its achievement allows the individual to obtain social rewards in the form of recognition, respect, etc .; It also has a strictly subjective dimension, referring to self-esteem and self-concept in the individual, insofar as the achievement of a certain goal increases his self-perception of worth, competence, etc. When the incongruence has been completely reduced, that is, when the incongruence is zero, there is maximum congruence between what was wanted and what has been achieved. That is to say: the individual has achieved the objective. He then performs the consummatory behavior and performs the process of attribution of causes, noting that the choice was appropriate and the instrumental behaviors as well. The association between the subjective expectation of achieving that specific goal and the instrumental behaviors carried out allows the individual to establish a function of generalization, by virtue of which it will be possible to understand the eventual execution of the same instrumental behaviors before the possibility of achieving similar objectives to the one obtained on this occasion. However, the process of causal attribution occurs not only when the individual has achieved the objective and proceeds to carry out the consummatory phase of the motivated behavior. From the moment in which instrumental behavior begins in the form of an approach phase, the individual checks whether or not he approaches the chosen goal; he goes through successive processes of causal attribution, trying to find out why the results he observes occur, whether those results indicate that he is approaching the goal or indicating that he is not approaching the goal. For that reason he persists in the behavior he chose, because he discovers that such behavior is allowing him to approach the goal. It persists because, based on these processes of causal attribution, it estimates that it will achieve the goal.

Por el contrario, si el individuo detecta que la incongruencia no disminuye, o que se incrementa, tiene que llevar a cabo algún tipo de cambio. En estos momentos, los procesos de atribución causal le indican a qué se debe el resultado que está observando. Como quiera que el resultado no parece bueno, el individuo empieza a considerar la posibilidad de un cambio. Por regla general, este cambio puede llevarse a cabo de distintas formas: por una parte, el cambio se puede centrar en las conductas instrumentales que está llevando a cabo; por otra parte, el cambio se puede centrar en la meta que eligió y hacia la que dirige sus esfuerzos. Incluso, cabe la posibilidad de que el individuo decida cambiar los dos aspectos. Por últi- mo, también puede ocurrir que, simplemente, el individuo abandone la consecu- ción de esa meta, sin que la misma sea sustituida por otra.

Ultimately, if the individual can not carry out the consummatory behavior, since he did not achieve the objective that was proposed, he continues to carry out the process of attribution of causes, establishing why he has not been able to achieve that goal. This process of causal attribution is also important at this time, since, again, it allows the individual to establish the association, although in this negative case, between the expectation of achieving a specific goal and the concrete instrumental behaviors that have been carried out. , which is likely to introduce some type of change, such as those noted above, on future occasions, starting with the one immediately following the finding of failure, in the case that the goal interests you and you want to persist in the effort of get it.

Important concepts in the field of motivation

From what we have just commented, it seems logical to propose that in the approach to the study of motivation there are certain aspects that acquire a remarkable relevance. They are essential concepts to understand the functioning of the motivational process. Among these concepts are the following:

Need: it is a term used to refer to situations in which an organism experiences and / or manifests a shortage of some important element for its functioning. This situation of scarcity, and, consequently, the need derived from it, will only disappear if the organism is able to achieve that which allows it to return to its habitual equilibrium.

Pulsion: is a classic concept in the psychology of motivation. Broadly speaking, the term drive has clearly psychological overtones; in particular, it could be considered as the psychological manifestation of a situation of deprivation, shortage or biological necessity. Therefore, the drive has clear motivational connotations.

Homeostasis: is another classic and essential concept in the psychology of motivation, as well as in any discipline that is related to behavior. It is a concept introduced in psychology from the physiological works of Cannon (1932). This author guides his initial work towards the adaptive nature of the stress response to give full account of the threats and challenges to the internal environment of the organisms; that is, the threats and challenges to the homeostasis of organisms. The stress response, or fight-flight response, seemed a logical and effective mechanism. In some of his more classic works (Cannon, 1929, 1935), he defends that the presence of a stimulus, situation, or disturbing agent in the external environment, can cause a general mobilization in the organism, when the subject perceives those situations as threats, challenges or danger. This mobilization or generalized activation is intended to prepare the body to achieve a basic goal: the defense of their physical integrity before an eventual aggression to their homeostasis or internal balance. Cannon defines homeostasis in terms of stable states achieved at any time by the physiological processes that work in the living organism. Now, in the strict sense, the concept of homeostasis does not refer to a static state, but rather the opposite: dynamic equilibrium, constantly changing. Precisely, in these fluctuations, in the impossibility of remaining in a fixed, static point, the foundation of motivation is located, Because the body is always motivated to continue looking for that optimum point that guarantees its maximum performance and adaptation. Every time that the levels of some variable are separated beyond what is advisable (beyond their confidence thresholds) all the mechanisms are activated so that this subject recovers its normal values. These mechanisms include physiological and behavioral mechanisms. Thus, when the organism detects the existence of an imbalance in the level of some variable, the physiological mechanisms are put in place to restore the balance; If, with these physiological mechanisms, it is not possible to restore equilibrium, an unpleasant sensation is produced, which the individual interprets as a need for some element. As a result, the motivation to find that necessary element occurs,

Negative feedback: it is an essential concept to understand the self-hypnosis. It is a mechanism that allows to stop a process currently underway.

Thus, when there is a deficiency in some variable, the organism carries out the necessary processes to correct this deficiency, but the mechanism that tries to correct this imbalance stops at a moment: when the level of the variable in question reaches the appropriate values. Detention occurs thanks to negative feedback mechanisms. Negative feedback could be considered as a system of physiological arrest that puts an end to a drive. A drive initiates a motivated behavior and a negative feedback system stops it. Broadly speaking, the process is as follows:

from a relatively balanced situation, wear begins to occur;

as a consequence of this attrition, a deficiency occurs in some variable;

this deficiency, with connotations of necessity, generates the specific drive to the need produced;

the drive makes the subject feel motivated to look for how to solve their problem;

the approach or search phase begins, the first part of the motivated behavior;

after locating what can satisfy the need, the subject carries out the consummatory phase, the second part of the motivated behavior;

there is the reduction of the drive, the satisfaction of the need and the recovery of the balance or homeostasis;

again, wear will begin to occur, leading to another deficit situation, etc., and so on.

Distinction between phase of approach and phase consummatoria: it is one of the important contributions in the field of motivation. In fact, it allowed to solve with simplicity and elegance one of the most notable controversies related to motivated behavior. On the one hand, the motivation had connotations of instinctive behavior, not learned, whose essential objective was to guarantee the survival of the individual. On the other hand, empirical verification of the relevance of learning factors in motivated behavior was undeniable. In this theoretical framework, Craig (1918) suggests that it is necessary to make a detailed description of the components of instinctive behavior. Thus, it proposes to establish a distinction between the appetitive phase and the consummatory phase to refer to the motivated behavior.

With regard to the appetitive phase -or approximation, or search-, it has to do with the execution of different behavioral manifestations aimed at obtaining some goal or goal, which is responsible for the activation of the behavior instinctive It is a phase of heterogeneous, varied and non-specific movements of the species, being able to appreciate how, depending on the personal experience of each individual, he performs those movements and strategies that he considers appropriate to achieve the objective. That is, it is possible to observe that the appetitive phase is susceptible to be modified thanks to the influences of learning. As regards the consummatory phase, or execution phase, it has to do with the

Ultimately, if the individual can not carry out the consummatory behavior, since he did not achieve the objective that was proposed, he continues to carry out the process of attribution of causes, establishing why he has not been able to achieve that goal. This process of causal attribution is also important at this time, since, again, it allows the individual to establish the association, although in this negative case, between the expectation of achieving a specific goal and the concrete instrumental behaviors that have been carried out. , which is likely to introduce some type of change, such as those noted above, on future occasions, starting with the one immediately following the finding of failure, in the case that the goal interests you and you want to persist in the effort of get it.

Important concepts in the field of motivation

From what we have just commented, it seems logical to propose that in the approach to the study of motivation there are certain aspects that acquire a remarkable relevance. They are essential concepts to understand the functioning of the motivational process. Among these concepts are the following:

Need: it is a term used to refer to situations in which an organism experiences and / or manifests a shortage of some important element for its functioning. This situation of scarcity, and, consequently, the need derived from it, will only disappear if the organism is able to achieve that which allows it to return to its habitual equilibrium.

Pulsion: is a classic concept in the psychology of motivation. Broadly speaking, the term drive has clearly psychological overtones; in particular, it could be considered as the psychological manifestation of a situation of deprivation, shortage or biological necessity. Therefore, the drive has clear motivational connotations.

Homeostasis: is another classic and essential concept in the psychology of motivation, as well as in any discipline that is related to behavior. It is a concept introduced in psychology from the physiological works of Cannon (1932). This author guides his initial work towards the adaptive nature of the stress response to give full account of the threats and challenges to the internal environment of the organisms; that is, the threats and challenges to the homeostasis of organisms. The stress response, or fight-flight response, seemed a logical and effective mechanism. In some of his more classic works (Cannon, 1929, 1935), he defends that the presence of a stimulus, situation, or disturbing agent in the external environment, can cause a general mobilization in the organism, when the subject perceives those situations as threats, challenges or danger. This mobilization or generalized activation is intended to prepare the body to achieve a basic goal: the defense of their physical integrity before an eventual aggression to their homeostasis or internal balance. Cannon defines homeostasis in terms of stable states achieved at any time by the physiological processes that work in the living organism. Now, in the strict sense, the concept of homeostasis does not refer to a static state, but rather the opposite: dynamic equilibrium, constantly changing. Precisely, in these fluctuations, in the impossibility of remaining in a fixed, static point, the foundation of motivation is located, Because the body is always motivated to continue looking for that optimum point that guarantees its maximum performance and adaptation. Every time that the levels of some variable are separated beyond what is advisable (beyond their confidence thresholds) all the mechanisms are activated so that this subject recovers its normal values. These mechanisms include physiological and behavioral mechanisms. Thus, when the organism detects the existence of an imbalance in the level of some variable, the physiological mechanisms are put in place to restore the balance; If, with these physiological mechanisms, it is not possible to restore equilibrium, an unpleasant sensation is produced, which the individual interprets as a need for some element. As a result, the motivation to find that necessary element occurs,

Negative feedback: it is an essential concept to understand the self-hypnosis. It is a mechanism that allows to stop a process currently underway.

Thus, when there is a deficiency in some variable, the organism carries out the necessary processes to correct this deficiency, but the mechanism that tries to correct this imbalance stops at a moment: when the level of the variable in question reaches the appropriate values. Detention occurs thanks to negative feedback mechanisms. Negative feedback could be considered as a system of physiological arrest that puts an end to a drive. A drive initiates a motivated behavior and a negative feedback system stops it. Broadly speaking, the process is as follows:

from a relatively balanced situation, wear begins to occur;

as a consequence of this attrition, a deficiency occurs in some variable;

this deficiency, with connotations of necessity, generates the specific drive to the need produced;

the drive makes the subject feel motivated to look for how to solve their problem;

the approach or search phase begins, the first part of the motivated behavior;

after locating what can satisfy the need, the subject carries out the consummatory phase, the second part of the motivated behavior;

there is the reduction of the drive, the satisfaction of the need and the recovery of the balance or homeostasis;

again, wear will begin to occur, leading to another deficit situation, etc., and so on.

Distinction between phase of approach and phase consummatoria: it is one of the important contributions in the field of motivation. In fact, it allowed to solve with simplicity and elegance one of the most notable controversies related to motivated behavior. On the one hand, the motivation had connotations of instinctive behavior, not learned, whose essential objective was to guarantee the survival of the individual. On the other hand, empirical verification of the relevance of learning factors in motivated behavior was undeniable. In this theoretical framework, Craig (1918) suggests that it is necessary to make a detailed description of the components of instinctive behavior. Thus, it proposes to establish a distinction between the appetitive phase and the consummatory phase to refer to the motivated behavior.

With regard to the appetitive phase -or approximation, or search-, it has to do with the execution of different behavioral manifestations aimed at obtaining some goal or goal, which is responsible for the activation of the behavior instinctive It is a phase of heterogeneous, varied and non-specific movements of the species, being able to appreciate how, depending on the personal experience of each individual, he performs those movements and strategies that he considers appropriate to achieve the objective. That is, it is possible to observe that the appetitive phase is susceptible to be modified thanks to the influences of learning. As regards the consummatory phase, or execution phase, it has to do with the

Recently, an important work has been published, edited by Houck and Drickamer (1996), with the title Foundations of animal behavior: Classic papers with commentaries, in which, among other classic works, the relevant contribution of Craig is included, together with the comments of the editors, who emphasize the validity of this contribution.

realization of certain behavioral guidelines directed to the real materialization of instinctive behavior, once the goal or goal that triggered such instinctive behavior was achieved. The consummatory phase implies the execution of homogeneous movements, specific to the species, so that, regardless of the influences that this individual may have received from the environments in which it was developed, the consummatory phase will continue to run invariably. That is, the appetitive phase refers to an active sequence of behaviors that initiate a trial-error activity directed toward a particular goal. This sequence of trial and error can give rise to a behavior pattern that reflects the learning influences that the individual has received. The consummatory phase constitutes a series of reflex acts,

This structuring allows to differentiate between instinct and instinctive behavior. The instinct refers only to the consummatory phase of a motivated behavior, while the instinctive behavior is a broader concept, including the appetitive phase and the consummatory phase.

Association between necessity and requirement: it is a generally inverse association, since, the greater the degree of need, the less demanding the individual shows himself when it comes to satisfying that need. One of the most interesting formulations to demonstrate this association was proposed by Lorenz (1970), who suggests that, as time passes without executing a behavior that satisfies a basic need, in the organism there is an accumulation of energy - specific energy for that behavior-, which progressively increases the likelihood that said behavior will occur. The execution of the behavior in question would produce the satisfaction of the need and the release of the accumulated energy. It is the hydraulic model, with which you can understand how, as the amount of accumulated energy increases, the response threshold in the organism is reduced, making it possible for a stimulus of lesser intensity to trigger the response. Following this argumental idea, the progressive increase in accumulated energy can lead to the maximum decrease of the threshold (zero threshold), so that even in the absence of a stimulus, and spontaneously, the behavior of the organism can also appear: In this case, the vacuum activity occurs.

Our vision of motivation

It seems clear that, at least from a genetic point of view, every living being feels motivated to achieve the most essential objective: survival. In normal conditions, practically all the behaviors carried out by an individual are related to the increase in the probability of survival, although in our days, at least in the human being, such survival does not have the connotations of life. Or death. As a consequence, and by definition, the motivation is present in the organisms of all species, regardless of the place they occupy on the phylogenetic scale.

If the motivation is related to the desire to survive, every living being is motivated to survive, with the differential nuances that one wants to consider. It is evident that the most complex forms of motivation occur in the human being, and this is the area in which, preferentially, we must focus, without neglecting the analysis of the lower species, which, as is well known , provide relevant information to understand how the human being works according to what circumstances.

We believe that it is necessary to distinguish between motivation and motivational process. It is common to find that, when reference is made to motivation, it is referred to in terms of "intervening variable with activation and direction characteristics". That is, the terms of motivation and motivated behavior are often made synonymous. The motivation has to be considered as a process, in which the motivated behavior itself is included, but also includes other relevant variables, such as cognitive ones, in the form of analysis, assessment and attribution of causes, and affective ones, referred to the current state of the subject.

Based on the different perspectives and definitions presented, we believe that any defining attempt at motivation should refer to an adaptive process, which is the result of an internal state of an organism, which impels and directs it towards an action in one direction. determined. That is to say, there is an influence of external factors and internal factors, which activate the organism, and direct it towards the achievement of some objective or goal that is important for its welfare. In this interactive process, the meta objects are very important, with their incentive characteristics, as well as the expectation or probability of achieving those meta objects.

That is to say, to speak of the motivational process at present implies referring to the interaction between an individual and his environment, since, in the event that the motivational process occurs, it will end with a motivated behavior directed towards a particular goal, in a specific moment, on the part of a concrete individual.

Our definition of motivation is based on the importance of the components involved in the process. It is necessary to understand the orderly occurrence of the various changes that take place throughout the process. Our conception of motivation is the following: "Motivation is a basic process related to the achievement of objectives that have to do with the maintenance or improvement of the life of an organism. The process begins with the presence of some stimulus or internal or external situation, which triggers in the individual the need or desire to carry out a behavior to achieve the object implied in the situation; after the relevant evaluation and assessment, taking into account the availability of resources, the difficulty and the incentive value referred to the objective to be achieved, more the current state of the organism, the individual decides to carry out a conduct directed to the achievement of a certain objective -the one he considers most appropriate at that moment-; the proper motivated behavior consists of the phases of approach and execution -apetitive.

Identifying the motivation with the motivated behavior is correct if what is tried is to elucidate simply what attracts the attention and the interest of an individual at a certain moment, and how it carries out certain actions to achieve the objective in question. Now, if by motivation we understand the motivational process, it is necessary to consider the motivated behavior itself, of course, but, in addition, it is also essential to take into account, on the one hand, how an individual reaches the conclusion and decides which of the various objectives that it can potentially achieve becomes the specific goal towards which it directs its efforts, and, on the other hand, how it verifies the relative proximity of the goal as it carries out its motivated behavior.

Biological theories in the psychology of motivation

Introduction

The different approaches in the psychology of motivation can be grouped into three main perspectives: biological, behavioral and cognitive. In a certain way, the use of these three major sections makes it possible to trace the diachronic evolution of motivation orientations, locating two of the relevant aspects in their study. On the one hand, to delimit how they have been gestating and constituting historically the different approaches; and, on the other hand, to combine in a coherent way the three manifestations involved in any behavior (Palmero, Gómez, Carpi and Guerrero, 2008). They are not exclusive perspectives, but each of them has been predominant in certain stages, acquiring a greater social and scientific impact that coincides with the dominant orientation, while attention was still being paid to the other two. Currently, it is the biologicist and cognitivist approaches that are receiving the most attention from researchers (Palmero, 2008). Thus, the historical orientation in the study of the psychology of motivation represents an important solution for knowing how the events that have given rise to current consideration about this discipline were forged. Therefore, knowing the past will help us understand the present, while allowing us to hypothesize with great probability of success what will be the future in that discipline. The historical orientation in the study of the psychology of motivation represents an important solution to know how the events that have given rise to current consideration about this discipline were forged. Therefore, knowing the past will help us understand the present, while allowing us to hypothesize with great probability of success what will be the future in that discipline. The historical orientation in the study of the psychology of motivation represents an important solution to know how the events that have given rise to current consideration about this discipline were forged. Therefore, knowing the past will help us understand the present, while allowing us to hypothesize with great probability of success what will be the future in that discipline.

Ultimately, although we are aware of the impossibility of including all the theoretical approaches that make up what has been the study of the psychology of motivation, we believe that those that are addressed in this text offer a fairly approximate view of what it has been the theoretical past, and they allow us to understand the present, offering, in addition, a guideline of the immediate future. Each of these perspectives (biological, behavioral, and cognitive) can be diachronically drawn from the beginning of the psychology of motivation. We will devote the following lines to this theme, analyzing, in this chapter, the biologicist orientations, and, in the following, the behavioral and cognitive orientations, respectively.

Traditionally, the biological orientations in the psychology of motivation have focused on the study of the organic bases that allow understanding and explaining the different motivated behaviors (Palmero, 1998). In the eighteenth century, physiology is under the influence of revolutionary approaches emerged within the philosophy: mechanism and vitalism, fundamentally. It will be Marie François Xavier Bichat who claims the biological method for physiology. From that moment on, and throughout the nineteenth century, many discoveries were made, which will subsequently result in the identification and consideration of psychology in terms of scientific discipline. The influences of physiology, and of biology in general, have been important in the beginnings of psychology of motivation, reaching our days with great relevance. From this perspective, current work continues to focus on discovering the biological bases of motivated behavior, trying to locate the particular structures that participate and control each of the different behaviors that are the object of study; it is the legacy of the first theories of instinct and impulse theory. Some of the current orientations refer to the contributions of the new ethology, to the work around the concept of activation, and to the neurobiological bases of this process, and to the delimitation of the neurobiological bases of the motivational systems of approximation and avoidance.

In summary, from the biological model, motivation is understood as the cause that elicits behavior insofar as it is determined biologically. Therefore, from these approaches is to apply the principles, knowledge and methods of biology to the study of motivated behavior. For this, the different internal sources of the motivation are analyzed: the genetic history, the personal history and the physiological correlates of our subjective motivational experience, in order to establish causality relations with the behavioral variables (Quirós y Cabestrero , 2008).

Evolutionist theories

The biologicist approaches centered on the study of motivation have their roots clearly outlined in evolutionary works. In fact, the evolutionary arguments acquire with Charles Darwin his maximum expression, being reflected in his works: The origin of species (1859) and Expression of emotions in man and animals (1872). Through a process, which Darwin calls natural selection, one can understand how the environment influences considerably in the evolution and progress of the genetic changes that allow the best adaptation. Those whose genes allow them to interact better with their environment survive and have offspring, whereas those with genes that are inappropriate to adapt do not survive, so that such genes do not pass on and disappear.

In its beginnings, Darwin's theory had to compete with the two great orientations of the time: creationism and Lamarckism. Regarding creationism, it is a theological orientation that defended that the origin of the species can be explained from the divine intervention. This orientation had remained unchanged and unalterable from prehistoric times until the eighteenth century, with the birth of sciences such as geology and paleontology. The geology emphasized that the earth was much older than what the Bible proclaimed. Paleontology showed that life on Earth was much older than the Bible estimated, and that biodiversity had increased over time, this aspect contradictory with the creationist postulates. And, regarding Lamarckism,

According to this theory, environmental circumstances encourage organisms to alter their behavior. As a consequence of such environmental changes, those parts, organs and functions of the organism that are less used tend to invoke or atrophy, while those that are more used tend to maintain themselves and develop more. These changes can be transmitted to the new generations. For Lamarck, the environment "instructs" living beings, for it forces them to make enormous adaptive efforts to survive. For this reason, Lamarckism is often referred to as "instructionism".

As conclusions, Darwin states that, on the one hand, it seems logical to think that there are no species phylogenetically independent of the others; that is to say, in the evolution it is not possible to understand the species as watertight compartments: there is an interrelated evolution. And, on the other hand, Darwin also defends the ideas of effort and conflict, from which one can understand the great activity and effort-effort-of the members of any species to get the food with which to subsist, which intrinsically entails the necessary struggle and tension -conflict- with the environment, with members of different species, and even with members of their own, due to the unavailability of food for all of them.

In short, from the evolutionary approach, it is established that some motivated behaviors are genetically determined, others are learned throughout the life of a subject, and others can be understood as a combination of genetic and learned factors. . In any case, the objective pursued is adaptation, understood as a strategy that increases the probability of survival, even beyond the existence of an individual: survive through the descendants. As Alcock (1998) proposes, this adaptation is more flexible, fruitful and, of course, probable within a group. That is, the adaptation understood from a broad approach, since the benefits for a particular individual increase to the extent that the group to which it belongs is more numerous.

Finally, it should be noted that the theoretical influence of this type of reasoning is still valid today. Thus, to point out some of the contributions highlighted, Cziko (1995) proposes that the explanations range from providentialist arguments, through a kind of instructionism with Lamarckian connotations, to a natural and artificial selection, which could be understood as a second Darwinian revolution, susceptible to be applied in multiple fields and areas of current science. This process (providence-instruction-selection) has been repeated in many fields of vital dynamics, including different fields of knowledge.

Instinctivist theories

Genetically motivated behaviors have often been conceptualized as instincts. From this point of view, an instinct can be considered as a set of genetically programmed responses that occurs when circumstances are appropriate, without requiring prior learning for its execution (Palmero, Gómez, Carpi, Guerrero and Díez, 2005).

Instinct as the main explanation for the motivated behavior of both humans and lower animals reached its maximum importance at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. Perhaps, the importance achieved by this concept is due to the fact that it allowed establishing a bond of union between the lower species and the human species. It seems evident that the union between species was necessary to understand congruently the idea of ??"evolution" proposed by Darwin. However, this popularity reached by the concept of instinct led to the attempt to explain all behaviors as instinctive, with which it fell into a sort of nominal fallacy: the simple nomination of a behavior as "instinct x" only labels a Particularly a behavior, but does not explain such behavior.

Among the most relevant approaches in this orientation, it is worth highlighting the work of James and McDougall.

Regarding the approach of James (1890), it is emphasized that the instinct is synonymous with reflex, both behaviors being elicited by sensory stimuli, and occurring blindly the first time. For James, each instinct can be considered as an impulse, fact that allows to consider the argumentation of instinct in James within the psychology of motivation, since the impulse is considered as a force that acts on or inside the organism to initiate a behavior. James's theory explains the variability of the instincts by two great principles: on the one hand, he argues that habit (learning) can inhibit an instinct; On the other hand, he argues that some instincts are transitory, useful only during certain periods of time, or at certain stages of development. With these arguments, James will consider instinctive behavior as something intermediate between reflex behavior and learned behavior. James's argument attempts to state that by describing various instincts, and by explaining how those instincts may have been adaptive through the evolution of the human species, the motivation of behavior is being explained.

Regarding McDougall's approach (1908/1950) it is somewhat different from James's. Probably the dominant instinct theory at the beginning of the twentieth century was that of McDougall, for whom all behavior is basically instinctive. The task of the researchers has to do with the discovery and classification of the various instincts (motives) to know and understand motivation. For McDougall (1970), the instincts are more than mere dispositions to react in a concrete way. In fact, instinct, says McDougall, has to be considered as an innate or inherited psychological disposition to perceive and pay attention to the objects or stimuli of a certain type, as well as to act with respect to them in a certain way, or at least to experience an impulse related to that action. In the second part of McDougall's proposal is the motivational dimension of his conception of instinct. Notwithstanding the review of the innate characteristics of the instinct, it is possible to modify them due to the effects of the individual's own experience, with which it is possible to exercise some kind of control over whether or not the impulses for action. According to the author, each instinct is made up of three components: the cognitive, the affective and the conative. The cognitive component has to do with the knowledge that the subject has about an object that can satisfy the instinct. The affective component is the feeling that the object produces in the subject. The conative component represents the effort of the subject to approach towards, or move away from, an object. The cognitive and conative components are susceptible to be modified from the experiences and learning, but the affective component is unchangeable. Thus, according to McDougall's argument, each behavior consists of: a) thoughts about the goals that will satisfy the motive, b) subjective emotions that occur because of said behavior, c) proactive effort to reach the goal. McDougall's theory presents, on the one hand, the problem of being very anthropomorphic; and, on the other hand, as with James's theory, there is a difficulty in differentiating between instinct and learning.

Animal psychology, comparative psychology and sociobiology

The purpose of animal psychology is the scientific study of the behavior of animals, both in their innate and acquired aspects, highlighting how the multiple and diverse forms of behavioral manifestation fulfill the mission of guaranteeing an optimal adaptation to their environment. environment, achieving, ultimately, the survival of the individual and, by extension, of the species.

On the other hand, comparative psychology also focuses on the scientific study of animal behavior, but, in relation to human behavior. Thus, comparative psychology would be a part of animal psychology, dedicated to the study of the relationship between animal behavior and human behavior. In this regard, some authors have proposed that, although comparative psychology can be considered as a branch of psychology, its paradigm is not well defined, since researchers who study animal behavior are very often. inferiors take as a reference the ethological contributions. However, this is not always the case, since there are also clear direct references to psychological influence, pointing to John B. Watson as one of the precursors of comparative psychology.

In any case, the modern animal psychology arises based on the evolutionist works that had criticized the ancient orientation, orientation that was based on the conception of the species as watertight parts within the evolution; that is, a conception that denied the existence of phylogenetic evolution. In fact, the works of Lamarck and Darwin, together with those of Baron Georges Cuvier, represent the most important exponents of this new way of understanding the origin of species, which will culminate with the approach that man comes, phylogenetically speaking, of other lower species. This conception, to some extent revolutionary, is reflected in the two works already cited by Darwin, which will serve as a basis for later.

Ultimately, although the contributions of Darwin and Romanes favor the emergence of comparative psychology, it will be the later statements of Conwy Lloyd Morgan that offer a systematic vision of this discipline. Among his contributions, Morgan raises the Principle of parsimony-usually, also called Canon Lloyd Morgan, when applied in animal psychology, by virtue of which states that an action should not be interpreted as a result of the exercise of a faculty higher psychic if it can be interpreted as the result of the exercise of a lower psychic activity on the scale. The Canon of Morgan tried to prop up a psychological approach to the study of the behavior of the lower animals.

The work of Morgan is continued by Edward Lee Thorndike, who, in his work: Animal intelligence (1911), presents the basic assumptions to carry out experimentation in a rigorous way, making possible the replication and contrast of the results. In this sense, their relevant works on learning deserve special mention.

Resuming, the approaches and discoveries from animal psychology and comparative psychology can be applied to all areas of study and research of psychology, although topics related to learning and motivation are what have taken up most of the research. the work done. Particularly, aspects related to imprinting, maternal behavior, courtship and mating behavior, defense of the territory, aggression as a method to establish the social hierarchy, communicative manifestations in a group, etc. are dealt with preferentially.

For its part, sociobiology is another of the disciplines that, under the clear influence of evolutionary approaches, try to offer a holistic view of behavior. The birth of this discipline can be placed in the work of Edward O. Wilson: Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975), which shows that sociobiology aims at the systematic study of the biological bases of all social behaviors The psychology of motivation has assumed part of the discoveries reached from this discipline. Concretely, the subjects on which sociobiology has focused revolve around the hierarchical system established in the species, and, related to this, the struggle for the territory that each species has previously demarcated. Attention has also been devoted to the study of reproduction behavior in different species. In short, sociobiology has investigated all those behaviors that involve any form of social interaction.

Finally, we want to point out that both sociobiology, comparative psychology and ethology, although coming from the same approach, the evolutionists, start their journey with a different methodology and object of study. Thus, comparative psychology, as already mentioned, preferentially studies topics related to learning; the ethology focuses mainly on the study of unlearned behaviors; and, sociobiology emphasizes the study and knowledge of social behaviors, including human social behavior in their study. However, an increasingly clear trend towards the unification of certain aspects of the three disciplines is now evident. This is, precisely, the approach defended by Kaye (1997). The author argues that sociobiology proposes explanations tending to unify the natural and social sciences, since, with this formula, the probability of understanding individual and social behavior in different sectors of the phylogenetic scale is much greater. Since, Kaye indicates, the physical, behavioral and mental machinery is quite similar among phylogenetically speaking species, it is logical to understand the study of behaviors with similar methodology, procedures and theoretical proposals.

The ethological theories

Ethology emerges as a reaction to comparative psychology, centering its field of work on the concept of instinct. In this order of things, some differences can be established between ethology and comparative psychology: a) the ethologist is a zoologist by training. One could think of a close association between ethological theories and the approaches of morphologists, geneticists, ecologists and other biology specialists; b) ethologists dedicate themselves more frequently to the observation and study of the lower species-insects, fish, birds-while in comparative psychology the study and research with mammals predominate; c) the ethology works mainly in the natural environment of the animal studied, whereas comparative psychology uses pseudo-natural environments, generally built in the laboratory. However, there are more coincidences than the differences between both disciplines. In effect, ethology and comparative psychology coincide in the study of concrete aspects, such as the imprint, perceptive processes, the maternal-filial relationship, etc.

Ethology is a branch of biology related to the evolution, development and function of behavior. Its purpose is the study of the biological aspects of the behavior of individuals in their natural environment (Harré and Lamb, 1991). By definition, and by the studies carried out, the ethological current is solidly based on the Darwinian arguments of evolution. Although the eto- logical orientation is not limited to the study of instinctive behaviors, a large part of its research has emphasized instinct as the fundamental object of this discipline. Likewise, at least in its beginnings, the ethological discipline focused its studies on the lower species. Thus, Tinbergen (1951) argued that the main issue in the field of ethology must be: Why does an animal behave the way it does? The answer that Tinbergen proposes is that the behavior of any animal is the result of the interaction between environmental events and the internal conditions of that animal (which, to a certain extent, is the same response that is offered from the psychology itself). the motivation when the question in question is asked). However, ethologists, in a systematic way, have emphasized, on the one hand, the study of behavior in natural environments, and, on the other hand, they have studied meticulously the development of any behavior, attending mainly to genetic and phylogenetic factors. to a certain extent, it is the same response that is offered from the psychology of motivation itself when the question in question is formulated). However, ethologists, in a systematic way, have emphasized, on the one hand, the study of behavior in natural environments, and, on the other hand, they have studied meticulously the development of any behavior, attending mainly to genetic and phylogenetic factors. to a certain extent, it is the same response that is offered from the psychology of motivation itself when the question in question is formulated). However, ethologists, in a systematic way, have emphasized, on the one hand, the study of behavior in natural environments, and, on the other hand, they have studied meticulously the development of any behavior, attending mainly to genetic and phylogenetic factors.

As Lorenz (1971 a, 1971 b) points out, the ethologist must carefully observe the behavior of the subject observed in his or her natural environment. The activities under study are observed, recorded and accounted for, delimiting under what circumstances they occur each time, because, in this way, the function of the behavior can be understood. The result of these detailed observations forms what is called an etogram (Tinbergen, 1951). A very interesting methodological variation has been provided by Blanchard's team (Blanchard and Blanchard, 1990), proposing the etoexperimental methodology, which consisted in the observation of behavior in its natural environment, although introducing certain manipulations. that allow to appreciate the behavioral consequences of them. It is a clean procedure,

While all the aspects related to ethology have been studied with rigor and depth, probably one of the most play has provided is that which has to do with the detailed description of the components of instinctive behavior. In this regard, the most relevant contributions were made by Lorenz and Tinbergen (learning), Craig (appetitive phase and consummatory phase).

lCraig (1918) proposes to establish a distinction between appetitive behavior and consummatory behavior, also called appetitive phase and consummatory phase, to refer to the different components of instinctive behavior. As regards the appetitive phase -or approximation, or search-, it has to do with the execution of different behavioral manifestations aimed at obtaining some goal or goal, which is responsible for the activation of the behavior instinctive It is a phase of heterogeneous, varied and non-specific movements of the species, being able to appreciate how, depending on the personal experience of each individual, he performs those movements and strategies that he considers appropriate to achieve the objective. That is to say,

Regarding the consummatory -or execution- phase, it has to do with the realization of certain behavioral guidelines aimed at the real materialization of the instinctive behavior, once the goal or goal that triggered said instinctive behavior was achieved. . The consummatory phase implies the execution of homogeneous movements, specific to the species, so that, regardless of the influences that this individual may have received from the environments in which it was developed, the consummatory phase will continue to be executed invariably. That is, the appetitive phase refers to an active sequence of behaviors that initiate a trial-error activity directed toward a particular goal. This sequence of trial and error can give rise to a behavior pattern that reflects the learning influences that the individual has received. The consummatory phase constitutes a series of reflex acts, which are essential for the individual to use the stimulus achieved.

This cyclical motivational model proposed by Craig, to some extent, represents the basis of the future Lorenz hydraulic model.

oLorenz proposes the so-called hydraulic model, to explain motivation. According to this model, as energy accumulates in the organism (specific action energy), the probability of the behavior appearing, which would release the accumulated energy, increases. Thus, as the amount of accumulated energy increases, the response threshold in the organism is reduced, so that a stimulus of less intensity can trigger the response. Following this argumental idea, the progressive increase in the accumulated energy can lead to the maximum decrease of the threshold (zero threshold), so that, even in the absence of a stimulus, and spontaneously, the behavior of the organism can also appear. The vacuum activity has occurred.

For his part, Tinbergen raises the so-called hierarchical model to explain the motivated behavior, which is more detailed than the one argued by Lorenz. This other model proposes the existence of several centers connected to each other. In this hierarchy of control, each center controls the functioning of the centers below it, so that the upper center controls the operation of all the remaining centers, and the lower center controls the movements involved. in the fixed action pattern. For each general class of instinctive behavior there is a hierarchical system that controls the execution of that instinct. Each of the centers in this hierarchy receives influences, not only from the immediately superior center and the key stimulus itself, but also from other factors, such as: a) hormonal changes, b) internal sensory information, c) central nervous system activity. Subsequently, the initial work of Tinbergen (1951) has been revised (Houck and Drickamer, 1996, Tinbergen, 1996a), emphasizing that the behavior of individuals of lower species.

There must also be sophisticated manifestations, controlled by specific brain centers. All this following a hierarchical structure similar to that originally proposed by the author.

Although the Lorenz and Tinbergen models provide useful examples to understand instinctive behavior, some aspects have been criticized both from the ethology itself and from outside it. In any of the cases, in spite of the criticisms received, ethology as a discipline has highlighted its importance to study behavior in general, and has contributed significantly to the clarification of the fact that some behaviors are genetically preprogrammed. In this regard, some authors (Beck, 2000) emphasize the similarities between instinct and motivation. Thus, the most significant similarities between the two concepts would be the following: a) to explain the behavior, both use innate mechanisms based on learning; b) both use a sequential scheme of activities, both are induced by an impulse or physiological imbalance; and, d) both are based on the principle of homeostasis.

Theories of activation

These types of theories have tried to explain motivated behavior as a result of changes in the level of activation. In general, in these approaches it is difficult to establish differences between the terms of activation, motivation and emotion, which allows us to refer to models based on motivational and emotional activation (Palmero, 1998). In the field that concerns us here, the motivational one, the relevance of the reticular formation is emphasized, and, specifically, of the Ascending Reticular Activating System (sArA), to understand the behavior. There are two main principles on which these approaches are based: on the one hand, the works focused on the relationship between activation and performance, and, on the other, Regarding the relationship between activation and performance, in the previous works of Yerkes and Dodson (1908) it had already been emphasized that the best performance is achieved with average levels of activation. Thus, when the level of activation is reduced or lower than the average level, the performance decreases because the subject does not has enough "energy" to perform adequately; On the contrary, when the level of activation is excessively intense or above the average level, the yield also decreases, because, in this case, the subject has difficulty channeling as much energy as he possesses (Kerr, 1985). From this point of view, as Malmo (1959) points out, historically, theories based on the consideration of activation as a single and general process defend that the different body systems vary along a continuum from the minimum to the maximum tension For this author, the activation has certain fundamental characteristics:

has no directional functions in behavior; 

activation is a much broader concept than motivation;

it is not a state that can be inferred from the knowledge of the antecedent conditions by itself, because the activation is the product of an interaction between internal conditions and external stimuli;

does not fit very well within the ER paradigm;

it is a quantifiable dimension, and the evidence indicates that physiological measurements allow to verify this characteristic.

Regarding the observation of the physiological structures involved in the activation, the authors framed in the psychology of motivation are based on the work coming from the research of Bremer (1935) and Batini, Moruzzi, Palestini, Rossi and Zanchetti (1959). ), when trying to discover the physiological substrate of the sleep-wake cycle, and of Moruzzi and Magoun (1949), when studying the reticular formation and observe the activating characteristics of it. The conclusions raised refer to the following aspects: 1) between the isolated brain section of Bremer and the pretrigeminal midpontine section of Batini there is an area where the structures whose activity is directly involved in the production of wakefulness are located; 2) between the isolated brain section of Bremer and the pretrigeminal midline section of Batini there is an area in which the structures whose activity is directly involved in the production of sleep are located; and 3) the electrical stimulation of the reticular formation could awaken a sleeping subject.

For his part, Hebb (1955) proposes the Theory of the minimum level of activation. The author proposes that the activation response is identical to the impulse (drive), defining it as an energizer, but not as a guide. The energetic function of the impulse derives from the effects that the reticular formation has on the cortex, but the informative and guiding function is produced through the specific projections that, through the specific thalamic nuclei, reach the particular areas of the cortex involved in each case. In the Hebb approach, both the informative function of the stimulus and the alerting action in the reticular formation are important. That is, information and activation. When the stimulation is reduced, the response is not organized. With average levels of stimulation, the response is appropriate and organized. When the stimulation is excessive, the response is also disorganized, since there is an excessive activation of multiple cortical zones and conflict appears in the response. In the latter case, the excessive activating bombardment from the reticular formation could interfere with the delicate adjustments involved in the informative function of the stimulus, producing a response competitiveness, with the appearance of irrelevant answers, and diminishing the effectiveness of the subject in the important task that is being faced. To a certain extent, Hebb (1949) had already proposed a mechanism that would explain the decrease in performance when activation was excessive. For this, it had been based on the works of Lorente de No (1938, 1939). Indeed, Lorente de No (1938), disciple of Ramón y Cajal, as well as master of Hebb and Malmo, among others, had proposed the existence of reverberant circuits, to refer to certain groups of neurons that are activated jointly by effect of some sensory stimulus. Then, when it has been consolidated, the group of neurons has the capacity to function autonomously, although there is no stimulus to elicit its operation. Hebb (1949) proposes that when a stimulus reaches the brain, it activates multiple neurons, in such a way that a special form of durable connection is established between them. When this activation and synergic operation is repeated, the neural assemblies are established, which are sets of neurons that are functionally connected, and which cause the phase sequences to be triggered; that is, the firing or the sequential and staggered activation of the neurons that make up the assembly. For the author, the circulation of the neural impulses in one of these closed chains of neurons can be facilitated by impulses coming from outside through the sArA. When this activation and synergic operation is repeated, the neural assemblies are established, which are sets of neurons that are functionally connected, and which cause the phase sequences to be triggered; that is, the firing or the sequential and staggered activation of the neurons that make up the assembly. For the author, the circulation of the neural impulses in one of these closed chains of neurons can be facilitated by impulses coming from outside through the sArA. When this activation and synergic operation is repeated, the neural assemblies are established, which are sets of neurons that are functionally connected, and which cause the phase sequences to be triggered; that is, the firing or the sequential and staggered activation of the neurons that make up the assembly. For the author, the circulation of the neural impulses in one of these closed chains of neurons can be facilitated by impulses coming from outside through the sArA.

Malmo (1958, 1959), also raises an activation perspective to understand motivated behavior. To explain the fall in performance when the level of activation exceeds the optimal point, the author is also based on the work of Lorente de No (1939), who had argued that the increase in activation and the increase in performance they seem logical consequences of the increase in stimulation from outside. When there is overactivation, says Lorente de No, a neuron in the closed chain can fail in its response because the repeated activity to which it is subjected increases the response threshold, making it difficult to overcome it. The failure in a circuit neuron breaks the transmission sequence and arrest occurs; that is, although there is a lot of activation, the performance decreases. This same explanatory scheme was also defended by Malmo (1958, 1959), who, in short, proposes a neuropsychological approach to activation. In this way of understanding the relationship between activation and motivation, Malmo says that there is a continuum that extends from deep sleep, at the low end of the activation level, to the states of maximum excitement and emotional disturbance, at the end of the level higher activation. At any point along that continuum, the level of activation depends on the intensity of the stimulation that reaches the cortex through the sArA. From the point of low activation, the performance increases monotonically as the activation level increases. This happens until the moderate level of activation is reached and the performance is optimal; after that moderate level of activation, eventual increases in it are accompanied by a decrease in performance; This decrease in performance will be greater the greater the increase in activation beyond the moderate point.

In sum, the theories that argue a relation between activation and performance represent homeostatic models that try to explain the general equilibrium in subject ffel. When the activation is separated from the optimal point, the subject feels motivated to restore equilibrium. Thus, it is easy to understand the relationship between activation and performance, which would have an inverted U shape. That is, from the point of lowest activation to the optimal activation point with which the best performance is achieved, as the activation is increased, so does the performance. However, beyond this optimum activation point, the progressive increases in the level of activation also produce, progressively, a decrease or worsening of the performance.

Theories of homeostasis and regulation

These approaches focus on the location and knowledge of the mechanisms of the organism that control motivated behaviors, focusing fundamentally on the concept of homeostasis. This concept was introduced in psychology from the physiological works of Walter Cannon (1932). His initial works were directed towards the adaptive nature of the stress response to give full account of the threats and challenges to the internal environment of the organisms; that is, the threats and challenges to the homeostasis of organisms. The stress response, or fight-flight response, seemed a logical and effective mechanism. In some of his most classic works (Cannon, 1929, 1935), he argues that the presence of a stimulus, situation, or disturbing agent in the external environment can provoke, when the subject perceives those situations as threats, challenges or danger, a general mobilization in the organism. This mobilization or generalized activation has the purpose of preparing the organism to achieve a basic objective: the defense of its physical integrity before an eventual aggression to its homeostasis or internal equilibrium. For this, the agency will deploy all its resources, executing one of the two possibilities of adaptive action: fight or flee. The consequences of either of these two behaviors are related to the disappearance of the disturbing agent or situation. However, Cannon's formulation does not explain what happens when the disturbing agent does not disappear. This mobilization or generalized activation has the purpose of preparing the organism to achieve a basic objective: the defense of its physical integrity before an eventual aggression to its homeostasis or internal equilibrium. For this, the agency will deploy all its resources, executing one of the two possibilities of adaptive action: fight or flee. The consequences of either of these two behaviors are related to the disappearance of the disturbing agent or situation. However, Cannon's formulation does not explain what happens when the disturbing agent does not disappear. This mobilization or generalized activation has the purpose of preparing the organism to achieve a basic objective: the defense of its physical integrity before an eventual aggression to its homeostasis or internal equilibrium. For this, the agency will deploy all its resources, executing one of the two possibilities of adaptive action: fight or flee. The consequences of either of these two behaviors are related to the disappearance of the disturbing agent or situation. However, Cannon's formulation does not explain what happens when the disturbing agent does not disappear. executing one of the two possibilities of adaptive action: fight or flee. The consequences of either of these two behaviors are related to the disappearance of the disturbing agent or situation. However, Cannon's formulation does not explain what happens when the disturbing agent does not disappear. executing one of the two possibilities of adaptive action: fight or flee. The consequences of either of these two behaviors are related to the disappearance of the disturbing agent or situation. However, Cannon's formulation does not explain what happens when the disturbing agent does not disappear.

Cannon defines homeostasis in terms of stable states achieved at any time by the physiological processes that work in the living organism. Now, strictly speaking, the concept of homeostasis does not refer to a static state, but rather the opposite: dynamic equilibrium, constantly changing. Precisely, in this constant change the idea of ??motivation is based, while the organism is constantly motivated to maintain homeostasis.

The theories that have tried to explain this homeostatic regulation have emphasized the importance, either of local / peripheral mechanisms or of central mechanisms. With regard to peripheral theories, they are based on the idea that homeostasis, the principle that an organism must comply with, is achieved by means of specific mechanisms located outside the central nervous system. Examples of this type of formulation are found in the so-called Local Theory of Motivation by Kk Cannon and Washburn (1912). Regarding the central theories, they emphasize the idea that there are specialized brain areas that detect the changes that occur in the organism and, as a consequence, produce the activation of certain circuits to eliminate these changes and restore the normal balance and correct operation. These models argue that motivation occurs as a result of the functioning of the brain mechanisms, and not of the peripheral mechanisms. For that reason, such approaches receive the generic name of central theories of motivation.

In sum, from this perspective in the field of motivation, the essential thing is to discover the biological structures that allow us to understand the greater or lesser perfection in the execution of the different conducts, some of which are directly related to the own survival of the individual. It is, in short, the search for the association between biology and adaptation. The discovery of biological infrastructure can provide a large amount of information to know the motivational dimension of such behaviors.

Current situation

As discussed above, from the biological approaches, one of the fundamental objectives of the current work in the psychology of motivation has to do with the location and establishment of the biological structures involved in the activation process and in the systems motivational approaches and avoidance.

In fact, if we want to understand the relevance of the works that are currently oriented in this sense, it is necessary to remember how the initial localizationist formulations, made by Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke during the second half of the nineteenth century, suggested that each concrete part of the brain is responsible for a function. This approach was inspired by the ideas of the phrenologists Franz Josef Gall and Johan Casper Spurzheim, whose theory, in broad strokes, came to say that the external cranial configuration reflects the shape and dimension of the brain, so that, starting from of the different prominences and / or physical depressions presented by the head of a subject, the characteristics and peculiarities of said subject can be described. Subsequently, the works of Gustav Theodor Fritsch and Eduard Hitzig, with the introduction of the electrical stimulation method of the brain, they will achieve the discovery and localization of the motor centers in the cortex. In addition, in the following decade, David Ferrier discovers the location of the visual centers in the occipital lobes. These investigations serve to endorse localizationist approaches.

However, this approach suffers from the direct and important opposition of a new anti-location approach, formulated by Pierre Flourens in the decade 1840-50, and defended by Friedrich Leopold Goltz, Karl Spencer Lashley -when he tried to locate the nervous substrate of the learning and memory processes-, Henry Head and Kurt Goldstein, among others. This new way of understanding the

The particular relationship between brain function and behavior -which, as Kolb and Whishaw (1996) have pointed out, can be called neuropsychology- was based on the method of removing parts of the brain-also known as ablation-for the purpose of observing what functions disappear after the extirpation of some areas. The approach revolves around the non-existence of specific zones - contrary, then, to Broca's conception; rather, the brain functions as a whole. When a brain injury occurs, the damage caused is related to the amount of tissue destroyed, and not to the location of it. In spite of this, one can not avoid the relationship between certain neural structures and certain functions; thus, Flourens himself establishes different functions, namely:

In order to overcome the drawbacks of each of the two previous approaches, a third approach emerges: the interactionist theory, whose maximum exponent is John Hughlings-Jackson, who comes to say that there is a functional hierarchy of the system nervous. Thus, in this integration model, the hierarchical concept of brain function plays an important role. Jackson believes that the brain is a kind of sensorimotor machine. Although this model contains numerous functionally ordered hierarchical layers, Jackson has often posed three major levels: the spinal cord, the basal ganglia and the motor cortex, and the frontal cortex. Within this way of understanding the action of the nervous system, the works of Charles Sherrington and those of Kurt Lashley deserve special consideration. On the one hand, Sherrington, with his plan- tation on the integrating action of the brain, takes a big step towards future contributions. His work: The Integrative Action of the Nervous System (1906) is a clear antecedent of reflexological approaches, considering the reflex arc as the unit of analysis of the nervous system. On the other hand, Lashley focuses on various aspects related to brain function localization and intelligence, which is reflected in the monographic work: Brain Mechanisms and Intelligence (1929), which highlights the principles of equipotentiality brain and mass action. These two principles proposed by Lashley define the beginning of studies focused on the biological basis of memory and learning, with clear repercussions in the psychology of motivation and emotion. By brain equipotentiality is meant the fact that all neurons within a brain region that are involved in a particular sensory modality are equally capable of participating in the storage of a sensory event received by that region. By mass action is meant the fact that the whole brain participates in each behavior; therefore, the excision of any cortical tissue produces, in each of the possible functions, a deficiency that is proportional to the amount of tissue removed. By brain equipotentiality is meant the fact that all neurons within a brain region that are involved in a particular sensory modality are equally capable of participating in the storage of a sensory event received by that region. By mass action is meant the fact that the whole brain participates in each behavior; therefore, the excision of any cortical tissue produces, in each of the possible functions, a deficiency that is proportional to the amount of tissue removed. By brain equipotentiality is meant the fact that all neurons within a brain region that are involved in a particular sensory modality are equally capable of participating in the storage of a sensory event received by that region. By mass action is meant the fact that the whole brain participates in each behavior; therefore, the excision of any cortical tissue produces, in each of the possible functions, a deficiency that is proportional to the amount of tissue removed.

These are the assumptions on which the modern neurobiological approaches in the psychology of motivation are based, fundamentally those that focus on locating the neurobiological substratum of the homeostatic mechanisms that regulate the activation process, and those that try to delimit the structures neurobiological factors that control the motivational systems of training and avoidance. In the same way, we are also observing how the contributions of the new ethology or cognitive ethology (Bekoff, 1995), represent an important source of information.

Neurobiology of the regulation of the activation process

Among the current studies on motivation from a biological point of view, one of the most productive areas has to do with the neurobiological delimitation of the structures that participate in the activation process and its homeostatic self-regu- lation. Specifically, from the classic contributions of activation theorists (Lindsley, 1957, Lacey, 1967), we arrive at our days with much more sophisticated works in which the neurobiological dimension becomes an essential piece to understand how an organism seeks information to increase its activation, or ignores information to reduce the level of activation. So that, Activation has physiological, cognitive, and behavioral connotations. With regard to the physiological connotations of activation, they refer to the internal adjustment of the organism in those situations in which it has to carry out some important activity. As for the physiological components, the activation has several definitions or meanings. Thus, in the central nervous system, activation usually refers to the excitatory state of the neurons, or to the propensity of the neurons to discharge (shoot) when properly activated. With functional neuroimaging techniques, activation is measured from increases in the amount of blood flow. With electrophysiological recordings, activation is associated with electroencephalographic desynchronization. Outside the central nervous system, physiological activation is associated with the activity of the sympathetic system and certain glands or viscera, such as the heart. The level of activation of the peripheral autonomic nervous system reflects the level of activation that is occurring in the central nervous system. To establish the degree of activation in the autonomic system, various psychophysiological procedures have been used. One of the most used responses has been palmar sweating, considered as a psychophysiological dimension that allows detecting, among other parameters, the level of cutaneous conductance, the frequency and amplitude of specific and nonspecific skin responses, etc., all of them indexes related to the degree of sympathetic activation. Another widely used response is cardiovascular, specifically measured through parameters such as heart rate, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Regarding the cognitive connotations of activation, they refer to all the processes carried out by an individual from the moment he detects the presence of a stimulus until he decides that the stimulus is meaningful or not for him, deciding if he tries to achieve it, if it avoids it, or, simply, if it ignores it. That is, the activation with cognitive connotations is linked to the analysis of the significance of the stimulus or Regarding the cognitive connotations of activation, they refer to all the processes carried out by an individual from the moment he detects the presence of a stimulus until he decides that the stimulus is meaningful or not for him, deciding if he tries to achieve it, if it avoids it, or, simply, if it ignores it. That is, the activation with cognitive connotations is linked to the analysis of the significance of the stimulus or Regarding the cognitive connotations of activation, they refer to all the processes carried out by an individual from the moment he detects the presence of a stimulus until he decides that the stimulus is meaningful or not for him, deciding if he tries to achieve it, if it avoids it, or, simply, if it ignores it. That is, the activation with cognitive connotations is linked to the analysis of the significance of the stimulus or situation. And, regarding the behavioral motor connotations of the activation refer to the preparation for the action, with the eventual execution of the same. When the individual has decided that he will carry out some motor activity, he prepares energy for the organism to undertake this activity.

In this decade, Heckhausen (2000) has just reaffirmed how the motivational processes can be considered as the link between the environment and the human being, considered this in terms of their needs. Thus, motivational processes demand a control capacity that begins in the neurobiological dimension. It is necessary the existence of filters that, selectively, allow a greater or lesser activity of the organism so that it is always, or more often than not, within the margins of confidence that allow the best performance and maximum control over the changing situation.

Studies that try to verify the relevance of the neurobiological structures involved in self-regulation of activation have focused on the thalamus-cortex-striated-pale circuit, which, through different subcircuits, can be considered as the relevant axis On which the motivation is based from a neurobiological point of view based on self-regulation (Brown and Pluck, 2000). Specifically, certain structures of the limbic system, such as the cingulate cortex, as well as the hypothalamus and the striated and pale ventral, seem to be directly involved in such a process. The functioning of these structures allows us to understand how the organism is self-regulating in terms of the level of activation (Duffy, 1997).

According to Heilman (2000), the activation produced by some stimulus or event that may imply the beginning of a motivational process is closely linked to the attention, there being a reticular-limbic-cortical structure that can explain its functioning. In humans it has been shown that lesions of the inferior parietal lobe are associated with disorders in activation and attention.

Thus, the circuit that allows the level of activation to be maintained within certain confidence margins is structured in three sub-circuits: two positive feedback and one negative feedback. As indicated in previous studies (Fernández-Abascal and Palmero, 1995), only the negative feedback subcircuit allows us to understand adaptation and homeostasis.

In conclusion, the greater the activation of the sensory-motor cortex, the greater is the activating effect that it receives through the subcircuits I and II, but the sub-circuit III, which has inhibitory effects on the cortex, compensates for the excessive increases in Activation and maintenance is within the appropriate limits to ensure the best performance of the organism.

In addition to all this, in recent years the importance of self-regulation of the activation process has been highlighted to understand two of the crucial aspects in the motivational process, namely: the one related to the analysis of the significance of the stimulus and the one referred to the preparation for the action.

As for the analysis of the significance of the stimulus, there are several structures involved. Specifically, the sensory stimulation reaches the specific relay nuclei in the thalamus, and from there it is projected to the corresponding primary sensory cortex. Each of the primary sensory cortices projects to the corresponding association cortex-for example, when visual stimulation reaches the primary sensory cortex (Brodman's area 17), it is projected to the visual cortex of association (area 18 of Brodman). ). Subsequently, each of these specific areas of association converges in polymodal zones (of various types of sensory stimulation), such as the frontal cortex (periarqueate, prearranged and orbitofrontal).

If it seems clear that the novelty of the stimulus depends on the specific temporal association cortex of the stimulating modality, it is also known that the meaning that stimulus has for a person requires knowledge about what this stimulus implies. , as well as the motivational state of the organism at that moment. In this frame of reference, the motivational state of that organism depends, at least, on two factors: on the one hand, on the immediate biological needs, and, on the other hand, on the longer-term goals. In terms of immediate biological needs, some areas of the limbic system, especially the cingulate gyrus, together with the hypothalamus, control and monitor the internal environment, producing the states of need and the associated impulse. About, the projections from these nuclei to the polymodal and supramodal zones represent the beginning of the eventual motivational state that the organism will experience. That is, the information that arrives from the areas that control the internal environment of the organism up to the areas that are in charge of analyzing the significance of the stimuli that reach an individual can be considered of great value, since, in certain As a measure, it is probable that the significance of some stimuli varies depending on the state of the internal environment of that organism, that is, its biological needs. Regarding the longer term goals, it is well known that the frontal lobes are fundamentally involved in the planning thereof, as well as in the conduct aimed at achieving those goals (Damasio and Anderson, 1993). The projections from the frontal lobes - the place where the polymodal zone is located - to the lower part of the parietal lobe - the place where the supramodal zone is located - provides the information referring to the goals that are not motivated by immediate biological needs. The structures involved in the analysis of the motivational significance of a given stimulus configure a circuit in which the reticular formation, the thalamus, the sensory cortex and the polymodal and supramodal zones play relevant roles. In this order of things, as demonstrated by Moruzzi and Magoun (1949), the stimulation of mesencephalic reticular formation produces behavioral and physiological activation. Conversely, bilateral lesions of the mesencephalic reticular formation produce a coma state, whereas unilateral lesions produce an important decrease in behavioral and physiological activation in the cerebral hemisphere involved ipsilaterally. The polymodal (frontal) and supramodal (parietal) cortical areas discussed above permiten detect the significance that the stimulation that arrives has for the organism, fact that allows to understand the participation of these zones in the immediate and long term motivation in that organism. But, in addition, these zones can also exert a modulating control over the activation thanks to their direct influence on the mesencephalic reticular formation. This establishes a negative feedback loop between the reticular formation, the thalamus, the frontal cortex, the parietal cortex and, again, the reticular formation. Therefore, there is a mutual influence between the reticular formation and the cortex in the plane of the motivational significance of a stimulus. Thus, once from the polymodal and supramodal zones it is established that the stimulation that reaches the organism is significant, from these cortical areas arise projections fugal inhibiting, on the one hand, to the thalamic reticular nucleus, to inhibit its inhibitory effects on the specific thalamic nuclei, and, on the other hand, to the mesencephalic reticular formation, specifically on the mechanisms involved in the generalized and non-specific activation, to inhibit their activating effects on non-specific thalamic nuclei. The result is obvious: the specific stimulation is promoted from the thalamus to the specific sensory cortices. specifically on the mechanisms involved in the generalized and non-specific activation, to inhibit their activating effects on non-specific thalamic nuclei. The result is obvious: the specific stimulation is promoted from the thalamus to the specific sensory cortices. specifically on the mechanisms involved in the generalized and non-specific activation, to inhibit their activating effects on non-specific thalamic nuclei. The result is obvious: the specific stimulation is promoted from the thalamus to the specific sensory cortices.

In terms of the preparation of the action, in terms of motivation, in general terms, the behavioral manifestation can have connotations of approximation or avoidance. In both possibilities, it is convenient to remember that there is a preparation of the organism for the action. The activation denotes the physiological preparation of an organism to respond to a stimulus, directing the behavior towards the achievement of an objective or towards the avoidance of it. The neurobiological structures involved in behavioral preparation include the cerebral cortex, the basal ganglia, and the limbic system. One of the most relevant structures in this control circuit of motivated behaviors, both for approach and for avoidance, is the dorsolateral zone of the frontal lobes. Its relevance seems justified if we think that this area of ??the frontal lobe receives projections from the cingulate cortex and from other cortical areas implied in the association, as well as in the analysis of the significance of the stimuli and situations that affect an individual. On the one hand, the information coming from the area of ??the cingulate, together with the information that arrives from the hypothalamus, constitute the necessary variables to determine what is the internal state of the organism. That is, the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe receives relevant information related to the motivational state of the organism. On the other hand, the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe also receives information referred to the result of the significance of the stimulus,

So, after the analysis of the significance of a stimulus, also known internal motivational state of the organism, the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe sends various projections that allow you to exert control over the motor activation referred to the motivated behaviors. First, there are projections towards the dorsal striatum, which, in turn, has repercussions on the pale nucleus, and this transmits its projections to the thalamus, from which new projections will emerge.

Ones towards the frontal cortex. But, in addition, as we pointed out earlier when referring to the general model of self-regulation of activation, also from the pale arise projections to the mesencephalic structures, from which it is struck again on the fluted, closing the mechanism of self-regulation with this subcircuit III . With this system, the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe can exert control over the activation, fundamental aspect so that the possible posterior motor behavior is executed with precision. Secondly, from the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe, projections also appear towards the nonspecific thalamic nuclei, which, in addition to maintaining a certain level of generalized activation in the cortex, also exert their influence on some motor nuclei, collaborating in motor motivational execution. And, thirdly, from this cortical frontal dorsolateral zone, projections directed towards the premotor areas also arise, with which the organism is in a position to carry out some motivational motor activity, if that is the result of the decision making made. Ultimately, the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe is in a position to control the degree of activation necessary to carry out motor motivated behavior, be it approximation or avoidance. if that is the result of the decision making made. Ultimately, the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe is in a position to control the degree of activation necessary to carry out motor motivated behavior, be it approximation or avoidance. if that is the result of the decision making made. Ultimately, the dorsolateral area of ??the frontal lobe is in a position to control the degree of activation necessary to carry out motor motivated behavior, be it approximation or avoidance.

Concluyendo, from a neurobiological point of view, we estimate that the aspects related to motivation that are most positively influencing the knowledge of the procedural dimension, are the works that focus on the analysis that an individual makes to decide if it is relevant or not the stimulus that affects him, and how the organism is prepared to execute the appropriate motor behavior to approach that stimulus, in the case that the individual wants to achieve it, or to get away from it, in case the individual wants to avoid it.

Neurobiology of approach and avoidance motivation

It is true that the distinction between motivational systems of approach and avoidance is classical, in recent years its relevance has been emphasized and it is being reinforced especially in areas of application such as education (Elliot and Covington, 2001). ), or in those related to prosocial behavior, particularly in the willingness to lend and / or ask for help in situations of need (Ryan, Pintrich and Midgley, 2001). Likewise, this interest is being materialized also in the field of neurobiology, mainly in the face of the detection of eventual differences in the structures that control the motivational systems of approach and avoidance.

Similarly, the relevance of the study of these motivational systems has been highlighted in recent years by Beck (2000). According to the author, in order to establish that an intervening variable can be called motivational motivational or avoidance approach, the criterion is as follows: «[...] if there is a difference in the level of an intervening variable, and it is found related to a difference in the preference, persistence, or vigor of a behavior, we can affirm that said intervening variable is motivational. Depending on the na-

The nature of this difference - more or less - we will say that the variable can be classified as desire or aversion "(Beck, 2000, p.27). According to the author, it also seems essential to try to define what are the neurobiological mechanisms involved in these two motivational systems.

Among the current contributions in the field of the neurobiological delimitation of those structures involved in the motivational approach and avoidance systems are the already classical ones of Gray (1971), updated by him later (Gray, 1999), or the less classical one de Davidson (1999, 2000), on cerebral asymmetry and emotion, which has led to the formulation of a broad behavioral model with motivational connotations. The common denominator in both formulations consists in the study of the neurobiological bases of the motivational systems of behavioral approximation and avoidance.

Regarding Gray's contributions, they find their best location in the motivational dimension, since they are oriented towards the distinction between the appetitive and aversive motivational systems. The author focuses on a general motivational-affective system, and provides an important perspective to understand the biology of the approach and avoidance systems. From a homeostatic point of view, Gray postulates that each of these two systems responds to a specific type of stimuli with specific behavioral patterns. In addition, each of them is mediated by concrete brain structures.

With respect to Davidson's contributions, the evolution of his attractive proposal is based on one fact: in different works it has been argued that the previous zones of the left and right hemispheres are related, respectively, to the experience and expression of the processes of approach and avoidance. Much of this evidence is based on the existence of an asymmetry of alpha-electroencephalographic activity. In this frame of reference, the author proposes the existence of two basic circuits, each of them related to different forms of motivation. One of these circuits corresponds to the motivational approach system, while the other corresponds to the avoidance motivational system.

As regards the motivational approach system, the point of reference is the appetitive or approximation motivational system. According to Gray, the model is especially appropriate for understanding approximation motivation in general terms. Thus, when reward signals are detected, or signs of absence of punishment, the system of behavioral activation produces cortical activation and impels the subject to carry out a behavior. The paradigms referred to this system consist of the approach or active avoidance. Like the system of behavioral inhibition, the approach system or behavioral activation produces a significant increase in generalized or non-specific activation in the organism. The neuroanatomical structures that make possible the functioning of this system, participating in the activation of the organism, are the following: cortical structures; Thalamic nuclei; basal ganglia; and dopaminergic projections from the mesencephalon. The model

What Gray proposes has homeostatic connotations, because it allows to safeguard the general functioning of the organism from the control over the activation, be it general sensory, or emotional.

This pioneering contribution of Gray represents one of the areas in which more has been investigated in the last years. It is not surprising that this is so, since, ultimately, the research focused on the motivation of approach from neurobiological approaches continues to seek the detailed delimitation of the centers and brain structures that are linked to obtaining pleasure. In fact, since Olds and Milner (195) found the existence of certain brain centers associated with obtaining pleasure, there have been many works aimed at shaping this neurobiological substrate of reinforcement, and therefore also of motivation. Early work was speculated on with the probable role played by the hypothalamus to produce pleasure when stimulated,

So, we can say that, potentially, reinforcements have aspects related to information and to the production of satisfaction. A reinforcement increases the probability of the occurrence of a behavior because it provides information about the quality of the conduct carried out. In this case, the reinforcement serves to provide direction to the behavior of an individual, since it indicates the concrete activity that will have to be carried out in successive occasions. A reinforcement also increases the probability of the occurrence of a behavior because, generally, any individual seeks those results that bring him pleasure or satisfaction. In this case, the reinforcement has motivational connotations, because it provides an immediate hedonic pleasure, as well as a more cognitive and symbolic satisfaction,

The interest for the discovery of the neurobiological structures of the reinforcement is increased with the possibility of establishing a map of the cerebral areas whose stimulation produces reinforcement or aversion. Structures such as the amygdala, the septum or the prefrontal cortex, together with certain catecholaminergic projections from the brainstem, were revealed as important areas related to reinforcement. Subsequently, the relevance of the dopaminergic membody system was identified, ascending from the ventral tegmental area, and directed towards the ventral striatum, particularly to the acoustic nucleus.

Based on these findings, current neurobiological research has shown that reinforcement can be associated with at least two specific systems: a meso-cortico-limbic system, which involves motivational properties, and a nigro-striated system , which involves aspects related to learning and memory. So is. Although it seems evident that, in terms of motivation, there are many brain areas that seem to play some relevant role in the behavior related to obtaining pleasure or reinforcement, the main element is the meso-cortico-limbic system. This system, originating in the ventral tegmental area, located in the mesencephalon, includes projections that go to the acoustic nucleus-the ventral part of the striatum-and to the medial prefrontal cortex. The neurotransmitter used in this type of projections is dopamine.

Precisely, the acoustic nucleus is currently revealing itself as one of the most important structures for understanding the neurobiological substrate of the motivational approach system. This structure receives important information from relevant cortical areas, areas in which the sensory and informational characteristics of any stimulus or situation affecting the individual have been analyzed. In addition, the acoustic nucleus also receives information from the amygdala and the hippocampus. On the other hand, from the acoustic nucleus arise projections that, on the one hand, return to the mesencephalic zones, giving rise to the appropriate motor behaviors, and, on the other hand, they are directed towards the hypothalamus, from where the answers originate internal, in the physiological and autonomic planes. For that reason, it can now be accepted that, from the acoustic nucleus, the execution of motor responses (to the mesencephalic motor centers), endocrine and autonomic (to the hypothalamus) are controlled. The acoustic nucleus is part of a system that receives afferents from the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, also sending projections to the ventral pale and hypothalamus. This system is the one that, most likely, is related to the approach motivation. In this same sense, Hoebel, Rada, Mark and Pothos (1999), who formulate a neurochemical and neuroanatomical theory to explain appetitive behavior or approximation, are manifested. What interests them is discovering the mechanisms that initiate and stop a motivated behavior. The mechanisms related to the control of the motivational approach system include among its structures the ventral mes- aphenal tegmental area, the acoustic nucleus and the prefrontal cortex. However, it is also necessary to consider the influence of neurochemical factors, since the information provided by the neurotransmitters used by the fibers that make up these circuits can help to understand why an individual is attracted to an objective, and try to approach it and get it, and why an individual ignores or tries to get away from another goal. In this order of things, the dopamine released by the mesencephalic neurons that reach the acoustic nucleus contributes to the consolidation of associations between cognitive and behavioral aspects that are gratifying. Conversely, acetylcholine has opposite effects to those observed with the action of dopamine. In fact, in the same area in which the effects of dopamine are appreciated, it has also been found that acetylcholine weakens the association between cognitive and behavioral aspects, even leading to stopping or suppressing the behavior in question. According to the authors, the role played by dopamine in the nucleus acombeo has to do with the enhancement of sensory-motor associations that have been rewarding. leading even to stop or suppress the conduct in question. According to the authors, the role played by dopamine in the nucleus acombeo has to do with the enhancement of sensory-motor associations that have been rewarding. leading even to stop or suppress the conduct in question. According to the authors, the role played by dopamine in the nucleus acombeo has to do with the enhancement of sensory-motor associations that have been rewarding.

All of these discoveries outline the role of the acoustic nucleus in the motivated behavior, arriving to establish the existence of a close relationship between the functioning of this structure and the appetitive behavior or motivational approach, while it would be more difficult to propose the same relationship for the motivational consummatory behavior. In fact, the activity of dopamine in the nucleus acombeo increases remarkably during the anticipatory phase instrumental within the general framework of motivated behavior, and not when the individual performs the final part of that motivated behavior in the form of a consumptive phase. In effect, it seems that the acoustic nucleus is related to the appetitive behavior or motivational approach, but not to the consummatory behavior.

The functional participation of dopamine in the motivation of approach opens interesting paths focused on the controversy that has long been maintained regarding the neurochemical basis of reinforcement. Speculations about the involvement of dopamine and norepinephrine in the hedonic dimension of reinforcement may begin to be better outlined. The global hypothesis about the role of dopamine in the acoustic nucleus in the hedonic dimension of reinforcement may not be entirely correct. The fact that the depletion of dopamine in the acoustic nucleus is related to the motor effort referred to the achievement of an objective could suggest that dopamine is related to the motor dimension of motivated behavior aimed at obtaining reinforcement, and not with the hedonic dimension itself.

In summary, the implication of the acoustic nucleus in the instrumental responses that configure the appetitive or approximation phase in the motivated behavior is perfectly delimited, while, although it has not been possible to establish the same certainty for the consummatory phase, it is not completely ruled out. possibility that the acoustic nucleus also plays a role in this phase. In this regard, Maldonado-Irizarry, Swanson and Kelley (1995) have proposed that the acoustic nucleus could differentiate the operation of a surface area and another more internal or central area, so that it would be possible that different parts of the Acoustic nucleus were related to different phases of motivated behavior. If so, the acoustic nucleus could be related to the answers of the appetitive phase and to the answers of the consummatory phase. That is the objective proposed by Kelley (1999) in his research. To establish the eventual differential participation of these two zones of the acoustic number in the motivational approach system, they use histochemical connectivity. Kelley's results allow us to propose that the central region of the acoustic is the one that is involved in the approach or appetitive phase, controlling the manifestation of the multiple instrumental behaviors that aim to get the individual to approach the goal object, while the superficial region of the acoustic is more involved in the behavioral manifestations that characterize the consummatory phase. That is the objective proposed by Kelley (1999) in his research. To establish the eventual differential participation of these two zones of the acoustic number in the motivational approach system, they use histochemical connectivity. Kelley's results allow us to propose that the central region of the acoustic is the one that is involved in the approach or appetitive phase, controlling the manifestation of the multiple instrumental behaviors that aim to get the individual to approach the goal object, while the superficial region of the acoustic is more involved in the behavioral manifestations that characterize the consummatory phase. That is the objective proposed by Kelley (1999) in his research. To establish the eventual differential participation of these two zones of the acoustic number in the motivational approach system, they use histochemical connectivity. Kelley's results allow us to propose that the central region of the acoustic is the one that is involved in the approach or appetitive phase, controlling the manifestation of the multiple instrumental behaviors that aim to get the individual to approach the goal object, while the superficial region of the acoustic is more involved in the behavioral manifestations that characterize the consummatory phase. To establish the eventual differential participation of these two zones of the acoustic number in the motivational approach system, they use histochemical connectivity. Kelley's results allow us to propose that the central region of the acoustic is the one that is involved in the approach or appetitive phase, controlling the manifestation of the multiple instrumental behaviors that aim to get the individual to approach the goal object, while the superficial region of the acoustic is more involved in the behavioral manifestations that characterize the consummatory phase. To establish the eventual differential participation of these two zones of the acoustic number in the motivational approach system, they use histochemical connectivity. Kelley's results allow us to propose that the central region of the acoustic is the one that is involved in the approach or appetitive phase, controlling the manifestation of the multiple instrumental behaviors that aim to get the individual to approach the goal object, while the superficial region of the acoustic is more involved in the behavioral manifestations that characterize the consummatory phase.

In terms of inhibitory effects on behavior, prototypical paradigms refer to passive avoidance and extinction. Passive avoidance is related to the inhibition of behavior by the behavioral inhibition system in response to the punishment signals, while extinction is related to the inhibition of behavior by the behavioral inhibition system in response to the signals of frustration for no reward. As can be seen, there is an anticipatory characteristic in the activity of the behavioral inhibition system: it is the conditioned stimuli associated with the threats, including the potential threats of the new stimuli, which promote their activation. Ultimately, the system of behavioral inhibition is activated by stimuli that also give rise to the occurrence of anxiety, appreciating that the administration of substances that reduce anxiety also produce a significant decrease in the activity of said system. For that reason, Gray (1982) proposes that the behavioral inhibition system constitutes the neurophysiological substratum of anxiety.

The neuroanatomical structures that make possible the functioning of this system, participating in the activation of the organism are the following: 

the formation of the hippocampus;

the septal area; 

some structures of the Papez circuit; 

the hypothalamus; 

ascending noradrenergic and serotonergic projections from the cerulean and rapheencephalic raphe locus, respectively;

the prefrontal cortex. 

As Gray (1999) points out, the central characteristic of the system consists of the comparison function that is performed in it. From the information stored, the individual makes different predictions, which are compared with the information that the individual is continuously receiving from the outside world. This comparison function is fundamental to understanding what the resulting behavior will be in that individual. From a neurobiological point of view, it is correct to speak of a septo-hippocampal system to understand behavioral inhibition. Thus, the comparison function takes place in the subicular area, located in the formation of the hippocampus. This zone receives information from the prefrontal cortex - which prepares plans, expectations and estimates-, from the entorhinal cortex, which allows access to stored information, and from the thalamus, which transmits sensory information that comes from outside. From all the available information, the match is made between the information that comes from the environment and the information that the individual already has. In addition, the great communication that maintains the subicular area with multiple

Many important structures, such as the septum area and the Papez circuit, allow you to carry out the execution of the appropriate behaviors or their inhibition. Gray has indicated the steps that take place for the subicular area to act as a comparator: 

verification of the information that arrives from the environment; 

use of all the information that the subject has stored;

from all available information, predict what will be the next step in the perceptual world or environment; 

compares the current state of the environment with the predicted state; 

decide if there is similarity between both states; 

if there is similarity, proceed to the usual action; 

if there is no similarity, stop the current action programs, the behavioral characteristics typical of the behavioral inhibition system appear, and try to get more information to solve the difficulty that has interrupted the program.

From the point of view of the avoidance motivational system, when the comparison function results in discrepancy or uncertainty, the activation of the behavioral inhibition system occurs which, among other things, gives rise to the affective experience of anxiety. Therefore, the reduction or suppression of anxiety through the administration of drugs can be considered as an appropriate way to understand the functioning of the behavioral inhibition system.

In this order of things, Davidson (1999) proposes a procedure that can provide information to know the neurobiology of the avoidance motivational system. Specifically, he points out that, using classical conditioning with aversive connotations, it is possible to detect which cerebral areas participate in order for extinction to occur. One of the areas in which greater activity is seen through this type of procedure is the prefrontal cortex, particularly the orbitofrontal and dorsolateral zones. They are interesting results, taking into account that the prefrontal cortex is one of the relevant areas also in the proposal made by Gray (1999) when referring to the system of behavioral inhibition.

In short, from the results that are currently available regarding motivational neurobiology, the participation of certain structures seems to be quite consolidated. As regards the motivational approach system, the neurobiological structures are located in the medial prefrontal cortex and, especially, in the acoustic nucleus - in particular, the superficial zone of the nucleus seems to be directly involved in the convergence of information. - tivationally relevant. In fact, the neurons in this area increase their firing rate at the moment when the expectation of reinforcement occurs. On the other hand, among the neurobiological structures involved in the motivational system of avoidance, several zones are included, such as the amygdala, the polar region of the temporal lobe and the hypothalamus. although, in a generic way, the formation of the hippocampus and the septal area seem to be the areas that have a greater impact on the inhibition. The neurotransmitter that seems to play a prominent role in the functioning of this system is gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). However, it is not perfectly clear how it could exercise its function in the system of behavioral inhibition. The fact that neurons that have receptors for GABA also have receptors for benzodiazepines makes it is not perfectly delimited how it could exert its function in the system of behavioral inhibition. The fact that neurons that have receptors for GABA also have receptors for benzodiazepines makes it is not perfectly delimited how it could exert its function in the system of behavioral inhibition. The fact that neurons that have receptors for GABA also have receptors for benzodiazepines makes think about the existence of benzodiazepines intrinsically produced by the organism itself. Thus, benzodiazepines potentiate the inhibitory action of GABA, since, in the first place, benzodiazepines bind to their specific receptors, in order to, secondly, modify specific GABA receptors, making them especially sensitive so that GABA can exert its inhibitory effect. However, as we indicated, the exact mechanism of operation is not known to perfection.

The new ethology

The reorientation observed in the field of ethology is related to human ethology, which currently represents one of the most interesting aspects within this field. The representative par excellence in this way of seeing the interspecific continuity in the style of evolutionism is Eibl-Eibesfeldt. His work Love and Hate: The Natural History of Patterns of Behavior (1972) is a cornerstone in terms of the essential goals and guidelines of human ethology. In the particular field of aggression behavior, which is one of the topics that Eibesfeldt has developed the most, it is proposed that this behavior is instinctive, appreciating that, when animals of lower species can not carry it out, the probability of what happens, even though there is no especially appropriate stimulus to trigger such behavior. There is an innate need to manifest aggression behavior. This innate character of aggression behavior also includes the human species, proposing that war, as an expression of that innate need, is inevitable (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1972). In subsequent works (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 198) it is emphasized that, although many patterns of human behavior are innate, it seems necessary to reformulate some definitions and conceptual delimitations, in any case, the extensive research carried out in this topic has allowed to compare cultures of very diverse nature and level of development, being able to verify aspects of great interest in topics such as facial expression or speech, as for the modification of basic ideas, As we have just commented, Eibl-Eibesfeldt already pointed out that, although it seems undeniable that behavior is partially determined by genetics, it is probably necessary to modify certain deep-seated considerations, including instinct. Thus, as some authors have recently indicated (Beck, 2000), the psychologists and biologists who write today about learned and unlearned behavior coincide in this partially genetic determination of behavior; however, they hardly use the term instinct, unless they do so as a historical reference to how much ethology has contributed to the descriptive and functional knowledge of behavior. It seems more pertinent to refer to a genetic dimension that establishes the potential for the specific behaviors of the species. Then, Depending on the environmental conditions in which each individual develops, that potential for a certain behavior will be more or less probable. In this frame of reference, we believe that one of the most relevant contributions, due to the openness that it supposed at the time when understanding the implication of genetic and learned factors in the behavior of any species, has to do with what Mayr (197ha called programs)open and closed: the first can be modified by experience, by learning, while the second (instincts, in Mayr's argument) can not be modified by experience or by learning. The program concept used by Mayr is very similar to Seligman's concept of preparation. For Seligman (1970), there are (a) prepared behaviors, which are either instinctive behaviors or behaviors that are quickly and easily learned;

pppp (b) contraprepared behaviors, which are behaviors that are very difficult to learn, including behaviors that are impossible to learn; (c) between the two extremes discussed are unprepared behaviors, which are behaviors that involve the association between environmental stimuli and responses of the organism; These associations tend to be arbitrary, and learning is usually slower and more expensive than in prepared behaviors. The contributions of Mayr and Seligman are relevant and useful. In fact, as can be seen in some more recent works (Rozin, Haidt, McCauley and Imada, 1997, Rozin, Haidt and McCauley, 1999), with the use of explanations similar to those commented, it is possible to understand how the emotion of disgust it is functional, not only in the biological field, in which its origins are located (ingestion of food), but also in the great diversity of social, moral, etc. situations, in which, quite often, this emotion occurs. In this frame of reference, Ferris and De Vries (199) have applied the new ethological arguments - essentially that of preparation - to explain the aggressive behavior and affiliation behavior, emphasizing the relevance of the neurobiological substratum, also present in the human being. , this fact that could explain certain behaviors apparently not rational in the human species.

Within this orientation of human ethology, the behaviors that have to do with sex and aggression are the ones that have attracted the most attention from researchers. In the field of sexual behavior, it is worth highlighting a work recently carried out by Bereczkei, Voros, Gal and Bernath (1997), in which these authors study the sexual preferences of men and women when choosing a partner. Some of the most striking results are the following: a) women consider more than men the economic income of their potential partner; b) women who offered signs of greater physical attraction were the most requested by men; c) the greater the attractiveness, as well as the physical condition, that the women believed they possessed, greater were the requirements that required their potential partners in the financial and occupational levels; d) reciprocally, the higher the economic level and the occupational status of men, the more demanding they were in terms of the degree of physical attraction in the potential partner; e) women greatly appreciated the involvement and family dedication of their potential partner. As the authors comment, to a certain extent, it is still a different form of natural selection, in which each of the participants tries to achieve the greatest likelihood of adaptation, in the form of reproduction and upbringing of the children. In the field of aggressive behavior, Koolhaas,

It provides more control and adaptation to the environment. In addition, any of the possibilities of aggression response that an individual shows to adapt to the environment, including expressive manifestations, can be considered as a motivational strategy associated with certain specific cerebral neurochemical states, as well as certain systems and circuits. neuroanatomical

In this framework of reference and related to aggression, another author, Schiefen- hoevel, a direct disciple of Eibl-Eibesfeldt, has been investigating since the eighties the interaction between the instinctive and learned dimensions to explain this motivated behavior in the species human, highlighting how, on the one hand, the genetic dimension seems undeniable, and how, on the other hand, it is essential to consider the cultural dimension, which exerts an important influence on the instinctive execution of motivated behavior such as aggression. Zion. More recently, the author (Schiefenhoevel, 199 published the results of a suggestive research on non-verbal communication.) Thus, there is a clear similarity in the manifestations, gestures and expressions among individuals of different species, that which proposes the impossibility of understanding the motivated behavior of the human being without resorting to social variables, and fundamentally to cultural variables: motivation is the result of cultural influences. In this second perspective, the individual as such is not important, since what counts is the group as a whole, with its inescapable influences on each and every member that makes it up. These theoretical orientations have been verified empirically in the applied field, particularly in the workplace (Erez, 1997), highlighting how it seems essential to consider cultural factors to understand the motivational dimension of the behavior of employees and managers. Even, as Geary, Hamson, Chen, Liu and Hoard (1998) have pointed out, cultural influence is inescapable when one wants to understand how biases in cognitive functioning occur, referred to motivational preferences, the choice of attractive objectives, etc. The interaction between evolutionary and cultural factors is present and exerts its impact from the first moments in which an individual interacts with others. However, the effects of such influence begin to become apparent when that individual begins their training and learning in the school setting. The interaction between evolutionary and cultural factors is present and exerts its impact from the first moments in which an individual interacts with others. However, the effects of such influence begin to become apparent when that individual begins their training and learning in the school setting. The interaction between evolutionary and cultural factors is present and exerts its impact from the first moments in which an individual interacts with others. However, the effects of such influence begin to become apparent when that individual begins their training and learning in the school setting.

One of the orientations that human ethology is promoting refers to what we might call reciprocal influences. Thus, it is well known the important contribution from research and study carried out with subjects of lower species, both in the open field and in the laboratory, to get to know better human behavior. But, now the opposite effect is taking place; that is to say, from the most recent orientations of psychology, basically cognitivist approaches, an important amount of resources is being provided to establish with a greater or lesser degree of certainty the existence of higher cognitive processes in the individuals of species. inferiors This is what Bekoff (1995) calls cognitive ethology, which could be considered as the discipline that, from evolutionary and comparative approaches, it studies the thought processes, the conscience, the beliefs or the rationality of non-human animals. What underlies this type of formulations is a form of propositivity in the behavior of lower animals, which, as proposed by Millikan (1997), could be of two types: on the one hand, biological proposition, related to satisfaction of basic biological needs in a blind, instinctive way, and, on the other hand, an intentional proposition-let us express it-that implies a more elaborate cognitive activity, in which the making of plans is included, the possession of a cognitive map, etc. In this same sense another author has been pronounced (Burghardt, 1997), who, in his work Amending Tinbergen: A Fifth Aim for Ethology, proposes that a fifth basic objective be included in the ethology, in addition to the four proposed by Tinbergen, which we explained above, namely: knowledge of the private experiences of the researched subject. This type of proposal implies the consideration of the cognitive dimension of the subject being studied, even if it belongs to an inferior species. The methodology that can be used also includes anthropomorphism, although Burghardt proposes a strict critical attitude in the interpretations. Modestly, we estimate that this type of approach in which a methodology based on anthropomorphism is carried out can result, at least, confusing, and can become methodologically incorrect if the limitations of this methodology are not explained previously, and what the speculations that are made from the results obtained. If we assume that anthropomorphism is a term referring to the attribution of human thoughts, feelings and motives to individuals of non-human species, we may be making a mistake. Let's see. While there does not seem to be a discussion regarding the existence of emotions and motives in the individuals of many lower species, the existence of thought is a sufficiently unknown subject for such attribution to be made. At best, as indicated by some authors (Davis, 1997, Zayan and Vauclair, 1998), we could talk about cognitive activity, but not about thinking. In an animal of lower species, we can locate the activation of certain cortical zones when it tries to solve problems, or when it relates and communicates with its peers; but, what mental representation is taking place at that moment, as well as the content of the cortical activity, are questions for which, at this moment, it is difficult to find appropriate answers. In recent years, some authors (Griffin, 1992, Gould and Gould, 199 have proposed a suggestive challenge in defending the existence of a mind in animals of lower species. They have proposed a suggestive challenge in defending the existence of a mind in animals of lower species. The They have proposed a suggestive challenge in defending the existence of a mind in animals of lower species. The

diferencia between the mind of these individuals and the human mind, say the authors, is just a matter of complexity, but we can not talk about qualitative differences. Moreover, the study of the mind of individuals of lower species can help to comprehend in a more exhaustive way the human mind (Gould and Gould, 1994). In addition, the verification of strategies that go beyond survival-oriented behaviors, hunting planning, group defense, etc., suggest the more than probable existence of a mind, simpler if you like, but mind at last, in these individuals of lower species (Griffin, 1992).

Resumiendo, the new Human Ethology is going well beyond what Eibl-Eibesfeldt saw with its already classic formulations, proposing that ethology does not have to make any kind of distinction with the subjects studied, because in all species Varied designs can be applied to better understand the behavior. In our days, with clear evolutionary links, it is argued that the findings in the knowledge of the behavior of any species, even if they are not completely extrapolated to another, can provide relevant information. In this sense, and to cite one of the important areas of research, it can be affirmed that motivational research from an ethological approach is essential to understand the neurobiological dimensions of Motivation in the human being (Depue and Collins, 1999). In fact, the neurobiological research with inferior species has allowed us to establish certain common characteristics in the area of ??mammals, which, over time, has been able to be ratified in humans. The case of the dopaminergic participation, with its influences on the striated, is one of the arguments that are currently defended to understand how the human being is able to regulate the level of activation involved in the motivated behaviors. But, and we estimate that no less important, it is also possible to consider the inter-specific influence in the opposite direction. Thus, with nuances, of course, one can appreciate at present how the knowledge of human behavior can serve as a reference to bring us closer to the unobservable functioning of individuals of lower species. Neurobiological research with lower species has allowed to establish certain common characteristics in the mammalian area, which, over time, has been able to be ratified in humans. The case of the dopaminergic participation, with its influences on the striated, is one of the arguments that are currently defended to understand how the human being is able to regulate the level of activation involved in the motivated behaviors. But, and we estimate that no less important, it is also possible to consider the inter-specific influence in the opposite direction. Thus, with nuances, of course, one can appreciate at present how the knowledge of human behavior can serve as a reference to bring us closer to the unobservable functioning of individuals of lower species. Neurobiological research with lower species has allowed to establish certain common characteristics in the mammalian area, which, over time, has been able to be ratified in humans. The case of the dopaminergic participation, with its influences on the striated, is one of the arguments that are currently defended to understand how the human being is able to regulate the level of activation involved in the motivated behaviors. But, and we estimate that no less important, it is also possible to consider the inter-specific influence in the opposite direction. Thus, with nuances, of course, one can appreciate at present how the knowledge of human behavior can serve as a reference to bring us closer to the unobservable functioning of individuals of lower species.

Conclusions

A way of closing, we can highlight two aspects that reflect the relevant points of what has been the development of the biological approach in the study of motivation. On the one hand, we consider that it is essential to continue advancing in the knowledge of the structures that participate and that allow the development of motivated behaviors, both in terms of the activation and interest that a specific stimulus or objective can produce, as well as Regarding the way an individual tries to achieve that goal. And, on the other hand, it must be taken into account that knowledge of the biological mechanisms involved in motivation is related to everything related to reinforcement systems, therefore, individuals always experience motivation when they expect to reach ,

On everything, and independently of the orientations that may predominate at a given moment, the researches aimed at getting a better knowledge of the biological mechanisms involved in the motivated behavior, and, more generically, in the motivational process, constitute aspects which can not be dispensed with in a science like the psychological one.

Behavioral theories in motivation

Introduction

At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, some writers such as W. James (1890) and McDougall (1908/1950) with their list of instincts, argued that most of the behavior of living beings, including humans It was instinctive in nature - innate character of behavior. The instinct as the explanatory motor of behavior. The innate character of instinct does not require the learning processes to initiate, maintain or change a behavior; that is, the role of the environment is reduced to the presence of the appropriate stimulus that automatically triggers the behavior associated with the instinct in question (eg, the signal stimulus). However, the circularity of the definition of instinct and the proliferation of taxonomies of instincts, in addition to the added difficulty of differentiating between an instinctive behavior-innate-of another learned one, it led to its rejection in American psychology. However, European psychology maintained its study in the field of ethology.

Woodworth (1918) proposes the concept of impulse as an internal factor of the organism responsible for behavior. For this, motivated behavior occurs as a result of changing bodily needs, whose purpose is to get a stimulus from the environment that meets those needs and, thus, reduce the momentum. This consideration of motivation in terms of momentum was subsequently developed, between the years 1940 and 1960, by other authors such as Hull and Spence.

On the other hand, Thorndike (1913) maintains that the factor responsible for the behavior of living beings must be sought in the consequences of the response, which are what will influence the future development of the occurrence of such behavior. That is, the motivation of a behavior depends on the pleasurable or unpleasant consequences of previous behaviors. Therefore, from a hedonistic point of view, the probability of the occurrence of a behavior depends on the pleasurable or unpleasant nature of the consequences of such behavior carried out on previous occasions. If the consequences were pleasant, this behavior will be repeated; while it will be avoided if these were unpleasant.

Also at this time, the first decade of the twentieth century begin to proliferate the contributions on learning. From behaviorism, highlighting the figure of Watson (191 as the main representative of it.

From this approach, behaviorism, the predominance of the environmentalist perspective over the mentalist and / or instinctive perspective of the time leads to the search for environmental or external factors such as those responsible for the motivated behavior -paradigma ER- (stimulus-response). ). The living being becomes a passive and reactive being before the stimulation of the environment.

During this same period, other authors, Köhler (1925) and Tolman (1932), dis- play the ER (stimulus-response) paradigm and propose mentalist terms as the factors responsible for motivated behavior. They incorporate the organism (O) in this scheme: EOR (stimulus-organism-response). New ideas are introduced such as the anticipation of future events, the choice between different response alternatives, the intention, the proposition, etc. These are concepts that emphasize the active character of the subject against the merely reactive or passive character before a stimulus that defended behaviorism. In these proposals, the antecedents of cognitive psychology are frayed, which considers the subject as an active information processor, whose maximum apogee would emerge from the 50s-60s,

Within behaviorism different explanatory expositions of behavior arise. In the decade of the 40-50 years, the importance of the impulse proposal with the works of Hull (1943, 1951, 1952) stands out. The relevant contribution of the author consisted in establishing a series of mathematical relationships between the elements responsible for the motivated behavior.

In the 1910-1920 decade, behaviorism became the dominant current in the field of psychology. From the 1960s, from the information processing approach, behaviorism is replaced by the rise of cognitivist approaches.

In general terms, we maintain that motivation "is a term that describes the forces acting on or within an organism to initiate and direct its behavior" (Palmero, 1993, 2005, page 2, Palmero , 2008). From this consideration, the factors that activate the behavior of an organism can be internal to the organism itself or external to it. The terms instinct and impulse refer to factors, processes or forces internal to the organism itself; whereas, motivation from the perspective of learning appeals to external factors, to the presence of a specific stimulus (classical conditioning) or to the contingent consequences of behavior (reinforcement).

The general objective of this chapter is to describe different conceptions of the term motivation from a behavioral approach, taking into account that motivated behavior is the result of the participation of both internal factors and external or environmental factors to the organism.

Next we will describe the main theoretical approaches that approach the study of motivation from a behavioral perspective.

Impulse theories

The common idea that underlies the group of theories about the impulse is the existence of an energy in the organism that impels him to act. The sequential description would be the following: in the organism there is a need that produces an accumulation of energy and this generates an impulse in the subject; that is, energy is the factor responsible for the initiation of a behavior to satisfy the need and thus, reduce the impulse.

Therefore, the motivated behavior is the result of the changing corporeal needs, whose purpose is to achieve an object of the environment to satisfy the needs and thus, reduce the impulse.

In general, behavior, both human and animal, is understood as the result of the interaction of the organism with the environment, which provides the appropriate stimuli to which the subject responds.

The term impulse replaced the term instinct of the time and had a general acceptance by the scientific community due to the following factors (Bolles, 1967/1975):

The notion of impulse as an energetic dimension of behavior maintained a certain similarity with the notion of instinct as motor of behavior, so it was relatively easy to apply the explanations of the latter to the new term. 

The dynamic character implicit in the notion of the impulse against the static character of behaviorism.
 
The impulse allowed the linking of the biological aspects of the organism with the behavioral aspects.

Woodworth contribution

In the scientific literature the term impulse is attributed to Woodworth (1918), although the original idea of ??force that acts from within the organism and impels the latter to act belongs to Sigmund Freud (1915/1949). Freud used the term trieb, which was translated into English as an instinct because the term impulse did not exist in the field of psychology (Cofer and Appley, 1979). Later, the meaning of it led to its translation as an impulse (Petri, 1991), although some authors disagree about it (Cofer, 1984).

However, there are differences between the two authors regarding the term impulse. For Freud, the term energy refers to psychic energy that, sometimes, is linked to the activation of the nervous system or to the existence of a hydraulic storage and energy flow system (Cofer and Appley, 1979). Following the author's theory, psychic energy accumulates in the id, which produces a pressure that can not be avoided, unlike external factors. Psychic energy is related to the existence of a need. The execution of a behavior is related to the satisfaction of the need and the reduction of the impulse (psychic energy / drive). Therefore, the accumulation of energy (physical or psychic) ??is aversive, with the nervous system being responsible for reducing stimulation. He called this phenomenon the principle of constancy. Following this principle, the reduction of excessive stimulation is perceived as pleasurable and the increase of it as unpleasant.

On the other hand, the term force has four characteristics: a) the pressure or intensity of the force: the increase in pressure increases the motivational level of the subject; b) the goal, refers to satisfaction, and is achieved by varying the levels of stimulation; c) the object is the means to obtain satisfaction, which can be internal or external; and d) the source is the bodily processes that activate the force in the subject.

Woodworth (1918) differentiates between the terms force and mechanism. Mechanism is related to how behavior occurs; whereas, the force or impulse is related to the reason for the behavior. For this author, the existence of an impulse is necessary for the behavior to occur. The impulse is originated by the needs that exist in the organism. That is, the need activates an impulse and this behavior.

The impulse has three characteristics: intensity, direction and persistence: 

the intensity: it is the activation or degree of response that the impulse produces; 

the direction, which refers to the dimensions of approximation and avoidance of the behaviors produced

the persistence, which is the continuity of a behavior until the need is satisfied; that is, until the difference between the current situation of the organism and the optimal situation is reduced.

Subsequently, Woodworth (1958) argues that the imposed is an essential construct for a behavior to occur; however, only some needs lead to a behavior and only some behaviors are the product of the existence of needs, since the incentives of the target objects can produce an impulse and unleash the response. That is, begins to consider that the start of motivated behavior occurs by factors external to the subject, and not the deficit or shortage of a component of the organism-internal factor.

Recall that motivated behavior is influenced by internal and external factors, which are responsible for activating the body and direct it towards the achievement of the goal that meets their need, thus achieving their welfare.

As Palmero recently pointed out, "Motivation is a concept that we use when we want to describe the forces acting on, or within, an organism, to initiate and direct its behavior. That is to say, they are forces that allow the execution of behaviors destined to modify or maintain the course of the life of an organism, by means of obtaining objectives that increase the probability of survival, as much in the biological plane, as in the social level "( Palmero, 2008, p.2).

Hull and Spence's contributions

Another relevant author is Hull (1943, 1951, 1952) who developed a logical-mathematical model of learning based on impulse reduction. The notion of the term impulse was influenced by the following events: a) Darwin's evolutionism: it is a survival model according to which motivation is developed to allow the satisfaction of basic needs, which will allow the subject to increase the probability of living, of adapting to their environment; b) Walter Cannon's concept of homeostasis: organic or primary needs are responsible for generating impulses, and these trigger behaviors to restore the balance of the organism; c) Watson ER Mechanism: eliminates the mentalist terms of expectation, purpose or cognition; and d) the Law of the Effect of Thorndike (1913): this law considers the term of satisfactory consequence contingent on the response (predecessor to the term reinforcement). In fact, it incorporates the term of reinforcement in two senses, through the use of the term of habit -the learned behaviors will be more persistent when these are followed by a reinforcement- and the term reinforcement as the elimination of the need; that is, learning occurs because the motivational conditions of the organism change. As a consequence, it elaborates the learning model based on impulse reduction. by using the habit term -the learned behaviors will be more persistent when these are followed by a reinforcement- and the term reinforcement as the elimination of the need; that is, learning occurs because the motivational conditions of the organism change. As a consequence, it elaborates the learning model based on impulse reduction. by using the habit term -the learned behaviors will be more persistent when these are followed by a reinforcement- and the term reinforcement as the elimination of the need; that is, learning occurs because the motivational conditions of the organism change. As a consequence, it elaborates the learning model based on impulse reduction.

For Hull a state of deprivation of primary factors (eg, food) produces a state of need-hunger-that activates an impulse that, in turn, triggers a series of behaviors. Under these circumstances, that behavior that reduces the impulse and, therefore, satisfies the need, will be reinforced (elimination of the state of discomfort), for which it will increase its probability of occurrence in similar future situations; that is, said behavior will be repeated in analogous situations of need and impulse activation. Habit will be formed from the association between stimuli and responses, which forms the basis of behavior.

Motivated behavior depends on two factors: motivation (impulse) and learning (habit). The following formula collects this idea: H * D. Therefore, the intensity of the behavior depends both on the intensity of the learned response or habit (H), and on the intensity of the impulse or drive

The relationship between both factors is multiplicative, so if one of the factors is zero, the behavior would not occur.

The empirical indicators of habit intensity are: the number of trials in which the response has been reinforced, so that the greater the number of trials, the stronger the habit; the quality of the reinforcers or the quantity; and the delay of its application.

The impulse refers to the state of need of the organism, which is manipulated by varying the levels of deprivation or satiation of the subject, such as the number of hours without eating in the case of hunger. For this author, impulse as motive refers only to basic needs.

Motivated behavior will be carried out when the impulse is high and the habit has been strengthened through reinforcement.

Another important contribution was the proposal of the generalized impulse, unlike Woodworth, to refer to a state of the organism with the capacity to activate different behaviors. That is, the impulse would be the sum of all the needs of the organism. However, Hull's non-specific impulse allows activating a behavior but not directing it.

The results of several investigations revealed the insufficiency of the two proposed factors, the strength of habit and the impulse, to explain the motivated behavior. To correct the usefulness of his model he proposed an additional factor, the incentive (K). Hull (1951, 1952) considers that the characteristics of the target object also influence the motivation of the organism. The new formulation would be the following: H * D * K. That is, the motivated behavior depends on the strength of the habit, the strength of the impulse and the incentive value of the target object.

We can affirm, for example, that the motivated behavior is increased by the effect of the proximity of the goal (external factor) and not by the need itself (internal factor). As a consequence, the importance of the external factor on impulse as an explanatory factor of behavior is accentuated. Again, the relationship between the three factors is multiplicative, so if one of the factors is zero, the behavior would not occur.

The main difference between both formulations is that, in the first, Hull considers that the motivation is the result of factors internal to the organism; while, in the second, it depends on both internal and external factors.

Spence (1956) was the disciple of Hull in charge of continuing with his theoretical formulation. He introduced a modification in Hull's general formulation, considering that the relation between the impulse and the incentive was additive and not multiplicative; that is, the influence of the value given to the incentive on the execution of a behavior would be independent of the stimulus: H * (D + K).

The difference between Hull and Spence lies in the conception of the impulse. For Hull the existence of the impulse is necessary for the behavior to take place; since the conception of Spence, it is not an essential factor, as long as the incentive is present; that is, following Spence's formulation, the motivated behavior occurs in the absence of one of the two factors, the impulse or the incentive, given the additive relationship proposed by the author: H * (D + K).

Both authors, Hull and Spence, received various criticisms of their respective theoretical approaches, in particular, they made reference to the following sections:

the nominal fallacy of the impulse -similar to the one that received the instinct-; b) the reinforcement concept in terms of impulse reduction;

the mechanism that underlies the motivation; and d) the value of the incentive. Below we will briefly explain each one of them.

The nominal fallacy of the impulse. There is confusion between the description of a concept and its explanation; that is, the confusion between the impulse of thirst and the tendencies of associated responses. The impulse is a mere descriptive label and not explanatory.

The conception of reinforcement in terms of impulse reduction. The work carried out by Sheffield and collaborators (Sheffield and Roby, 1950, Sheffield, Wulff and Backer, 1951) confirm that the induction of impulse can play a reinforcing role, in the same way as the reduction of impulse, as they proposed Hull and Spence. In this sense, the work on the reinforcing role of brain self-stimulation by Olds and Milner (195) showed that the stimulation provoked in certain brain areas could impel the organisms to perform certain behaviors, as well as Berlyne's works on paper. or the motivating function of novelty and uncertainty by producing an increase in the level of activation of the organism, in order to achieve an optimum level of it;

Another author, Hebb (1955) pointed out that an increase in low levels of activation is experienced as pleasant by the organism; while if we start from very high levels of activation, a decrease in level of intensity is experienced as pleasant.

The mechanicism that underlies motivation. Motivation as impulse reduction. We must bear in mind that the anticipatory capacity of the organism allows us to select the appropriate behaviors to reduce the impulse and thus satisfy their needs (Legg and Booth, 1995). In addition, the term appetite recovers the cognitive character of the impulse, in the sense that appetites are dispositions to act that allow organisms to search for the target object and not just react to it.

The value of the incentive. The term incentive is loaded with subjectivity. It presents a different value for each subject (idiosyncratic), and for a same subject it also changes its value at different times.

Dreikurs (2000) and Deckers (2001) point out the difference between the terms meta and reward. The goal is the cognitive representation of a future event, the expectation of obtaining an object that attracts the interest of an organism and struggles to achieve it; whereas a reward refers to what is obtained after an action (reinforcement). However, it is useful to differentiate both terms, goal and reward, since the motivating role of a reward refers to the associated mental anticipation process. The incentive is considered as the value granted to the target object.

At present, the theoretical perspective of the impulse has a less deterministic character, and is replaced by the term appetite. On the other hand, they are taken into consideration

extraorganismic variables, which include both the objective and subjective characteristics of the meta objects.

The incentive 
The term incentive describes some goal object that motivates the subject. It acts as a guide to our behavior to approach or avoid the goal object. It is characterized by its subjectivity; that is, it has a different value for different subjects, and even for the same subject at different times. Incentives, therefore, motivate behavior, and are generally learned.

The motivation of the incentive is understood as a mediating factor between the characteristics of a target object and the responses directed to said target object.

In general, the incentives are considered as: a) energy generators; 
generators of emotion; and c) carriers of information.

Incentives as generators of energy (Hull, 1951, 1952, Spence, 1956). The incentive value of a target object depends on the intensity or vigor of the consummatory response.

Persistence also stands out, which would explain how in situations of difficulty a subject persists in his behavior to reach the goal object.

In this framework Amsel's frustration theory (Amsel, 1972, Amsel and Roussel, 1952) would be placed. Frustration occurs when a subject reaches a goal that has previously been reinforced and now is not. It is a frustration not learned. As a consequence, the intensity of the behavior is increased in search of a target object.

The incentives that generate emotion. Incentive motivation is related to the learning of emotional responses. In particular, for Mowrer (1960) there are four basic emotions (fear, optimism, relief and disappointment) that function as mediating elements between a stimulus and a response. Thus, reinforcements and punishments generate emotion. Mowrer, situating himself in the perspective of the impulse, establishes that the emotions of optimism and relief produce reduction of the impulse; whereas, the signs of fear and disappointment produce impulse induction.

Another author, Klinger (197), emphasizes the importance of emotional significance in the motivation of the incentive, that is, the behavior pursues the goal objects that are emotionally important, the difference between the incen- tive terms and the goals. incentives but incentives are not always goals.Distinguish the following situations: invigoration, which is the intensity of the behavior to achieve a goal, primitivism, if the goal is not achieved the answers become more stereotyped and primitive, aggression, if

The goal is still not achieved, aggressive behaviors can be carried out; depression, if it continues without getting it, the subject enters a phase of depression and does not feel interest in anything; recovery, progressively the subject returns to feel interest for other meta objects.

Incentive incentives for information.

Mowrer considers that the informative characteristics of the stimulus produce emotions, which motivate the subject to approach or avoid a target object. That is, emotions activate motivated behavior.

From a cognitive perspective, he argues that incentive motivation comes from the development of expectations. The behavior has holistic, proactive and goal-directed connotations. Expectations allow us to wait for a particular goal after the execution of a behavior. Tolman's incentive model emphasizes the elaboration of expectations based on the relationship between a behavior and a goal object. Expectations activate and direct the behavior of a subject, and the incentives are the mental representations of the relationship between the behaviors and the goals.

Another important aspect of the incentive is its predictability. The incentive acts as a signal that predicts the achievement or absence of attainment of a goal object. This characteristic facilitates the understanding of the Bindra model (1969, 1972, 1974): the congruence between the state of the organism (impulse), the influence of the properties of the target objects (incentive) and the association of the signs or signals with the incentive (predictability). The incentives, positive or negative, activate and direct the behavior of a subject.

Theories of learning

Under the behavioral legacy the study of behavior is addressed in terms of motor responses, directly observable; in particular, the interest in motivation focuses on the acquisition of a behavior through the conditioning procedures; how the motivational state influences the response rate; and in its possible influence on the learning of new behaviors. In fact, research conducted from the behavioral approach has made it difficult to differentiate the terms of motivation and learning (Cofer and Appley, 1979).

However, from the perspective of methodological behaviorism, the scientific study of hypothetical constructs or intervening variables is admitted, as long as they admit an operative definition of them. From this moment on, the inclusion of psychological processes is admitted, as is the case of motivation.

The consideration of motivation as an intraorganismic variable was insufficient to explain the complexity of the behavior of organisms in general, and of the human being in particular. In the latter, an important part of the

Behavior depends on motives that are learned or that have undergone modifications throughout the ontogenetic development of living beings.

From the perspective of learning theories, interest is focused on how motives are acquired.

Next, we will describe the most relevant contributions of classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning in the acquisition of motives.

Contributions from classical conditioning

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849/1936) was interested in the procedure by which innate reflexes can be elicited by stimuli that, by their nature, would not have the capacity to provoke them; that is, how a conditioned stimulus (ec) can trigger a reflex response. For example, how the sound of a tuning fork can trigger the salivation response.

In 1904, from his work on the physiology of the digestive glands, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. His main work is Reflejos condicionados (1926).

Paulov had observed that his dogs began to salivate long before coming into contact with food, that is, simply by hearing the steps of the laboratory assistant that brought it, seeing it appear or even seeing the food at a distance. . Evidently, the response to these last stimuli (the noise of steps, the image of the assistant, the vision of the food, etc.) could not be genetically programmed as was the contact with the food, since they had as a prerequisite the spatio-temporal association of these with food and did not occur before that. Subsequently, Pavlov decided to artificially provoke the salivation reflex, associating the food with other neutral stimuli such as the sound of a tuning fork, which was sounded every time the animal was fed.

Its contribution consisted of associating a neutral stimulus (conditioned) with an unconditioned stimulus (law of contiguity and frequency law) so that, later, this conditioned stimulus -before termed a neutral stimulus- was able to elicit the reflex response (answer conditioned) without the presence of the unconditioned stimulus. That is, the organism learned to give a reflex response to an unnatural stimulus, in the sense that it did not possess the characteristics that trigger such a reflex response. This procedure is known as the ER (stimulus-response) scheme, without including the variable organism (O).

Basic elements of classical conditioning

Next we describe the experimental procedure -classical conditioning- followed by Pavlov (see figure 1). The unconditioned stimulus used was meat powder (ei). It is a stimulus that produces, naturally, once introduced into the mouth, the salivary reflex (ri). This response is an innate response, not learned, that is elicited in the presence of an appropriate stimulus, the meat powder. The objective is that, said reflex response, salivation, occurs before a non-natural stimulus, that does not possess properties that elicit it. In this case, Pavlov selected the sound of a tuning fork as a neutral stimulus (en). Prior to the joint presentation of the stimuli, ei and en, it was found that the sound of the tuning fork did not elicit the salivation response. In this way, his neutral character was assured as a stimulus. Subsequently, several tests were performed in which the two stimuli, the food powder (ei) and the sound of the tuning fork (en) were matched, verifying that the salivation response (ri) was produced. After several pairing trials of the stimuli, the ei was removed and only the tuning fork sound, now called conditioned stimulus (ec), was presented, before which the salivation reflex, called conditioned response (rc), was produced.

In general, the intensity of the rc is less than the ri (measured in milliliters of saliva); in addition, the repeated presentation of the ec would produce the absence of the rc, because it is an artificial response, not natural to the stimulus before which it occurs. However, after some time, before the presentation of the ec would be issued again the rc of salivation. In the first case, the phenomenon of extinction has occurred (elimination of the learned response); while in the second case, we talk about the phenomenon of spontaneous recovery.

In short, before the conditioning process takes place, there are two unrelated stimuli, the neutral stimulus that does not produce a ri and the unconditioned stimulus that generates it. This unconditional response is what you want to condition. The conditioning seeks that the neutral stimulus is associated with the unconditioned stimulus and that consequently evokes the same type of unconditioned response. When the conditioning is complete, the neutral stimulus has become a conditioned stimulus (ec); In addition, the unconditioned response has become a conditioned response (rc), therefore, after conditioning, the conditioned stimulus provokes the conditioned response.

In a classical conditioning process, the order of the stimulus sequences is relevant (in Puente, 2003). A neutral stimulus that occurs after an unconditioned stimulus has little chance of becoming a conditioned stimulus, and on the contrary, a stimulus that occurs just before the unconditioned stimulus has a greater chance of generating adequate conditioning. In this regard, there are variants or different types of classical conditioning (see table 2).

These connections between stimuli and responses are named in different ways: habits, stimulus-response nexuses and conditioned responses

Variants of classical conditioning

The importance of this learning paradigm called classical conditioning is due to:

By means of the association of stimuli we can achieve that, certain stimuli acquire the potential character of motivation; that is, whether or not they elicit the motivated behavior.

The passive character of the subject during the conditioning process. One of the possible consequences is the non-awareness of the learning of certain behaviors, which will be elicited when the conditioned stimulus is presented. In this sense, during the conditioning process the different contextual stimuli - discriminative stimuli - acquire connotations of conditioned stimuli (ec) that act as keys to enhance the learning process. For example, the study behavior is easier to start and persist in a library context than in the university cafeteria, where the keys are not associated with said study behavior.

Therefore, the motivational process that underlies motivated behavior can be acquired or eliminated through this learning procedure.

In addition, Pavlov addressed the study of behavior in terms of excitation and inhibition of the nervous system, so we can consider that this idea is related to the theories of activation. In addition, the processes of excitation activate behavior, they have an energizing function, so it could be considered as an approach to the classical conception of motivation.

On the other hand, the procedure of classical conditioning not only refers to external stimuli, but can also be achieved with internal stimuli to the organism itself. This is what is known as interoceptive conditioning, in which there are different variants (Razran, 1961). In all of them, the neutral stimulus that was conditioned and / or the unconditioned stimulus can be internal to the subject. This type of conditioning allows us to explain the possible origin of psychosomatic diseases (Buck, 1985, Tarpy and Mayer, 1977). For example, the examination situation produces anxiety, with the correlate of manifestations of peripheral con- struction, with the probable increase in blood pressure. This type of response can be generalized to future evaluation situations -generalization.

Another contemporary author, in 1913, Vladimir Bechterev, also used the procedure of classical conditioning, but this time applied to a motor response: the defense response.

Approaches from operant conditioning.

The antecedents of this learning procedure are located in the figure of Thorndike, with its law of effect, according to which the learning of a response will depend on the contingent consequences to it.

They can be pleasant or unpleasant. This consideration was qualified by the authors of the period of excessive subjectivity. One of the consequences was the use of the term reinforcement.

We highlight the contribution of Skinner, who received the influence of Thorndike and Pavlov. Skinner (1938, 1953, 1975, 1989) called the behaviors "operant behaviors" or "operant" because they have the ability to act on the situation and change it. These are responses that already exist in the behavioral repertoire of the subject, which are issued freely or spontaneously. The reinforcers would be contingent factors to the operant that increase the probability that a response will be repeated in the future. He called this process operative conditioning (similar to the instrumental conditioning of Thorndike).

Below we describe some terms referring to the contingent consequences of a behavior (see table 3):

Relevant elements operant conditioning

We can differentiate between two types of reinforcers: primary and secondary. The primary reinforcers are related to the satisfaction of basic needs and are easy to satisfy. For example: food, drink, sex, etc .;

while secondary reinforcers do not satisfy basic needs, they are learned by association with primary reinforcers and are not easily satiated. For example: praise, money. The latter is a generalized reinforcer, since it allows many reinforcers to be obtained.

On the other hand, the speed with which a behavior is learned and extinguished depends on the type of reinforcement program used during its acquisition (in Puente, 2003).

Some authors point out the difficulty of differentiating the classical conditioning procedure from the operant conditioning procedure. From a didactic point of view, we can observe that, in classical conditioning there is a stimulus that precedes behavior; while, in the operant condition, the operant response is freely issued by the subject, without the need for a previous stimulus (it may be present but its presence is not necessary); moreover, the repetition of said response will depend on the contingent consequences to it (reinforcing or punitive stimuli).

We can say that there are two kinds of predictions that organisms can learn to perform:

The prediction about which stimuli usually happen in time to other stimuli. The association type EE: of this class are the learning by classical respondent condi- tioning.

The prediction about what stimuli will happen in time to our own responses. The association of type RE: response-stimulus (the E being refers to the contingent consequences to the response). Learning through instrumental or operant conditioning stand out.

Classical conditioning 

Operational conditioning 

Association between two stimuli: ei and ehh- Association between a response (R) and the contingent consequences to it. 

The ei does not depend on the response of the sujj- The consequences only happen after the emission of the response on the part of the subject. 

In general, the response is involuntary in nature. In general, the response is voluntary. 

The rc is similar to the rnn- The response is issued arbitrarily

Differences between classical conditioning and operant conditioning

That is, organisms can know both the effects that the environment has on their behavior and the effects that their own behavior has on the environment. The first type is also called signal learning (the reiterated association of two stimuli converts one into a signal of the other); while the second

It is also known as learning by consequence: if an answer has positive consequences, then such a response will be repeated in the future.

Both are considered as associative learning because in them what the organism does is to associate stimuli in a totally mechanical way, that is, in a non-mental way. However, paradoxical as it may seem, from behaviourism it is evident that animals can learn many things without being able to say that their learning is non-cognitive.

From the mechanistic approach of Skinner it is difficult to situate the concept of motivation (Heckhausen, 1991). We emphasize the motivating role of reinforcement in behavior, as well as the motivating properties of the incentive that some authors (Bindra, 1969) consider as synonyms.

Other relevant contributions regarding the reinforcement refer to the quantity (Crespi, 1942), and the quality (Simmons, 1924), giving rise to the effect of the amount of the reinforcement and the effect of the quality of the reinforcement, respectively. Therefore, we can affirm that the motivation increases when the reinforcement is greater and / or when it is adjusted to the needs of the subject.

We highlight the contributions of the authors that were based on the interaction between classical conditioning and operant conditioning. For example, the works of Mowrer (194 and Miller (1948), on the behaviors observed in situations of acquired fear, the works of Seligman (1975, 1976) on learned helplessness, considered as the demotivation of behavior, defined as a psychological state with implications of loss of motivation, disturbance of cognitive processes and emotion, all as a result of learning the lack of control or uncontrollability.

Approaches from observational learning

From observational learning, Bandura (1969, 197) maintains that a large part of motivated behavior is acquired by observing the behaviors of others.The behavior of a subject depends fundamentally on the interaction between particular behaviors and the conditions that control such behaviors.

In the motivated behavior, the attention, storage and recovery processes would intervene.

ooProcesses of attention, directed to the model that is tried to imitate (physical beauty, similarities between the model and the apprentice) and the apprentice agent (good state of the sensory organs, activation level). 
pp Storage and recovery processes; that is, the symbolic coding of the information that is being processed by the apprentice, as well as its storage and subsequent retrieval, to be used / executed in the required situation.

Processes of reproduction of the learning behavior that will be executed. 
rrr) Motivational elements. The possibility of obtaining feedback from the learned behavior; the vicarious reinforcement (how the model receives rewards); extrinsic motivation (obtaining rewards).

In this sense, we can learn new behaviors without trial and error; the mental representation of the learning situation allows us to anticipate the consequences derived from our responses and modify them before they are applied.

From this perspective, to learn a behavior it is not necessary to reproduce it. The learning and execution processes are differentiated.

In particular, Bandura (197) distinguishes between the "vicarious reinforcement" of "observational learning." This refers to the learning of a behavior by observing a model, independently of the consequences derived from such behavior. it includes observational learning plus the consequences of the model, an aspect that produces alterations in the probability of occurrence of the response observed in the future by the observer.

Reinforcements and punishments have motivating properties because they allow the development of expectations in an individual: it is expected that the performance of determined behaviors leads to the achievement of concrete results (Palmero, Gómez, Guerrero and Carpi, 2008).

That is, the vicarious reinforcement has informative, motivational and emotional effects (Huertas, 1992).

The vicarious reinforcement is very important for the adaptation of the human being to his social context.

We emphasize the fact that behaviors can be controlled both by the consequences obtained and by the reinforcements or punishments observed in the model (vicarious reinforcement). Another relevant contribution refers to the consideration of self-regulation of behavior on the part of the subjects. That is, the human being can self-reinforce or self-punish for the appropriate or inadequate conducts carried out in a given moment and context. We can symbolically code the observed behavior and self-administer the reinforcement or the pertinent punishment in situations similar to those that we acquire the information.

Theory of relative reinforcement

At present, the concept of reinforcement does not refer exactly to a stimulus contingent on a response, but the given response can act as a reinforcement. That is, reinforcers are associated with consummatory responses,

which are the ones that can work as true reinforcers. For example, the fact of eating a chocolate bar, and not the chocolate bar itself - stimulus - is the real reinforcer.

Therefore, the relative character of the reinforcer is given because the behavior can be the response that has to be reinforced; whereas, in other occasions, this behavior is the reinforcer of another behavior that we want to promote.

This broader perspective of reinforcement was introduced by David Premack (1965), with his relative Theory of reinforcement. From this theory, the author considers that reinforcers are associated with consummatory responses; that is, the food is associated with the eating behavior; Drink X to drinking behavior; etc.). On the other hand, the value of the reinforcer depends on its relationship with other potential reinforcers in the learning situation.

In summary, Premack proposes that, in an operant conditioning procedure, given two responses, the most probable response will reinforce the least likely behavior; however, the less likely response will not reinforce the most likely behavior. For example, a child may go down to the park to play after performing homework. We assume that the behavior of performing homework is the least likely behavior, and that playing in the park is the most likely response in the child. Therefore, this last response will act as a reinforcer of the less probable behavior, doing the homework.

The value of the reinforcer is known from the behavior of choice of the subject. The preferences of the subject on the choice of reinforcers will allow us to create a hierarchy of reinforcers for that subject. Recall that the reinforcement has an idiosyncratic character.

Other authors (Timberlake and Allison, 1974; Timberlake, 200) showed that, on occasions of deprivation, a behavior with low probability of execution can act as a reinforcer of another more probable behavior.

We emphasize the relative character of the reinforcer for the same subject, whose value will depend on its relationship with other reinforcers. Likewise, it allows explaining the change of the motivation of a subject -election of reinforcer / behavior- when changes occur.

Theories based on hedonism and sensory stimulation

In addition to the legacy of the hedonistic perspective of Epicurus, the approach of Young (1966) defends the existence of a hedonic continuum in whose extremes are the maximum negative affect and maximum positive affect, respectively. Affective processes are characterized by their sign, intensity and duration. The sig- no refers to the approach (+) or avoidance (-) of a situation; the intensity refers to the preference in the choice of a certain object; and the duration is the time of maintenance of a hedonic process before a sensorial stimulus or without the presence of this.

On the other hand, work done with Harlow's monkeys (Harlow, 1958; Harlow and Harlow, 1966) showed how the deprivation of maternal and peer stimulation, or the reduction of it, produces important alterations in the behavior of the little monkeys.

From another perspective, the union of both ideas, hedonism and sensory stimulation (pleasurable, unpleasant or neutral), Solomon (Solomon, 1980; Solomon and Corbit, 197 proposed a homeostatic explanation, in which the placenary and aversive states When an emotionally charged stimulus is detected, there is an increase in the hedonic tone, after which a fall of that tone is observed, and a stabilization of the tone. , an increase in the hedonic tone of sign opposite to the first hedonic tone is observed, and subsequently a fall occurs until reaching the baseline or the neutral hedonic state.

Conclusions

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the dominant theoretical perspectives on the study of motivation attempt to justify the behavior of living beings in terms of internal factors - instincts or impulses - or external factors - learning -, especially with the period of boom and heyday of behaviorism.

From the 60's there is a predominance of the cognitive current in any field of psychology. A variety of mentalist terms appear that try to explain the behavior of the living being in general and, in particular, of the human being. This search for internal cognitive factors has its origin in authors such as Tolman. In the field of motivation, the terms of expectation, value, incentive, attribution, the emotional consequences associated with the explanatory causes of behavior, the fear of failure, the need for achievement, power and affiliation, respectively, are particularly relevant. etc. Aspects all of them relevant in the current study of motivation.

Therefore, it is very common to find that, at a given time, the most relevant theoretical formulations in the psychology of motivation are those that coincide with the theoretical current dominant at that time in psychology (Petri, 1991).

In the 21st century, the scientific study of motivation is carried out from three perspectives (Palmero, Gómez, Guerrero and Carpi, 2008): biological, behavioral and cognitive (Palmero, Carpi, Gómez Iñiguez, Guerrero and Muñoz, 2005; Palmero, Gómez Íñiguez; Carpi, Guerrero and Díez, 2005); although it is true that the perspectives

Biological and cognitive, respectively, are the ones that cause the greatest interest (Palmer, Gómez, Guerrero and Carpi, 2008). The biological perspective is interested in the discovery of the biological bases that underlie the motivated behavior, what are the organic structures, the connections that participate and control the motivated behavior. In this context, the initial theories of instinct and impulse are situated. The behavioral perspective relates motivation to another basic process, learning. Highlights the terms of momentum, incentive motivation and motives learned. Finally, the cognitive perspective emphasizes the propositive nature of the human being to achieve their objectives or anticipated goals. We highlight the expectation-value theory, the theory of consistency, the theory of self-perception,

Cognitive theories in motivation

Introduction

Knowing and understanding why conduct is carried out is a matter of great interest in psychological research. Taking into account that the variables that influence the initiation and maintenance of a behavior are diverse, throughout history, research has focused on some of them and it is in the last decades, with the development of the cognitive model , when the different variables are integrated to understand the complexity and evolution of the motivational process. The motivation has been explained as the force that initiates an action from internal variables, whether physiological or psychological -like the drive-, or else, from a set of variables external to the person. The set of internal processes, unobservable directly, They are in continuous interaction with the environment and are modified according to the characteristics of the situation and the assessments made about it. Thus, the causes that explain a behavior in one moment may be irrelevant in another. Motivation is understood as a dynamic, internal process that manifests itself through the intensity, strength and direction of the action that is carried out (Anselme, 2010, Palmero, 2005). In this sense, the cognitive model considers the person capable of selecting the information he receives, processing it and transforming it according to the needs that are possessed at a certain moment and carrying out the appropriate actions that allow him to develop optimally in his environment. The causes that explain a behavior in one moment may be irrelevant in another. Motivation is understood as a dynamic, internal process that manifests itself through the intensity, strength and direction of the action that is carried out (Anselme, 2010, Palmero, 2005). In this sense, the cognitive model considers the person capable of selecting the information he receives, processing it and transforming it according to the needs that are possessed at a certain moment and carrying out the appropriate actions that allow him to develop optimally in his environment. The causes that explain a behavior in one moment may be irrelevant in another. Motivation is understood as a dynamic, internal process that manifests itself through the intensity, strength and direction of the action that is carried out (Anselme, 2010, Palmero, 2005). In this sense, the cognitive model considers the person capable of selecting the information he receives, processing it and transforming it according to the needs that are possessed at a certain moment and carrying out the appropriate actions that allow him to develop optimally in his environment.

In this chapter the characteristics of motivation will be explained from the cognitive perspective. The different theories developed from this approach share that the perceptual, attentional, emotional and memory processes interact in the moment that a subject analyzes and interprets the stimuli coming from the environment that the person develops, as well as the stimuli that come from their thoughts. cough (ideas, memories, expectations).

Before exposing the cognitive theories of motivation, a brief reference will be made to the precursory works of the cognitive model

Precedents of the cognitive model

The closest influence in the development of cognitive theories on motivation is found in the works of Tolman (1932) and Lewin (1935).

Tolman, is an author trained in the behavioral school, researching on animal learning. In spite of this, it must be considered as a precursor of cognitiveism since it was interested in studying the mental processes that sustain behavior through an objective, behavioral methodology (Quirós and Cabestrero, 2008). In his approaches, Tolman (1932) emphasized the importance of goals.

Understand that the behavior is directed towards the achievement of a goal and in this sense, the subject knows how to identify the signals of the environment that will lead to it. These signals can be used in subsequent moments and / or situations, facilitating, in this way, achieving what is proposed through a chain of association of stimuli. The subject does not learn simple ER associations, but the relationship between a particular behavior and a goal; For this, he needs to develop a cognitive map of his environment, in order to locate in it each of the possible goals. It appears, in this approach, the character of intentionality of behavior.

Thus, motivated behavior, according to Tolman, has molar characteristics, is global, is directed towards goals, is persistent, and shows a selectivity (stimulus / action) to reach the goal. His contributions, made from his work with rats, are still a mandatory reference to understand motivational dynamics, both in individuals of lower species and in the human being. In one of his experiments he used three groups of rats, subjecting each of them to a labyrinth to obtain the food. The experimental difference in each of the groups was to offer the reward (food) in different time intervals. The first group was rewarded from the first day, the second group was not rewarded and the third group received the reward from the eleventh day. It was expected that between the first and third groups there would be no differences in the course of the labyrinth from the eleventh day. That is, the third group of rats will noticeably decrease the number of errors in the labyrinth path, approaching the errors committed by the rats of the first group. The results showed that the analysis of the stimuli present in a situation would not be carried out univocally with a response but would form a set of elements integrated in a cognitive map that would allow to establish connection routes between behavior and goal. Thus, Tolman proposed the existence of both cognitive maps and the concept of latent learning as the learning to walk the labyrinth remains latent until there is a reason to go through it.

Specifically, Toates (1995) states that it is very likely that in animals of lower species there is an integration between motivation and cognition, in such a way that the notions of representation, goal and expectation are perfectly valid to understand their behavior. That is, these individuals perfectly construct their environments in the temporal and spatial planes, so that the behavior they carry out can be understood as a proactive behavior directed towards particular goals with behavioral movements that optimize the results and increase the probability of success. Thus, Sánchez-Moreno, Rodrigo, Chamizo and Mackintosh (1999) suggest that what the rat learns are not simple stimulus-response associations, but complex associations in which spatial variables are involved, referring to the location of the different goals and the eventual points of reference in the environment of the animals. All this is duly organized in the cognitive map of the individual, appreciating the updating of the same from the different information that it obtains. Recently, Manteiga and Chamizo (2001) have investigated whether animals learn the location of a target, taking as reference two sets of two signals each (A and B, and B and C). The signal B is common to both sets. The animals most frequently locate the target whenever B is present, either alone, as a combination, with A, or with C. The remaining possibilities produce a lower performance in the location of the target. This fact seems to go against integration; However, the type of configuration (temporal or spatial) is likely to have an important influence on the location of the goal.

In short, from the work of Tolman, in the psychology of motivation, begin to handle terms such as expectation, purpose, cognitive map and latent learning.

Another precedent for the psychology of motivation are the works of Kurt Lewin. This, belonging to Gestalt, applied the principles of that school to explain human motivation. Lewin (1935) proposes that motivation in behavior is explained from homeostatic approaches. The behavior is the result of the set of forces that act on the subject. Lewin defends the active solution of problems and the existence of psychological needs -as needs. Broadly speaking, the scheme of its approach, generically called field theory, assumes that behavior is a function of the vital space, which consists of "person" and "psychological environment". With regard to the person, this is influenced by two types of needs (physiological and psychological), which produce a state of tension, or motivational state, in the subject. As regards the psychological environment, it contains "goals" that significantly influence the behavior of the subject. In short, Lewin's theory can be summarized by saying that the force of behavior (F), which has vector characteristics, is a function (f) of the subject's internal state of tension and the goals of the psychological environment (tG). To this brief function we must add the "psychological distance"
(e) that exists between the subject and the goal that you want to achieve, in such a way that at a greater distance less force in the behavior. The following formula schematically illustrates Lewin's idea:

F = f tG e

Tension, a motivational construct defended by Lewin to explain the internal motivation of the subject, occurs when there are needs in the organism. This fact motivates the subject to reduce the tension, with which the homeostatic argumentation seems evident. On the other hand, to study self-motivated behavior, you need the construct of force, which consists of "magnitude" and "direction." As there are several forces that simultaneously act on the subject, the final behavior is the result of all the forces involved.

We must also emphasize the reference of Lewin (Lewin, Dembo, Festinger and Sears, 194 to the level of aspiration, which is what an individual wants to achieve, and level of expectation, which is what an individual thinks they can achieve. The aspiration and expectation levels represent the combination of the valence and the probability of achieving a specific goal. The desire referred to the level of aspiration has a greater valence, but a lower probability of achievement, than that which refers to the level of expectation. Both levels, which reflect the cognitive dimension of motivated behaviors, are directly related to the performance of an individual when trying to achieve the goal in question. This is what Dreikurs (2000) finds, appreciating that the levels of aspiration and expectation increase when the performance and performance of an individual are good, and decrease when these performance parameters are deficient.

These contributions of Lewin on expectation and the importance of the goals, which initiate and guide the motivated behavior, influenced the development of the later models of expectation-value that we will comment next.

With the development of the cognitive side, the causality of behavior is described through the complexity of various mental processes. Thus, to understand the development and dynamics of motivation, different jobs have been carried out. In this section we will comment on the most outstanding models.

Expectation-value theories

With the clear background of Tolman (1932) and Lewin (1935) to explain motivated behavior, the new approaches add that, in addition to the combination of individual needs, goals and expectations to reach them, the value of the expectation facilitates the understanding of how behaviors develop. Thus, the expectation of reaching a goal is as important as the value given to that goal. The expectation is understood as a mental, cognitive representation, about which certain conducts will facilitate the achievement of a goal. Expectations are generated from the experience of success or failure that the person has had in the achievement of a goal. Thus, the expectation-value models explain that the consequences, positive and / or negative actions taken to achieve a certain goal, and the importance that these consequences may have for the person, contribute to the choice and / or abandonment of certain alternatives according to the value and subjective utility granted to achieve a desired result (Edwards, 1954). Generally, this construct tries to explain different psychological reasons, such as achievement, affiliation, dominance and power.

The expectation-value theory of Rotter

A representative of this type of theories is Rotter (1954). In his model of social learning he describes different factors, about values ??and expectations, that influence the execution of a behavior. Specifically, it establishes four basic factors: a) the choice of a specific goal is determined by the

reinforcement value of that goal. This value is relative and is granted based on the comparison with other possible goals in a moment or situation; b) the subject makes subjective estimates about the probability of reaching a goal; c) the subject's expectations are solidly influenced by the situational factors that will be analyzed based on the similarity with other situations or previous experiences; d) the reaction of the subject to new situations will be based on a generalization of expectations from the accumulated experience or by transfer of the expectations developed in a different context to the current one. In short, the motivated behavior of a subject depends on the multiplication of the value of the expectation by the value of the goal. This statement would be reflected in the following predictive formula:

P (c) = f (E x Vr).

Later, Rotter (1975) also argued the difference that exists between the subjects regarding the expectation that they have of the reinforcement control. Thus,

"Internal subjects" (locus of internal control) perceive reinforcements and punishments as a direct function of their own behaviors, while "external subjects" (locus of external control) perceive such reinforcements and punishments outside self-control. same. In this way, the relevance of beliefs about the association between their own behaviors and their results is emphasized. A few years ago, Rotter himself (1990, 1992) referred to the relationship between the variable belief of the locus of control and other variables such as self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is an important variable to understand the motivation of a subject. Bandura defines it as a person's belief in their own competence to perform an activity in a reasonably acceptable way, which is the judgment a person makes about his or her own ability, although in the first descriptions of the concept of self-efficacy is defined as a fundamentally cognitive variable, in recent years (Bandura, 2004), describes it as a variable that is closely related to affective processes and motivational.In its development, are the previous experiences of the person and the complex processes of vicarious learning When the self-efficacy is high, the individual tends to set higher goals than, objectively speaking, he would have to raise. People with a belief related to their high self-efficacy are usually characterized by the belief referred to the internal locus of reinforcement control. Something similar happens with respect to the motivation of achievement: people with the belief referred to the internal locus of reinforcement control are characterized by having a higher achievement motivation. According to Dreikurs (2000), there is a nuance that can not be ignored, and it refers to functional specificity. That is, self-efficacy is a variable referring to a specific activity. A person can perceive a great self-efficacy for a type of activities, and very low or no self-efficacy for other types of activities (Bandura, 1977, 1997).

learning facilitation, autonomy versus direction of the activities-, as well as the evaluation of the learning made, influence the development of motivational factors such as self-efficacy and the motive of achievement (Greene, Miller, Crowson, Duke and Akey, 2004; Brown and Mathews, 2003). These perceptions become a means that can explain or predict future success. Although these two variables (self-efficacy and perception of control) have been defined to explain stable or specific provisions in relation to the execution of a behavior, the results obtained in some studies indicate an interrelation between both constructs to give an account of the action ( Carter, 2004), while others emphasize differences in relation to stability or specificity to explain behavior,

In recent years, we have also seen the relevance of this learned provision, called locus of control, or with any other expression, but referred to the self-perception of the control capacity, to explain the greater or lesser risk of disease . Specifically, in some studies (Guerrero and Palmero, 2006, Peters, Godaert, Ballieux and Heijnen, 2003, Reynaert, Janne, Bosly, Staquet, Zdanowicz, Vause, Chatelain and Lejeune, 1995), it has been possible to establish an interesting association between locus of control and activity of natural killer cells (nk) in hospitalized depressive patients and in people who have to cope with usually stressful situations. The lower the belief of control over the situation, the lower the activity of this cellular immune defense system. It is an area of ??interest, then,

Theory of achievement-value / expectation motives

Another important approach in this type of approach refers to one that has focused on achievement motivation. The beginnings are placed in the classic works of Murray (1938), who considers that the achievement motive is universal. The motives of the subject occur from the needs, which are acquired and produced by environmental stimuli. A need has an energy component, which activates the behavior, and a directional component, which includes the goal object and which guides the subject's behavior towards that goal. The measure of achievement motivation is associated with Atkinson and McClelland, who used the Murray Thematic Apperception Test (tAt) to carry out their work.

Thus, Atkinson (1957/1983, 1964, 1974, Atkinson and Birch, 1978) defends a theory based on the expectation of reaching a goal and the value of it, because the tendency to carry out a certain action is solidly related to the cognitive expectation that a particular behavior will lead to a particular goal. In his argument, the motive to achieve the

Success, or hope of success, and the reason to avoid failure, or fear of failure. The reason for success is a variable that can be quantified, being essential, for this, to know three factors: (a) the reason for success, which refers to a general disposition of personality, and is obtained through the tAt; (b) the subjective probability of success, which refers to a combination of aspects such as the difficulty of the task and the skills of the subject; when success is certain, the probability is «1», when success is impossible, the probability is «0»; between both values ??the subjective probability is located in each case; (c) the incentive value, referred to the value that the subject has to obtain success. When the subjective probability of success is low, because the task is difficult or because the subject's abilities are limited, the incentive value derived from obtaining that objective is quite high, while, when the task is very easy, or the subject's skills are left over, the incentive value derived from the achievement of that goal is low, since the probability of success is very high. Thus, the three factors that allow us to quantify the value of the hope of success interact multiplicatively, so that, when one of them is «0», the result will also be «0», or what is the same, not there will be the hope of success or the tendency to achieve success. The following formula illustrates Atkinson's idea: or the skills of the subject left over, the incentive value derived from the achievement of that objective is low, since the probability of success is very high. Thus, the three factors that allow us to quantify the value of the hope of success interact multiplicatively, so that, when one of them is «0», the result will also be «0», or what is the same, not there will be the hope of success or the tendency to achieve success. The following formula illustrates Atkinson's idea: or the skills of the subject left over, the incentive value derived from the achievement of that objective is low, since the probability of success is very high. Thus, the three factors that allow us to quantify the value of the hope of success interact multiplicatively, so that, when one of them is «0», the result will also be «0», or what is the same, not there will be the hope of success or the tendency to achieve success. The following formula illustrates Atkinson's idea: There will be no hope of success or the tendency to succeed. The following formula illustrates Atkinson's idea: There will be no hope of success or the tendency to succeed. The following formula illustrates Atkinson's idea:

TE = ME x PE x InE 
where TE refers to the tendency to achieve success, or the hope of success, ME is the reason for success, PE is the subjective probability of success, and InE is the incentive value of the success.
For the reason for avoiding failure, it can also be expressed quantitatively. As with the motive for success, it is essential to know the value of three factors directly involved: a) the reason for avoiding failure, which is also a general disposition of personality, and is obtained through the Anxiety Test. Questionnaire; b) the subjective probability of failure, which, as in the hope of success, refers to a combination of aspects such as the difficulty of the task and the abilities of the subject, and which is obtained by calculating the inverse of the probability subjective success; when success is certain, the probability is «0», when success is impossible, the probability is «1»; c) the value of negative incentive that has for the subject to fail in the achievement of the objective. Also in this case the three factors act in a multiplicative way, so, again, when one of these factors is "0", the final result is also "0", which will not produce the tendency to avoid failure . The following formula illustrates the idea:

TEF = MEF x PF x - InEF 
where TEF refers to the tendency to avoid failure or fear of failure, MEF is the reason to avoid failure, FP is the subjective probability of failure, which is calculated from the subjective probability of success (PF = 1 - PE), e -InF is the value of negative incentive that has for the subject to fail in the achievement of the objective.

The achievement of success has immediate consequences, of pride and satisfaction, and in the medium and long term, of learning and strengthening the appropriate responses for the subject. On the other hand, the obtaining of a failure also entails immediate consequences, of shame and loss of confidence, and in the medium and long term of modification of strategies and behaviors that are not the most appropriate, substituting them for more functional ones. The combination of both reasons allows to understand the behavioral manifestation in each case. Since failing in an objective has a negative incentive value, the resulting motivation to carry out a behavior can be positive (when the hope of success is greater than the fear of failure), negative (when the fear of failure is greater than the hope of success) or equal to zero (when the hope of success and the fear of failure are the same). That is, in addition to knowing the hope of success, or tendency to obtain success, it is also essential to know the tendency to avoid failure, since that way we have a complete profile of the resulting behavior. The result appears in the following formula:

TE + TEF = (ME x PE x InE) + (MEF x PF x - InEF)
In the general formulation of Atkinson two facts of interest are appreciated. On the one hand, the subjective probability of success or failure depends on how difficult or easy the individual perceives the task, activity or challenge, for which he has to consider the level and quality of his abilities and resources to face that situation. On the other hand, the incentive value of achieving success, or of reaping a failure, is inversely related to the expectation of performance; this is: the less a result is expected, the greater the value of the incentive associated with it. Thus, it follows that the human being is especially motivated by those objectives or goals whose degree of difficulty is close, although slightly above, the degree or level of their skills or resources.

Check if the achievement motive is determined by the personality and know the influence of other variables that modulate said motivation presents a relieved interest. Thus, in the research carried out by Mathew and Kunhikrishnan (1995), they used different instruments to measure the need or reason for achievement, concluding that said motivation refers to a stable personality characteristic. In fact, these works have led to the preparation of an important inventory (the Motivational Trait Questionnaire -MtQ-), devised by Heggestad (1998), with which the two reasons commented can be measured: the reason for achieving the success (related to hard work and competitiveness) and the reason to avoid failure (related to fear and anxiety).

For example, it can negatively affect the achievement of the desired goal. Thus, Skinner and Brewer (2002) show that, in a given situation, the low threat rating of the event and the positive emotion unleashed before the performance facilitate the execution and result in a better performance.

Clelland and Winter (1971) argue that the motivation of achievement can be perfectly learned, being able to appreciate how certain styles in the children's upbringing cause them to acquire forms of behavior oriented towards achievement. Subsequently, McClelland (1995) has carried out research in which he proposes the possible connection between achievement motivation and arginine vasopressin secretion. His argument is based on the following premises: (1) the physiological activation produced in situations of motivation of achievement produces an increase in the secretion of vasopressin, which, in turn, produces an increase in the memory capacity of the people involved; (2) the greater the motivation of achievement, the greater the physiological activation, and the greater the secretion of vasopressin; (3) if the level of vasopressin is associated with the ability to remember, the greater memory capacity will be associated with one of the primary effects of vasopressin: the one that has to do with the decrease in the flow of urine. Recent studies also show the connection between expectations of achievement and physiological response, in a concrete way, in the cardiovascular response (Carpi, Gómez, Guerrero and Palmero, 2008).

The close relationship between motivational processes and cognitive processes has been emphasized in different works (Eyring, 1995, Wigfield and Eccles, 2000). More concretely, Eyring emphasizes that the consequences of an individual's performance are decisive for said The individual estimates whether or not the result approximates the expectation that he had. If the expectation was met, on the next occasion it is very likely that the expectation will increase. On the contrary, if the expectation was not fulfilled, it is very likely that, in the future, the individual will modify that expectation -decreasing it- or modify his effort -incrementing it. This feedback mechanism between expectation and performance is the essential core of control theory, by means of which one can explain how individuals respond differentially according to the results of their performance, that is, according to the performance achieved with their behavior. On the other hand, Wigfield and Eccles (2000) consider that it is not possible to understand motivation without appealing to the relevance of certain factors, such as subjective beliefs regarding one's ability, the expectation of success and the subjective connotations of the value of the task to be done.

The importance of the relationship between motivational processes and cognitive processes is reflected in the distinction established by Cavalier (2000) between choice and decision. Thus, Cavalier points out, an individual may feel a special inclination towards certain goals in general, although, after the relevant cognitive processes related to the valuation of said goals, together with the analysis of the skills and resources available to them. This individual establishes the pertinence of directing his efforts towards one of those goals in particular, or towards another one that, although in principle it was not in that spectrum of attractive goals, now, after the pertinent analyzes carried out, it is revealed as an attractive goal, the most attractive of the possible, or the least unpleasant of all you can get. A) Yes,

At present, the cognitive approaches that represent an important bet for the most immediate future in the field of the psychology of motivation have to do with the evolution produced in the analysis of achievement motivation. Unlike the previous formulations, the current approaches propose the perspective of the objectives or goals as reasons that push the individual towards action (Elliott and Dweck, 1988).

One of the important objectives pursued from the theoretical formulation of goals as motives is to establish differences between incentives and goals. An individual has to decide about how they will invest their time and effort to obtain some result or incentive. Each of the possible objectives that an individual can choose represent incentives such as these, but only the objective that is chosen will become the goal pursued by that individual. In this order of things, Deckers (2001) proposes the existence of other differences between incentives and goals, among them the one that emphasizes that the goal is much more important than the objectives or incentives. Proposing that the goal is more important than the objectives seems reasonable and logical if one thinks that the individual has already chosen from among the possible objectives which of them becomes a goal, so the remaining objectives will no longer be relevant. In addition, before choosing the goal, each and every one of the possible objectives are analyzed as possible and future goals. As the analysis and evaluation of the rewarding characteristics of each and every one of the objectives progresses, as well as of the difficulty involved in achieving each of them, together with the verification of the available resources and own abilities to undertake the task of getting one of them, the different probability of each of the possible objectives of becoming a goal will be outlined. Incentives and goals share a characteristic of interest: in both cases, the individual anticipates the outcome of an eventual action. In fact, before an objective becomes a goal, the individual anticipates what the result will be or the consequences of the behavior to be performed. Precisely, the characteristic of the anticipation of the result is also one of the important factors in the choice of the goal based on the available objectives, since it is intimately associated with the rewarding connotations that the different objectives have for the individual who faces Before an objective becomes a goal, the individual anticipates what the result will be or the consequences of the behavior to be performed. Precisely, the characteristic of the anticipation of the result is also one of the important factors in the choice of the goal based on the available objectives, since it is intimately associated with the rewarding connotations that the different objectives have for the individual who faces Before an objective becomes a goal, the individual anticipates what the result will be or the consequences of the behavior to be performed. Precisely, the characteristic of the anticipation of the result is also one of the important factors in the choice of the goal based on the available objectives, since it is intimately associated with the rewarding connotations that the different objectives have for the individual who faces

The task of achievement. Thus, it is assumed that any behavior has a meaning, direction and purpose derived from the goals or objectives pursued. That is, any meaning of a behavior is defined by the goal that is sought, so that the intensity and quality of that behavior will vary according to the relevance that the goal has for the individual. The optimal motivational level is achieved when there are sufficient rewards (intrinsic and / or extrinsic) for everyone, and there are also different ways or possibilities of obtaining these rewards (Palmero, 2005).

The consideration of objectives or goals as motives in themselves has given rise to the motivational theory of achievement of goals (Urdan, 1997, Covington, 2000, Self-Brown and Mathews, 2003). From this model it is established that there are two types of goals that are pursued by people: those that are related to learning and those that are related to acting. The former refer to the increase of competence and knowledge, while the latter have to do with the underestimation of the behavior of others to increase the value of their own behavior or action. It seems to be verified that the goals related to learning favor the processing of information at a deep and strategic level, a fact that, in the end, promotes an increase in the achievement of said individuals. While the goals related to the action reduce the quality and depth of information processing, it can be seen that, in general terms, the achievement of this type of people is much lower. Likewise, it has been proven that individuals who are guided by learning goals are more consciously informed about what they are learning. As a consequence, these individuals are characterized by using attribution processes that are fairly adjusted to the achievements and eventual failures in them. As indicated by Pintrich and Schunck (1996), the fact of failing to achieve a certain objective does not necessarily mean incompetence. In addition, the realistic knowledge of the goal that is sought, of the resources that are available, and the attitude shown in persistence and effort, allow these individuals to perform positive and adaptive attributions. On the other hand, Barron and Harackiewicz (2001) have tested the goodness of each one of the perspectives, suggesting that both the goals related to learning, and the goals related to the performance, favor the overall computation of achievement of an individual. . Another aspect of interest in individuals guided by goals related to learning refers to the large number of prosocial behaviors in which they are involved. These people have more friends among their peers and superiors, they are more respected and loved, and, in general, better known in the field in which they carry out their activity. On the other hand, Barron and Harackiewicz (2001) have tested the goodness of each one of the perspectives, suggesting that both the goals related to learning, and the goals related to the performance, favor the overall computation of achievement of an individual. . Another aspect of interest in individuals guided by goals related to learning refers to the large number of prosocial behaviors in which they are involved. These people have more friends among their peers and superiors, they are more respected and loved, and, in general, better known in the field in which they carry out their activity. On the other hand, Barron and Harackiewicz (2001) have tested the goodness of each one of the perspectives, suggesting that both the goals related to learning, and the goals related to the performance, favor the overall computation of achievement of an individual. . Another aspect of interest in individuals guided by goals related to learning refers to the large number of prosocial behaviors in which they are involved. These people have more friends among their peers and superiors, they are more respected and loved, and, in general, better known in the field in which they carry out their activity. they favor the overall calculation of the achievement of an individual. Another aspect of interest in individuals guided by goals related to learning refers to the large number of prosocial behaviors in which they are involved. These people have more friends among their peers and superiors, they are more respected and loved, and, in general, better known in the field in which they carry out their activity. they favor the overall calculation of the achievement of an individual. Another aspect of interest in individuals guided by goals related to learning refers to the large number of prosocial behaviors in which they are involved. These people have more friends among their peers and superiors, they are more respected and loved, and, in general, better known in the field in which they carry out their activity.

The term meta has many meanings (Austin and Vancouver, 1996). Thus, the content of the goals refers to the results obtained with the attainment of that goal; such results can be internal -acquire knowledge, skills, resources, etc.- or external -get social approval, assets, estates, etc. We can also talk about the structure of the goals, or priority system of the goals. This priority or hierarchical system of goals is a consequence of the

vdistintas social and cultural influences characteristic of the environment in which a person develops, which leads him to propose a certain type of goals, which are important for him, and ignore other potential goals, those that are irrelevant in his system of priorities. You can also establish the existence of planning and intentionality in the goals, because, to the extent that each goal is usually chosen by an individual, it organizes how and with how much effort will try to achieve it.

In this frame of reference, there are some relevant aspects in the understanding of motives from this theory. One of them is the selection of goals. A relevant factor for selecting a goal is the incentive value of the chosen goal, which has connotations of gratification, utility and functionality for the person. In equal conditions of the goals, the factors that influence the choice, although nuanced by the value of the incentive, are the greater subjective probability of success, as well as the time and effort that must be invested. These factors interact and make it possible to explain why an individual selects and chooses one of the possible available objectives, and it may happen that: a) he achieves this goal,
If the goal is displaced by a more attractive one, or c) the goal is simply abandoned.

Another important aspect is the purpose of the goals. Thus, a relevant purpose of the goals consists in the potential capacity of the same to provide positive affect, which present a greater capacity to attract the attention of the individual and to trigger the motivated behavior that leads that person to obtain the goal . On the contrary, those goals that provide the possibility of obtaining a negative affect, or those that pose a risk of losing the eventual positive affect present at that moment, will be avoided, and will not trigger a motivated behavior. Another purpose is the possibility offered by these goals to evaluate self-efficacy. The goal has become an instrumental variable that allows that individual to prove to himself and others his own worth.

The satisfaction of physiological needs would be another purpose of choosing a goal. There are certain substances that are considered as goals because of their capacity to satisfy the basic needs of the individual. Thus, much as Tolman (1932) proposed when speaking of proactive behavior, a certain substance acquires connotations of goal that motivates a behavior if at that moment the organism needs to achieve that goal. On other occasions, in which there is no such physiological need or motivational state in the body, it is very unlikely that the same substance is considered a goal that motivates a behavior in that individual. That is, the subjective value - or valence - of a stimulus depends on the momentary state of the organism.

In a similar sense, there are also goals or incentives that become goals because of their ability to satisfy psychological needs. In relation to them, it is found that there are differences in how they originate. If these needs are due to the evolution of the person, these needs

They would be similar in different cultures. However, if its origin is due to social influence, it would allow to establish cultural differences.

The different studies carried out on what are the most relevant psychological needs (Deci and Ryan, 1985, Sheldon, Elliot, Kim and Kasser, 2001), propose that people want to feel that they are effective in their activities 
-need for competition. -, who have the capacity to choose the activities they are going to carry out - the need for autonomy - and want to experience the feeling of proximity with other people - the need for a relationship. The least controversial of the three needs is that which refers to competition, finding that it is very similar to the achievement motivation proposed by Atkinson (1964), even to the self-efficacy proposed by Bandura (1997).

In this order of things, the psychological needs can be considered as a kind of desires that have evolved over time, and that are related to the achievement of goals that increase the satisfaction and positive affect in an individual.

The value system of a person is one of the factors that influences the moment in which that person decides which of the various objectives or incentives becomes a goal to be achieved. According to the theories based on competence and control, the different psychological needs proposed are grouped around three main nuclei: safety, social interaction and personal growth (Emmons, 1989). Depending on the personal characteristics of each individual, one of these forms of need will be more likely to be experienced, which will also make it more likely that the objectives or incentives associated with that type of need will become goals that can activate the motivated conduct in question.

Another purpose related to the choice of a goal is to consider this goal as an intermediate step necessary to obtain the authentic goal that is pursued. There are multiple situations in which a particular goal is pursued, which, although more or less appreciated by the individual, is considered by him as something essential in his struggle to achieve his true goal.

In short, when the theory of goals is analyzed more thoroughly as motives, it is easy to discover how this natural step has taken place since the classic arguments based on value and expectation, which, as indicated in previous sections, are characterized by the motivational argument based on the reduction of the impulse, up to the current formulation, which continues to be a theory based on value and expectation, although with another terminology. Thus, the theory of expected utility is discussed, taking into account, as Deckers (2001) indicates, that three variables are implicit in this expression: the expectation of the value of the goal, the expectation of achieving that goal, and the expectation of the effort that must be invested in achieving that goal.

With regard to the expectation of the value of the goal, the analyzes carried out by that individual are based on the system of values ??of the same, on the social influences, and on the material characteristics of the goal. Assuming that the goal has utility -value- for that individual, the motivated behavior aimed at the achievement of the same is based on the other two factors, that is, the expectation of achieving that goal and the expectation of the effort You have to invest in achieving it. It is the combination of these factors that determines the occurrence or non-occurrence of a specific motivated behavior, and, in the event that it is decided to undertake such motivated behavior, it also determines the manner in which said conduct will be carried out. In this theoretical formulation,

In addition to the aforementioned motivational variables, there are others, such as the social context, that can contribute to the modulation of motivated behavior.

Social motivation: the presence of others

The presence of other people can have an important influence on motivation and the execution of motivated behavior. In this order of things, we can speak of the effects of coercion and audience, the diffusion of responsibility, conformity and obedience, cognitive consistency and dissonance.

Effects of coercion and hearing

The pioneering studies of Triplett (1898) are well known, arguing that the presence of others acted as a factor capable of activating energy resources that were not mobilized when the individual performed that task alone. This behavioral phenomenon is called social facilitation of the performance, and allows to understand how the presence of others increases the motivation in a person. When increases in a person's motivation and performance are the result of the direct action of other people who compete with them in the same task, we say that a coercion effect has occurred. Now, if the influence of others occurs through a situation of passivity, for example, observation, evaluation, etc., we say that there has been an audience effect (Cottrell, 1972). In the latter case, an increase in motivation and in the performance of the person being observed or evaluated can also be observed. However, the presence of others can also have negative effects on the behavior of a subject. The response to these apparently contradictory results has to do with the skill of the subject, with the likelihood that the most appropriate response will occur. Thus, when the probability is high, the yield increases, whereas, when the probability is low, the yield usually deteriorates. seemingly contradictory, has to do with the skill of the subject, with the likelihood that the most appropriate response will occur. Thus, when the probability is high, the yield increases, whereas, when the probability is low, the yield usually deteriorates. seemingly contradictory, has to do with the skill of the subject, with the likelihood that the most appropriate response will occur. Thus, when the probability is high, the yield increases, whereas, when the probability is low, the yield usually deteriorates.

One of the areas where the influence of coercion and audience effects has been most evident has been sports. Thus, in the studies carried out by Xiang, McBride and Bruene (2003), among others, it was shown that both the skills of athletes or athletes in a competitive situation, as well as the beliefs in the competition of these are decisive for that the important activation that occurs in such situations is channeled in a productive manner from the point of view of performance and in the persistence and effort manifested in the activity carried out.

One of the authors who has most investigated the connotations of social facilitation has been Zajonc (1965, 1972). This author proposes that the presence of others produces a state of activation or impulse, in such a way that such activation has a multiplicative effect with the force of habit or dexterity of each and every one of the possible responses that could occur in a given situation, so that the answer that is the dominant one by dexterity and preparation of a person is the one that will be dominant in that situation, being relegated all the others. On the other hand, when the situation is not mastered, because there are no resources for this, the presence of others, although it also produces an increase in the activation of the person, can cause a decrease in the person's motivation and performance: social inhibition.

Consequences of the presence of others on behavior

Some nuance of this mechanism of functioning must be introduced to understand social facilitation and inhibition. You have to think about the eventual attention paid by others to the person acting, as well as the relevance of the others to those who are being observed or judged. In this way, we can understand the appearance of a certain form of anxiety or apprehension in the face of the evaluation in the person observed. Assuming the existence of attention by observers or judges, it has been repeatedly noted (Wagner, 1999, Xiang, McBride and Bruene, 2003) that the status of judges correlates positively with the degree of activation.

It is evident that when the task is routine because the person has difficulty, the level of activation is moderate. But, if the presence of others occurs while the person acts, they have to make a greater attention effort, because now they must also pay attention to the possible reactions of the judges or observers.

Dissemination of responsibility

The diffusion of responsibility refers to a kind of loss of motivation, both in one person and in a group, produced by the presence of other people. The greater the number of people present, the lower the pressure on an individual to carry out a certain behavior. Paradoxically, it is easy to observe how, when the number of people who can carry out the help behavior decreases, the probability that some of those people carry out such behavior increases. Considering only the variable number of people present, the greatest probability of giving help occurs when there is only one person present.

There are different possibilities that can explain the effects on behavior. One of them refers to the fear of evaluation. The presence of others may influence a person's delay in initiating the helping behavior-even, perhaps, they may not carry out any behavior-out of fear of the evaluation that the others will make of their own action. This fact has recently been emphasized by Hogan (2001), who argues that, in the end, an individual controls their behavior based on how that individual thinks that others will evaluate their own behavior. Another explanation refers to social influence. The observation of coldness or indifference on the part of others may contribute to the belief that the situation is not so serious. Therefore, we remain without doing anything. Latané (1981) referred to the effect of diffusion of responsibility in terms of social laziness, arguing that when the task to be performed is shared, a person works less than if he or she has to do it alone. However, there are some recent works (Hertel, Kerr and Messe, 2000; Kim, 2000; Smith, 2002) in which it seems to be emphasized that teamwork favors performance. In fact, when the skills of the different components of a group are diversified, the responsiveness and performance of that group increases. This fact is known as the Köhler effect. 2000; Kim, 2000; Smith, 2002) in which it seems to be emphasized that teamwork favors performance. In fact, when the skills of the different components of a group are diversified, the responsiveness and performance of that group increases. This fact is known as the Köhler effect. 2000; Kim, 2000; Smith, 2002) in which it seems to be emphasized that teamwork favors performance. In fact, when the skills of the different components of a group are diversified, the responsiveness and performance of that group increases. This fact is known as the Köhler effect.

Thus, the probability of the inhibition of a person's behavior increases as the number of people who make up the group increases, since, according to the perception of a specific person, the probability that someone solves the problem or the situation with some action. However, there are authors (Isen, 1987, 1999) who emphasize the need to take into account the effect of other variables, such as the mood (positive or negative) of a person, when understanding how these are produced. behavioral effects in the people of a group.

Another one of the fields in which it has been possible to verify the relevance of this type of effect is the labor one. Thus, the classic contributions of Latané and Darley have given rise to the emergence of a recent model, the collective effort model, proposed by Karau and Williams (2001), which is based on the idea of ??social laziness, and allows us to understand the deficient functioning in the labor groups based on a kind of law of minimum effort.

In sum, both in the effects of coercion and audience, and in the dissemination of responsibility, the existence of an apprehension for evaluation is appreciated. This is a relevant fact and with clear motivational connotations, since each person tries to manifest with the characteristics that typify the functioning of their reference group. That is, try to integrate and avoid rejection. Probably, in this motivational dimension is implicit an affective variable: social anxiety, which (Schlenker and Leary, 1982), could be defined as a state that motivates the person to cause a certain impression on others, although doubting the possibility of getting it. This state motivates the person to carry out certain strategies and behaviors, with which he is likely to obtain particular objectives: in the first place, to cause the most appropriate impression on the members of the group; Second, maintain or increase your own self-esteem; and, thirdly, but no less important, suppress the aversive state produced by social anxiety.

Compliance and obedience

Some authors (Darke, Chaiken, Bohner, Einwiller, Erb and Hazlewood, 1998) find that the tendency to conform response, according to that of the majority, is very frequent when the level of motivation related to performance it is low, since when this motivational level is moderate or high, the effect of compliance does not usually occur.

As for obedience, the work carried out by Milgram (1963, 1965) showed that many people can carry out aggressive or painful actions as acts of obedience to someone who owns or is assigned power or authority and Indicate that they act like this. The results of the research carried out showed that 65% of the participants managed to administer the maximum intensity punishment, a supposed electric shock, obeying the investigator's instructions. More recently, (Miller, Collins and Brief, 1995, Lüttke, 2004, Miller, 200 emphasize that the power of the situation, such as the proximity or not of the victim, the origin of the person who exercises power, the visualization of the victim, etc., lead to the blind obedience of those moments. When the situation allowed both participants to be located in the same room, a fact that made visual contact possible, there was never an electric shock with the maximum power (Elms, 1995). In this order of things, some authors (Zimbardo, 1969; Milgram, 1975) emphasize that obedience can be considered as a form of conformity, insofar as the subject who must obey thinks that the majority carries out the behavior that they demand from him. In any case, there are some 1975) emphasize that obedience can be considered as a form of conformity, insofar as the subject who must obey thinks that the majority carries out the behavior demanded of him. In any case, there are some 1975) emphasize that obedience can be considered as a form of conformity, insofar as the subject who must obey thinks that the majority carries out the behavior demanded of him. In any case, there are some

differences between conformity and obedience. In conformity there is an implicit influence, there is group pressure and between the subjects there is similarity. While in obedience the influence is explicit, the source is of a single subject who possesses a superior status.

Consistency and dissonance

From the approaches derived from social cognition other theoretical developments are derived that contribute to explain the cognitive change from the tension produced between different beliefs and thoughts. In this way, it is convenient to consider the contributions of the works of Heider (1946) and Festinger (195) on the cognitive consistency and dissonance.

In cognitive consistency, it is suggested that the relationship between thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behavior can produce motivation. This motivation can be considered as a state of tension, with aversive characteristics and with the capacity to activate the behavior of a subject, in order to reduce tension. Heider (1946, 1958) formulates his theory of the balance, according to which the relations that are established between a subject and other subjects or objects can be balanced or unbalanced. To the extent that the relations are unbalanced, the subject produces a motivational state that will disappear when the relationships are rebalanced. Heider says that relationships (triadic in their argumentation) can be positive or negative; when the product of the three relationships is positive, there is a balance; Conversely, When the result is negative, there is no balance. In figure 2 these relationships are shown.

Regarding cognitive dissonance, considering that there must be a marked consistency between beliefs, attitudes and thoughts with overt behavior, the resulting relationships can be: consonant, irrelevant and dissonant. Only when there is dissonance does the motivation take place, which aims to solve the dissonance. Festinger (195) postulates the theory of cognitive dissonance, according to which it is argued that the motivational state originates in the existence of a dissonance, which possesses aversive characteristics.The motivational state aims to reduce the dissonance. several reasons: a) when an expectation is not met, when there is a conflict between thoughts and sociocultural norms, and c) when there is a conflict between attitudes and behavior.

Some authors, such as Cooper (1999) and Harmon-Jones, (1999), among others, have opened an attractive debate centered on theoretical aspects related to cognitive dysfunction. Specifically, these authors question whether the cognitive dissonance, as proposed by Festinger, allows explaining or not the motivational effects aimed at reducing this dissonance, inconsistency or inconsistency, as well as the reduction of the aversive consequences implicit in the own dissonance. Harmon-Jones (1999) and Moore (200) point out that the existence of a dissonance or cognitive incompatibility generates an increase in the activation that has negative connotations Dissonance can occur between two cognitions or between a cognition and a behavior. of the two possibilities, the person experiences an important motivational state that leads him to try to resolve this discrepancy or inconsistency by reducing or making disappear the difference, the discrepancy, the dissonance and as a consequence that there is a significant decrease, even the complete disappearance, of the activation with aversive connotations. However, Cooper (1999) proposes that the motivation to reduce cognitive dissonance comes from the perception of the aversive consequences of the dissonance itself. For that reason, changes in attitudes have as their objective to make the consequences become non-aversive. Both perspectives have in common the fact of locating a difference, discrepancy or dissonance between two variables at the base of the motivation for change.

The attribution

Attribution-based theories combine personal and environmental characteristics to explain the behavior of a subject. The premises on which the theories of attribution are argued are the following: a) a subject tries to find out the causes of his behavior and those of the behavior of others; b) the assignment of causes to a behavior is not random, but follows rules; c) causes attributed to a behavior can trigger other behaviors. In short, as pointed out by Pittman and Pittman (1980), the motivation that drives a subject to do this type of attribution has to do with the need to control the environment.

Among the most relevant approaches to these approaches are, among others, those of Heider (1958), Green, Miller, Crowson, Duke and Akey (200 and Weiner (1972, 1980) .With regard to Heider's formulation (1958), that the behaviors can be attributed to causes internal to the subject (dispositions) or to external causes (situational factors) The dispositions include abilities and motivations, and the latter, in addition, can refer to intentions and executions Situational factors include difficulty of the task and luck. "Thus, Heider says, although there is an important bias towards attributions around personal factors, an attribution must consider, on the one hand, the ability, intention and execution of the subject, and, on the other, the difficulty of the task and luck.

As for Weiner's theory (1972, 1980), it focuses on the attribution performed in achievement situations. In particular, Weiner's argument is based on two dimensions: "internal-external" and "stable-unstable." Regarding the internal-external dimension, Weiner states that there are four basic elements in the interpretation we perform in a situation of achievement: on the one hand, skill and effort (internal or personal factors), and, on the other hand, difficulty of the task and luck (environmental or situational factors). In addition, with regard to the stability-instability dimension, Weiner argues that, with respect to the four factors outlined above, the skill and difficulty of the task could be considered as relatively stable aspects, while effort and luck would be considered relatively unstable factors. We can attribute our success or failure to one of these four elements, or to the combination of several of them. Later (Weiner, 1985, 1986, 1991), will establish the final model, according to which there would be three large dimensions: locus, stability and controllability. Weiner's argument, understood in the context of a social interaction, requires an analysis of causality by an individual to determine if a certain behavior is appropriate to achieve an objective. But, in addition, as Weiner (1998) himself has recently pointed out, it is also possible - sometimes even necessary - to justify the occurrence of other motivated social behaviors through attributional processes. Specifically, the behavior of help or the behavior of aggression are the result, among other factors, of the processes of attribution of causes, or attribution of responsibility, to the person or group of people who become the objective of the person who performs the attribution process of causes. Among the motivated behaviors that have received the most attention from researchers are aggression (Graham, 1998) and helping behavior (Palmero and Tejero, 1997, Weiner, 1998). In the process of causal attribution carried out by the person who will eventually dispense the help behavior, two variables of manifest relevance are involved: on the one hand, the cognitive one, in the form of estimates, analyzes and evaluations about the responsibility of the person or group that needs or asks for help; and, on the other hand, the affective, in the form of affective consequences that the person or group that needs or asks for help produces in the person who can carry out the helping behavior. As a rule, there is usually a positive correlation between attribution of high responsibility and negative affect, as well as between attribution of low responsibility and positive affect.

Ultimately, what Weiner is proposing is that the attributional processes are essential for an individual to establish a relationship between the behavior he performs and the objectives he achieves, making the level of motivation in successive occasions adjust to an objective. susceptible to be achieved; but, in addition, such attributional processes are also important for a person to feel motivated or not to carry out prosocial behavior, since, in this case, the attribution of causes is done on the state or situation in which find the person or group that can benefit from the execution of the motivated behavior with prosocial connotations. That is, it would be possible to propose two complementary attributional theories: one intrapersonal and another interpersonal. The intrapersonal attributional theory would be related to the association between the expectation of success and performance; interpersonal attributional theory would be related to the association between responsibility attributed to the person or group and affect that person or group produces in the individual who will provide the help and motivated behavior (Weiner, 2000).

Competition and control

Planteamientos current see in the term of competence an integrating concept of the motive of achievement. People develop in a social environment in which individual and interpersonal needs are intertwined and cover them, testing the degree of competence or ability to control the environment (Gomene and Martin, 2008). Competition is a term that encompasses many of the concepts defined in the achievement motive.

Among the most important theories about competition and control are those of Rogers (1961) and Maslow (1971), although Kelly's (1955, 1962) could also be included here. Regarding the argument of Rogers (1961), emphasizes the idea that the subject is immersed in a constant tendency to update. In this growth motive the environment greatly influences, as well as the relationships that the subject establishes with other subjects.

Maslow's argumentation (1943, 1955, 1971), is based on the attempt of each subject to achieve its full potential, or self-actualization. Now, before reaching these types of motives, the individual must satisfy previous ones. Human needs, says Maslow, are structured hierarchically: physiological, security, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization. The first four have to do with the motivation for deprivation, while the last one corresponds to the motivation for growth.

nIt seems relevant to emphasize that Rogers' concept of complete functioning and Maslow's self-actualization point out that a subject can control the influences he is receiving. This sense of control, or competence, called "motivation of competition" or "motivation of effectiveness" by White (1959), has as its mission to increase the subject's knowledge regarding the variables that make up his environment, in order to increase your

oadaptation. It is important to observe how in these types of arguments the relevance of physiological needs and psychological needs is emphasized. Within this last type of needs, Emmons (1989) proposed a triad that is currently accepted in the psychology of motivation: needs related to security, needs related to social approval, intimacy and belonging, and needs related to self-esteem and competence.

At present, different studies have been developed trying to verify the hierarchies of needs. Thus, the need for love and belonging that Maslow proposes is very similar to the need for a relationship between Deci and Ryan (1985). In the remaining needs there are some differences related to temporality and generality (Palmero, Carpi, Gómez, Guerrero and Muñoz, 2005). In other formulations on the hierarchy of needs, the needs of relationship, self-esteem, pleasure and self-consistency are highlighted (Epstein, 1990) and those of popularity-influence and money-pleasures (Derber, 1979). In all of them there are similarities with the needs enunciated by Maslow, although others are novel and can be incorporated to them.

qSheldon, Elliot, Kim and Kasser (2001) have carried out an investigation with which it can be established if there are some needs that are the most priority and common in the human being. In total, the ten needs investigated are the following: competence, autonomy, relationship, physiological, security, self-esteem, self-actualization, pleasure, popularity-influence and money. The criteria used by the authors to establish the most important needs in the human being have been two. On the one hand, the one that has to do with satisfaction, and, on the other hand, the one that has to do with affection. Satisfaction acquires cognitive connotations, related to the analysis of the value of that individual, as well as their own ability to achieve the most attractive and valuable goals. On the other hand, the relevance of a need is also closely related to the ability to achieve the goal that suppresses that need to produce experiences related to sustaining positive affect, when it already exists, or to obtaining positive affect, when it did not exist previously. The work carried out was developed in different temporality. In the first, the participants had to indicate which had been the most important needs during the last week, in another they had to indicate which were the most important during the last month, and in the third they had to indicate which were the most important during the last semester. In each study, the participants indicated the relevance of the needs, taking as criterion the satisfaction and the affection that produced the suppression of them. In the following table, No. 1, the needs outlined by the participating individuals are summarized.

Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation

Another interesting approach is that developed by Hunt (1965), which focuses on the distinction between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. This distinction refers to situations in which, in the absence of internal needs of the subject (intrinsic motivation), he still has the capacity to feel motivated by external factors (extrinsic motivation). Thus, intrinsically motivated behavior-that is, behavior that occurs in the absence of external controls-represents internal causality, while extrinsically motivated behavior
-The one that is produced as a consequence of external imposition or attraction- represents external causality. It has been possible to appreciate how such theoretical formulations allow understanding motivation in various applied fields, such as sports (García, Cervelló, Sánchez, Miguel and Navas, 2010, Rochholz, 2004, Simons, Dewittee and Lens, 2003, Tauer and Harackiewicz, 2004), and the military, particularly in aspects related to the movement, control and direction of large human groups (Goleman, 2005), or education, in relation to the achievement of goals (Elliot and Thrash, 2001). Self-Brown and Mathews, 2003; Greene, Miller Crowson, Duke and Akey, 2004; Valenzuela, 2007).

As Ryan and Deci (2000) have outlined, a clear relationship can be established between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. They suggest that the human being has innate needs related to competence and control; Such needs are associated with intrinsic motivation. For its part, extrinsic motivation has to be studied considering the significance of a given event to achieve the satisfaction of those needs

innatas, y no solo desde la perspectiva del análisis del propio evento en sí mismo. Es este un tema de relevancia, ya que resulta muy difícil determinar cuál es la rela- ción existente entre motivación intrínseca y motivación extrínseca en una persona que lleva a cabo una actividad dirigida a obtener un objetivo. Por una parte, hay que considerar la relevancia personal y social de ese objetivo, pero, por otra parte, es necesario considerar también la recompensa que puede obtener ese individuo con la ejecución de la actividad. Si se llevan a cabo análisis específicos destinados a medir los niveles de motivación intrínseca y motivación extrínseca, se pone de relieve que, cuando la recompensa extrínseca se asocia a una tarea que posee poca o nula significación para la persona que tiene que llevar a cabo la tarea, no se pro- duce ninguna repercusión sobre la motivación intrínseca, y, en el caso de que dicha repercusión se produzca, tiene connotaciones negativas. Ahora bien, si la tarea en cuestión sí que posee significación para el individuo, se aprecia que la recompensa extrínseca repercute positivamente sobre la motivación intrínseca (Harackiewicz y Sansone, 2000). Puede considerarse que, más que aspectos antagónicos, ambos tipos de motivación forman parte de un continuo. En un trabajo más reciente, Durik y Harackiewicz (2003) encontraron que las personas con mayor motivación intrínseca presentan, a su vez, mayor motivo de logro.

New applications in research: motivation for leisure

One of the motivational orientations that most interest raises in recent times has to do with the motivation for leisure, also called motivation for rest, motivation for leisure, motivation for fun, etc. Leisure activities attract, notoriously, the attention of the human being, and could be considered as a form of intrinsic motivation. Leisure refers to the set of voluntary and pleasurable activities that an individual does when he is not working. The objective of these activities is in the growth and training of the individual, in the need for membership, in recreation, even in the maintenance or recovery of health (Grouzet, Vallerand, Thill and Procencher, 2004, Rochholz, 2004 ).

The motivational importance of the subject in question has attracted the attention of researchers, and there is a recent work in which the ability of four important theoretical positions is compared when explaining the motivation of individuals to direct their efforts towards the realization of such activities (Hills, Argyle and Reeves, 2000). Such theoretical positions are the following:

The Theory of flow (Csikzentmihalyi and Csikzentmihalyi, 1988)

In this theory, it can be seen that there are activities of a very diverse nature, duration and exigency of effort, with the characteristic common to all of them of producing di- vert, or being related to leisure. The main component of this enjoyment situation was the experience of an intensely rewarding state of

interest and fascination, which they call flow. One of the activities that has been studied recently by Csikzentmihalyi (199 is the one corresponding to the profession of university professor, suggesting that this type of activities allows to understand the flow as a form of experience of pleasure that leads to sustained motivation. A teacher who is intrinsically motivated to learn is very likely to get his students to also look for the intrinsic rewards of learning.

The optimal flow occurs when an individual perceives that what he has to do - the activity, the challenge - and his ability to do it - the skills - are balanced. However, it seems that it is necessary that the level of the skills and the challenge are above a certain threshold. Thus, if the level of both variables was low, the flow did not occur, but a kind of apathy and boredom.

In the work of Hills, Argyle and Reeves (2000) it was highlighted that there are different combinatorial relationships. These are: (1) when the challenge exceeds the skills, fun or enjoyment is low; (2) when the difference between the skills and the challenge is close to "zero", there is a significant increase in the amount of fun and enjoyment, this experience being most rewarding when the skills are very slightly higher than the challenge; (3) When the skills are substantially superior to the challenge, there is a progressive decrease in fun and enjoyment. In fact, when the skills are much greater than the level of the challenge, the degree of gratification and satisfaction that the individual experiences is as low as when the level of the challenge is much greater than that of the skills.

The theory of reversibility (Apter, 1982)

Apter (1982) suggests that there are some behaviors that can not be explained by the typical arguments of the homeostasis process; behaviors that have to do with activities such as sports, entertainment, hobbies, etc. In a word: with leisure. From these considerations, Apter formulates a hedonistic model, in which he distinguishes two alternative and reversible motivational states: the telic state that is associated with persistent and resistant activities aimed at obtaining a relatively distant objective in time, and the paratelic state that is associated with activities aimed at obtaining an immediate objective. While it seems evident that both states have gratifying connotations, there are differences between them. Specifically, in the télico state, the individual realizes an anticipation of the goal that he pursues and expects to obtain; On the other hand, in the para- tlic state, the gratification of the implied goal is enjoyed at the same moment of carrying out the activity. The theory of Apter could allow the categorization of leisure activities depending on the temporal nature of them. So, the results of Hills,

Argyle and Reeves (2000) show that parathelic activities are those most associated with the motivation for leisure, since its same and momentary execution is associated with the obtaining of gratification. In addition, these are activities that tend to be more social, less challenging and require a lower degree of skills for their execution.

The theory of social motivation (Argyle, 1996)

In several papers, Hills and Argyle (1998 a, 1998 b) have highlighted that many of the activities considered leisure are carried out with the aim of initiating, increasing and / or maintaining social contacts. Even a good number of these activities require the presence of other people to be able to carry out. Ultimately, the desire to achieve social contacts can be one of the main motivations related to leisure, since leisure is closely associated with social contact. In fact, even those individuals who experience the motivation for leisure doing some solitary activity need to get in touch with other individuals who, like themselves, have the same concerns, hobbies or amusements.

To a certain extent, the four theories allow to explain the motivation for leisure. As in these forms of motivation are present factors related to the social dimension and the individual and personal dimension, each one of them approaches the reason of this form of behavior.

Conclusions

The variety of situations in which human behavior is carried out can not be explained from motivations strictly emanating from external stimulating conditions. Far from considering the person exclusively as a being receptive to these conditions, the different cognitive theories share the idea of ??considering the subject as an active agent in the process of interpreting the environment that surrounds him and in the selection of alternatives for action that in Each case can be carried out to achieve the desired results. Although the current cognitive models do not reject the physiological variables and the stimulating conditions of the environment in the explanation of the reason for the behavior, they emphasize the importance of other factors, such as beliefs, affections, attitudes, etc., that mediate in the development of behavior. The set of these variables, with their consequent combinations and variability in their strength and valence, are a relevant aspect that explains the dynamism of the causes of the behavior. At present, studies on motivation take up the previous contributions to expand and update them based on the different circumstances in which the human being is in his continuous process of adaptation. This adaptation, far from being uniform for all people of different cultures, ages, experiences, etc., is complex and diverse. In this sense, the motivation that certain people can present in specific cultures and social environments can be very different according to the historical, evolutionary moment,

In short, motivated behavior can and must be explained from physiological, psychological (affective and intellective), individual and collective needs, which give rise to the cognitive processes followed to analyze the environment, choose an alternative action that leads to the achievement of the satisfaction of different needs and an optimal adaptation.

The emotion process

Introduction

All living beings possess in their genetic endowment what is necessary to show signs, more or less developed, more or less primitive, of an essential affective process: that of approaching the pleasant and avoiding the unpleasant.1 Emotion is a process adaptive that is part of the affective processes. That is to say, although all emotion can be considered as a form of affective process, not all affective processes are emotional processes. Phylogenetically speaking, emotion is a process prior to consciousness, since it is a product of evolution itself, which appears when the brain acquires sufficient capacity for development.

Emotional processes, as part of affective processes, may not be present in all forms of life, but it is certain that they are present in different species. Emotions are not exclusive property of the human species. However, there is one aspect that can be especially relevant, and it refers to the special connection between emotions and complex ideas, values, judgments, etc., which, at least in principle, seems that only humans possess.

Consequently, we believe that emotion represents one more form of adaptation to the environment, executed by those species that possess in their genetic baggage the appropriate infrastructure for the individuals of the same to develop and manifest the emotional processes. Emotion is a response elicited by a stimulus or situation temporarily close and known. It can have positive or negative connotations, 2 but it is always linked to adaptation to situations that pose a significant threat to the equilibrium of the organism. This response has explosive characteristics, high intensity and very short duration. In addition, that response manifests internally and / or externally,

Thus, it can be proposed that all emotions play an important regulatory role oriented to the adaptation of the organism, the ultimate goal being to help maintain the life of said organism. If they are kept in the genetic baggage of so many species, it is because some adaptive role they have to fulfill, since, otherwise, they would have disappeared over the course of evolution.

nnnnnn In the less developed species of the phylogenetic scale, this basic affective process, which moves along a continuum that goes from the most rewarding to the least rewarding, has survival connotations: avoid predators and achieve reproduction. 

Between negative emotions, we must point out anger, sadness, disgust and fear. Between positive emotions, joy and hope.

Regardless of the different social and cultural influences that exert their effects on triggering and expression, emotions are biologically determined processes, depending on the activation of specific neural structures that are distributed from subcortical areas, specifically from the brainstem to the cortex. cerebral, passing through the important structures of the diencephalon and the limbic system.

Although emotions manifest their most visible effects in the plane of the glands, viscera and muscles, they also have an important impact on the different cognitive processes underway and immediately following the occurrence of an emotion. This last characteristic has sometimes led to the proposition that emotion is dysfunctional, which has a negative impact on the performance and adaptive capacity of an organism. This appreciation has to be nuanced. It is true, first of all, that emotion can be considered as a kind of spring that disturbs, and that can even stop all processes that were in progress at the time of its occurrence; it's true also, secondly, that emotion has the capacity to disorganize the hierarchy of possible responses and manifestations that the individual had programmed to be executed. However, it is no less true that this disorganization occurs at the expense of a new hierarchical organization, perhaps more rudimentary and stereotyped, but organization at last. This new hierarchical organization of the possible responses that may occur has clearly functional connotations, since the agency activates those springs and mechanisms that it considers appropriate to each situation. Consequently, there is no doubt that when we talk about emotion we refer to a basic adaptive process necessary for survival. it is no less true that such disorganization occurs at the expense of a new hierarchical organization, perhaps more rudimentary and stereotyped, but organization at last. This new hierarchical organization of the possible responses that may occur has clearly functional connotations, since the agency activates those springs and mechanisms that it considers appropriate to each situation. Consequently, there is no doubt that when we talk about emotion we refer to a basic adaptive process necessary for survival. it is no less true that such disorganization occurs at the expense of a new hierarchical organization, perhaps more rudimentary and stereotyped, but organization at last. This new hierarchical organization of the possible responses that may occur has clearly functional connotations, since the agency activates those springs and mechanisms that it considers appropriate to each situation. Consequently, there is no doubt that when we talk about emotion we refer to a basic adaptive process necessary for survival. since the organism activates those springs and mechanisms that it considers appropriate to each situation. Consequently, there is no doubt that when we talk about emotion we refer to a basic adaptive process necessary for survival. since the organism activates those springs and mechanisms that it considers appropriate to each situation. Consequently, there is no doubt that when we talk about emotion we refer to a basic adaptive process necessary for survival.

Biology of emotions

In the last ten years we have witnessed a proliferative phenomenon in the search for the neurobiological bases of emotional processes. The idea that subcortical structures are essential to understand all dimensions of emotional behavior is well established. That is, if, in the first place, emotions are basic adaptive processes that are present in the human being before it fully develops the structure and functionality of the central nervous system; if, secondly, emotions are adaptive mechanisms that are present in many of the lower species, because in their genetic baggage is the appropriate endowment for them to appear and develop; It seems sensible, in the third place, to propose that the biological infrastructure - or, again,

This argument, which is correct, is not complete, and, in fact, led to a series of great errors, 3 of which, fortunately, the psychology of emotion is being released in

One of the big mistakes has been to consider cognition and emotion-more appropriately affect-as independent dimensions. Derived from this error, another great ambiguity was outlined and maintained for a long time: that cognition, superior by definition, imposed all sorts of decisions about emotion.

the last times. However, in honor of the truth, it must be explained that this argument was, in turn, the consequence of the vision that was held about the relationship between cognitive systems and affective systems: on the one hand, cognitive disorders they were the result of cortical lesions, whereas affective disorders were the result of subcortical lesions; On the other hand, there was a noticeable increase in emotional behaviors when there was a disconnection between cortical structures and subcortical structures, that is, when the inhibitory action of the cortex was prevented on the behaviors controlled by subcortical structures. It could be argued that cognitive functions and affective functions depended on different areas, allowing cortical areas,

In any of the cases, admitting the relevance of subcor- tical structures in the field of emotion, the news is showing that many recent works are also oriented towards the role played by other neurobiological structures of more recent appearance in phylogenetic development: the neocortical structures. To a certain extent, the interest in the study of these more recent structures comes from the clinical field, since it is appreciated how lesions in the frontal lobes are clearly associated with notable changes in emotional behavior.

Furthermore, as an observation of the complexity involved in the study of emotional neu- robiology, another aspect to be considered concerns the eventual participation of the different neurobiological structures in each of the two planes through which it has been studied. the emotion, namely: 

The one that has to do with the knowledge of emotion -recognition, denomination, evaluation and evaluation-, 

The one that has to do with the expression -by means of language, gestures, facial changes , and any other movement with connotations of social communication. Both planes could be defined as: processing of emotional stimulation and preparation of emotional response.

Emotional stimulation processing

The brain structures that are currently receiving the most attention in the field of recognition, evaluation and assessment of emotion have been the amygdala and the cerebral hemispheres.

As for the amygdala, its special location, as well as the important connectivity with other brain structures, make it an area of ??special emotional relevance. The amygdala receives sensory information of all modalities, and is in contact with the hippocampus, the basal forebrain and the basal ganglia, which are important structures in the memory and attention processes, as well as with the hypothalamus, which is fundamental for the patient. control of homeostasis and neuroendocrine regulation. After the bilateral lesion of the amygdala, it has been possible to appreciate the existence of agnosia for the emotional and social significance of the stimuli, when the experimental subjects are inferior animals. But nevertheless,

When studying cases of bilateral lesions of the amygdala in humans, the results are quite heterogeneous. However, in general terms, the active participatory vision of this structure in emotion predominates. Even the possibility that the amygdala is involved in a broader and more general emotional processing function, with social connotations, is not ruled out.

As for the cerebral hemispheres, the suggestions referring to the involvement of the left hemisphere in those emotional aspects that are transmitted through language, or that involve the verbal description of an emotion, are already classic, while the right hemisphere would be more related to the emotional aspects that are transmitted through expressive and gestural characteristics.

More recently, the special relevance of the right hemisphere for the processing of information with emotional connotations has been suggested, both in the case of humans and in the case of animals of lower species. The implication of the right hemisphere in emotional processing seems clear. However, the reason for this differential type of operation continues to raise doubts and controversies. In fact, assuming one of the most accepted principles currently, which is based on biological hierarchical determination, it could be suggested that the most primitive forms of emotion, which as a rule have a negative valence, are especially linked to the functioning of the right hemisphere, while those other phylogenetically more advanced emotions, and with social connotations,

In our view, the one who has better outlined the relevance of the right hemisphere in the processing of emotional information has been Damasio (Damasio, 1994, 1995, 1998, Adolphs and Damasio, 2000). With an argument, which he calls the somatic marker hypothesis, Damasio argues that the processing of emotion depends on the processing of somatic information. In this frame of reference, the right hemisphere seems to be specialized in the representation of the body, since the specific lesions of this hemisphere produce a greater loss of control over the general state of the body, than when the lesions are circumscribed to the hemisphere. left. It is probable, says Damasio, that the functions referred to emotion and the representation of the body,

Preparation of the emotional response

Also in terms of emotional expression in particular, and of emotional manifestation in general, the neurobiological structures that are receiving the most attention from researchers are the amygdala and the cerebral hemispheres.

As for the amygdala, it should be noted that, in the last decade, and thanks to the productive effort of authors such as LeDoux (1996, 2000 a, 2000 b), this structure is revealing itself as a fundamental area to understand the substrate neurobiological of emotions, at least of the emotion of fear. As regards the preparation of the emotional response, the existence of two neurobiological systems is proposed. On the one hand, the classic, longer system, which includes the thalamus, the associative cortex specific to the type of stimulus involved, and the different subcortical structures that would participate in the response of the organism, including emotional manifestations as well. In this case, the stimulus, through the afferent pathways, reaches the reticular formation, reaching the thalamus; from this diencephalic structure, and specifically, the stimulation is directed towards the cortical area specialized in the analysis and meaning of it. After this process, in which the evaluation and evaluation of the stimulus or situation takes place, the appropriate response is prepared to overcome the specific requirement. The other system proposed by these authors is shorter and more direct, since the stimulus, once it reaches the thalamus, in addition to following the route just discussed, follows a shorter projection to the amygdala, which has the capacity to prepare a response immediate organismic in the face of the possible threat that the stimulus in question may imply. In this second possibility, only certain subcor- tical structures are involved, of which the most important one is the amygdala. In fact, according to LeDoux, Emotions are the product of the activity of this system. The shortest path of the two is the second, so it is this path that allows the almost immediate response to the danger signals. But, immediately afterwards, the result of the more detailed analysis of that stimulus, which has taken place in the specific associative cortex, also reaches the amygdala, confirming whether the initial response prepared by the amygdala has been correct or not. If the initial response was correct, it is now refined in its manifestation, adjusting to the specific significance of the stimulus and the damage associated with it. If, on the other hand, the initial response was not appropriate, in the case of a false alarm, the answer automatically stops and the autonomic mechanisms activated to protect the balance of the organism. It must be borne in mind that the faster response of the amygdala from the direct information coming from the thalamus occurs at the expense of the quality in the analysis of such stimulation. That is to say, the stimulation arrived directly from the thalamus is very little elaborated, with which the response of the amygdala is also quite nonspecific. At most, we could raise the possibility that it is an elementary response of preparation, of defense in general. In our opinion, the adaptive value of the contribution of LeDoux is undeniable. Although the rapid response, precipitated, that produces the amygdala is not correct, that is, although most of the time it is only a false alarm, This type of error is preferable to that which would mean not reacting in time and suffer the consequences of a dangerous situation. Or, what is the same, in evolutionary terms, the existence of many situations cataloged as false positive is more adaptive than a single cataloged as a false negative, since that single situation can also be the last.

In any of the cases, beyond the doubts that the actual participation of the amygdala may provoke in the emotional processes, most of the

Current results point to their involvement, both in the processing of incoming information and in the preparation of the emotional response.

As for the cerebral hemispheres, in recent years there have been important revisions that, in broad strokes, also find a relative differential implication of the hemispheres in emotional expression. In this order of things, in a previous work (Palmero, 1996), we made reference to certain aspects of interest, highlighting that emotional expression acquires differential nuances in both parts of the face. The right part of it is the public zone, because it reflects the emotions that the subject wants others to perceive, while the left part of the face is the most private area in emotional expression. These are quite accepted statements nowadays, since, in the sense of the contributions of Ekman (1985), it has been established that, when a subject voluntarily and falsely manifests an emotion, the expression of the same is asymmetric, observing that, usually, the right part of the face expresses with greater intensity the emotion in question, whereas, when an individual spontaneously manifests an emotion, the expression of the same is quite symmetrical in both sides of the face. However, even in the cases of expression of true emotions, that is, in cases of expressive symmetry between both parts of the face, we must be careful with excessive generalization. Indeed, Sackheim and Gur (1978) conducted a study in which they took pictures of faces expressing different spontaneous emotions; later they cut them vertically through the center, forming new complete images with each part (left or right) and its corresponding mirror image. That is to say, they formed complete faces with the right part and its mirror image, and with the left part and its mirror image. They could confirm that the faces formed from the left halves of the respective original photographs expressed more intensely the emotion; even, as Gainotti (2000) points out, this ex- pressive difference between the two sides of the face was more pronounced, again in favor of the left side, when the expression referred to negative emotions. If we know that the expression of the left side of the face is controlled by the right hemisphere, and the right side of the left hemisphere, we can conclude that, even in those cases of spontaneous and real emotions, the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional expression. and with the left part and its mirror image. They could confirm that the faces formed from the left halves of the respective original photographs expressed more intensely the emotion; even, as Gainotti (2000) points out, this ex- pressive difference between the two sides of the face was more pronounced, again in favor of the left side, when the expression referred to negative emotions. If we know that the expression of the left side of the face is controlled by the right hemisphere, and the right side of the left hemisphere, we can conclude that, even in those cases of spontaneous and real emotions, the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional expression. and with the left part and its mirror image. They could confirm that the faces formed from the left halves of the respective original photographs expressed more intensely the emotion; even, as Gainotti (2000) points out, this ex- pressive difference between the two sides of the face was more pronounced, again in favor of the left side, when the expression referred to negative emotions. If we know that the expression of the left side of the face is controlled by the right hemisphere, and the right side of the left hemisphere, we can conclude that, even in those cases of spontaneous and real emotions, the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional expression. They could confirm that the faces formed from the left halves of the respective original photographs expressed more intensely the emotion; even, as Gainotti (2000) points out, this ex- pressive difference between the two sides of the face was more pronounced, again in favor of the left side, when the expression referred to negative emotions. If we know that the expression of the left side of the face is controlled by the right hemisphere, and the right side of the left hemisphere, we can conclude that, even in those cases of spontaneous and real emotions, the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional expression. They could confirm that the faces formed from the left halves of the respective original photographs expressed more intensely the emotion; even, as Gainotti (2000) points out, this ex- pressive difference between the two sides of the face was more pronounced, again in favor of the left side, when the expression referred to negative emotions. If we know that the expression of the left side of the face is controlled by the right hemisphere, and the right side of the left hemisphere, we can conclude that, even in those cases of spontaneous and real emotions, the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional expression. again in favor of the left side, when the expression referred to negative emotions. If we know that the expression of the left side of the face is controlled by the right hemisphere, and the right side of the left hemisphere, we can conclude that, even in those cases of spontaneous and real emotions, the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional expression. again in favor of the left side, when the expression referred to negative emotions. If we know that the expression of the left side of the face is controlled by the right hemisphere, and the right side of the left hemisphere, we can conclude that, even in those cases of spontaneous and real emotions, the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional expression.

The authors themselves, however, emphasize the need to ratify their contributions. On the other hand, the fact that the expressive asymmetry, in favor of the left side of the face, was greater in the negative emotions made us suspect that the right hemisphere could be more involved in this type of emotions, while the hemisphere left could play a more important role in positive emotions. It was an attractive argument that deserved verification. As Kinsbourne (1989) indicates, conducting studies with patients affected by brain injury located in one of the hemispheres led to the proposal that, in patients with localized brain damage, the lesion of the left hemisphere disinhibited the pessimistic and negative functionality of the hemisphere. straight,

On the other hand, the lesion of the right hemisphere disinhibited the opti- mistic and positive functionality of the left hemisphere, with a considerable increase in the number of positive emotions.

Ultimately, as appears to be derived from the current situation in this field, the appearance of heterogeneous results leads us to be cautious when establishing a localization delimitation that is too close, since, although presumably, the neurobiological structures are being investigated. If they are involved in the control of emotional behavior, the exact role played by each of them remains ambiguous. The hypotheses that are most frequently used to locate the participation of the cerebral hemispheres in emotions are the following:

El right hemisphere has a marked superiority over the left-hand hemisphere in terms of emotional behavior in general (Gainotti, 1989, 2000).

The two hemispheres have a complementary specialization for the control of the different aspects related to affection. In particular, the left hemisphere would have a predominant role for positive emotions, while the right hemisphere would be predominant for negative emotions (Sackheim, Greenberg, Weiman, Gur, Hungerbuhler and Geschwind, 1982).

Emotional expression, like language, is an essential form of communication. The right hemisphere is dominant for emotional expression, similar to the superiority possessed by the left hemisphere for language (Ross, 1984) form.

The right hemisphere is dominant for the perception of all those emotionally related events, such as facial expressions, body movements, etc. (Adolphs, Damasio, Tranel and Damasio, 1996).

In short, the field of research is broad, the theoretical positions varied, and, logically, the heterogeneous results. These limitations prevent consensus about the specific role played by the hemispheres in general. Some authors, such as LeDoux (2000 a), point out that it is necessary to look for methodological alternatives in the field of neurobiology, going towards the eventual specific localization of a specific cerebral area involved in a particular emotion. However, it seems more prudent to avoid any excessively localizationist approach in an area such as emotional processes, given the increasingly evident existence of an interaction between affective processes and cognitive processes.

The basic emotions

It is easy to see how, in a systematic way, a large number of terms have been used with enough flexibility to refer to emotional processes. Of all of them, the denominations of affection, humor and emotion are those that have been considered most frequently as interchangeable. Even, particularizing a little more, of the three terms outlined, humor and emotion are the ones that most often induce confusion. For this reason, we consider that it is convenient to propose some nuances that allow us to better understand what the advantages are and what limitations when using each of the terms, both in the theoretical formulations and in the research.

Affected. If we consider the concepts of humor, emotion and affection, we can observe that the latter is the most general of the three. Furthermore, from a phylogenetic and ontogenetic point of view, it is the most primitive. The affect has tone or valence, which can be positive or negative, and intensity, which can be low or high. It is speculated that the tone or valence is directly related to some diencephalic structures (hypothalamus), and the intensity with the reticular formation. Affection has to do with preference; It allows the knowledge of the value that the different situations to which it has to face for the subject. There is an innate tendency towards positive affect, in such a way that the goal of a subject is to obtain pleasure. We could say that affect represents the essence of behavior, Humor. Humor, or affective state, is a specific form of the set of affective processes. It also implies the existence of tone and intensity. Humor, moreover, denotes the existence of a set of beliefs about the likelihood that the subject has to experience pleasure or pain in the future; that is, to experience positive affect or negative affect. A specific mood can last several days, varying as the subject's future expectation does. Related to affection, it has a shorter duration, but, related to emotion, it is usually more lasting.

Emotion. It is also a specific form of the set of affective processes. It corresponds to a multidimensional response, with adaptive connotations, which is usually very brief, very intense and temporarily associated with a current triggering stimulus, both external and internal; that is, it refers to a concrete relation of the subject with its environment in the present moment. The emotional processes, as part of affective processes, may not be present in all forms of life, but they are not the exclusive patrimony of the human being, being able to be located in different species. However, the connection between emotions and cognitive processes in the human being leads us to suggest the relevance that acquires the subjective dimension of emotion: feeling.

Feeling. It refers to the awareness of the occurrence of an emotion. When emotion is considered as a process, and thus has to be considered, feeling is a phase or stage in that process. Although it is not necessary to be able to talk about emotional process, it is imperative for an individual to know that he is experiencing an emotion. Talking about feeling implies the obligatory reference to consciousness. Phylogenetically speaking, emotion is a process prior to consciousness, since this is a product of evolution itself, which appears when the brain acquires sufficient capacity for development. For this reason, it is perfectly possible to speak of emotions in individuals of lower species, without having to admit compulsorily the existence of emotional feeling in those individuals. In terms of duration, understood as a sudden perception of an emotion, the emotional feeling is very brief, probably the shortest of the different variables included in the affective processes. However, the feeling can give rise to a sustained experience over time, appreciably longer lasting even than the emotional process itself: humor.

With these assumptions, talking about basic emotions involves referring to a particular form of affective processes directly related to adaptation, functionality and survival.

The basic emotions represent a very attractive section for the study of the emotional field in psychology. At the same time, they can represent a bridge that allows the comparative study of emotions in the human being and in other species. In this order of things, the fact of considering the existence of a more or less reduced number of basic emotions allows the confluence of interests from disciplines related to the evolutionary, developmental, biological aspects, etc. The utility of the concept of basic emotion is evident in the psychology of emotion. It could happen, however, that there were some other difficulty when empirically demonstrating the relevance of such use, including the very existence of basic emotions. As we have explained in a previous work (Palmero, submitted for revision), it is very probable that the first use of the expression "basic emotions" is due to Descartes, who, in his work Passions of the soul. Metaphysical Meditations (1649/1985), proposes the existence of six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, love, hate, desire and admiration. The rest of the possible emotions is, for Descartes, a combination of these six. The emphasis on the existence of basic emotions is achieved with the work of Darwin The expression of emotions in man and animals (1872/1965), with clear implications in the field of biology and psychology. desire and admiration. The rest of the possible emotions is, for Descartes, a combination of these six. The emphasis on the existence of basic emotions is achieved with the work of Darwin The expression of emotions in man and animals (1872/1965), with clear implications in the field of biology and psychology. desire and admiration. The rest of the possible emotions is, for Descartes, a combination of these six. The emphasis on the existence of basic emotions is achieved with the work of Darwin The expression of emotions in man and animals (1872/1965), with clear implications in the field of biology and psychology.

There have been multiple approaches to the study of basic emotions, with arguments for and against being appreciated. Those who argue in favor of the existence of basic emotions propose criteria based on expression (Ekman, 1992 b), on the physiological response (Levenson, Cartenson, Friesen and Ekman, 1991), and, more recently, on the assessment (Power and Dalgleish, 1997). The common denominator to all these formulations has to do with the existence of a specific, concrete and differential association between an expressive pattern and an emotion, between a profile of physiological response and emotion, between a valuation related to a goal and an emotion. On the other hand, those who question the existence of basic emotions do so by criticizing the methodology used -recognition of expression through forced choice, or the frequent use of fake expressions-, the samples studied -often, samples from Western people. - (Russell, 1994), and the validity of the facial expression - the authentic universal is the activation of the simple muscles, which give rise to the configuration of the facial expression- (Ortony and Turner, 1990).

Beyond findings and refutations, the existence of basic emotions seems increasingly accepted. However, since the criteria used to locate how many and which of the different emotions proposed can be considered basic are varied, we still find a certain discrepancy in some studies. The different authors base their position on the basis of a specific criterion, by virtue of which there is only a small group of pure, primary, central, basic emotions, etc., emotions that can be distinguished from the criterion used -expression, physiology, assessment.

The use of any of these three criteria leads to the proposal of a small number of basic emotions, essentially the same. Therefore, the criteria that currently capitalize the relevance and the studies that are being carried out are the following: the expressive characteristic, the physiological dimension and the valuation process.

As for the expressive characteristic, it is a classic argument, located in the work of Darwin (1872/1965), and defended by authors such as Plutchik (1991), Izard (1994), and, fundamentally, by Ekman (1992 a). From this perspective, the universality of some emotions is defended from the existence of a facial expression and specific physiological changes for each of these basic emotions. The basic emotions are so insofar as their existence can be demonstrated in different human groups, independently of cultural influences; they are so insofar as their existence can be appreciated at the lowest levels of the phylogenetic scale. In fact, as indicated by Plutchik (1991), the basic emotions are relevant in the whole phylogenetic scale,

One of the authors that has most defended the basic character of some emotions from the expressive feature has been Ekman (1992 a, 1992

For this author, some emotions are universal, understanding with the universal term the property of some emotions to occur indefectibly before stimuli that are considered with the same characteristics by the people who face them, regardless of the culture, the social group, race, etc. Moreover, it even proposes that certain expressive characteristics, which denote the existence of a certain emotion, are likely to be observed in individuals of lower species phylogenetically close to the human species. For Ekman, there are nine characteristics that distinguish basic emotions in the human being:

the universality in the events that precede the emotion,

the distinctive universal expression,

the distinctive physiology,

the presence in other primate species,

coherence in the emotional response,

a quick start,

a short duration,

an automatic valuation, and

an unpredictable occurrence.

The result of their work highlights the existence of a small group of basic emotions: anger, sadness, fear, disgust, joy (sometimes, surprise has also been included). However, as we have pointed out earlier, in more recent works (Ekman, 1999 a, 1999 b), the author has modified his proposal, referring to a broader set of distinguishing characteristics of basic emotions. In the end, Ekman refers to a set of basic emotions including the following: fun, anger, contempt, joy, disgust, embarrassment, excitement, fear, guilt, pride, relief, sadness / distress, satisfaction, sensory pleasure and shame. In total, fifteen basic emotions. Although we do not doubt the possible existence of each and every one of them, let us show our reservations with regard to each and every one of these terms making reference, not only to the peculiarity of basic emotion, but even to the very denomination of emotion. Among doubtful emotions, we could refer to sensory pleasure and satisfaction. In any case, as we have been reviewing throughout our presentation, we are aware of the existence of controversy in various aspects related to emotional processes, so any proposal deserves to be considered, although it is also verified empirically.

Regarding the physiological response, the classic claim of James, when trying to locate a specific psychophysiological pattern in each emotion, remains valid, and, in fact, with renewed vigor, because the psychophysiological profile is used as a determining criterion to explain the different emotions that can be considered as basic emotions. While it seems enormously difficult to identify basic emotions from neural structures, since these change with evolution, and less developed organisms are able to show emotions even though their nervous system is precarious and rudimentary, it does seem feasible to study the answers physiological, in case it were possible to find patterns of response characteristic of each emotion.

Until relatively recently, there was an important problem with the use of the criterion based on the physiological response. Thus, it was very common to use the adrenocortical and pituitary adrenocortical sympathetic systems as nuclei for measuring the physiological response. The first of these, with the two known branches, sympathetic and parasympathetic, stimulates the marrow of the adrenal glands, or adrenal glands, causing them to synthesize and release epinephrine and norepinephrine. The second of the proposed systems, through the secretion of hormones and hormonal release factors, stimulates the cortex of the adrenal glands, causing them to synthesize and release corticoids, such as aldosterone, glucocorticoids, among which is cortisol, and androgenic steroids,

With these two systems it is terribly difficult to establish the existence of differential psychophysiological profiles for each emotion. The reason seems simple: 
if the emotions suppose an adaptive response before situations that entail

threat, danger, destabilization, imbalance, etc .;

if the occurrence of an emotion involves the activation of a certain physiological response;

if the physiological systems that have to produce the answer are the two that we have reviewed;

if in each one of the emotions the activation of both systems takes place;

it is quite likely that the same psychophysiological parameters, or very similar psychophysiological parameters, will be observed in more than one emotion;

It is difficult to appeal to the existence of a differential psychophysiological pattern characteristic of each of the emotions.

Although intuitively we can think that it seems logical that each emotion is associated with a specific psychophysiological profile, the truth is that the exclusive use of the two systems outlined imposes serious restrictions difficult to save. However, in recent years the situation has become quite clear. Thus, on the one hand, the use of more sophisticated procedures and techniques allows for a more detailed description of the particular manifestations implicit in the physiological response of each emotion. Moreover, on the other hand, we know that, in order to understand the general physiological response of an organism at the moment in which an emotion occurs, together with the relevant implication of the autonomic system, we must also consider the involvement of the central nervous system and the system immune

There is some example that illustrates what we have just commented. In this regard, since Cannon (1914, 1929) proposed the existence of endocrine patterns associated with fight and flight responses, including the important contributions of Henry (1986), it has often been argued that in the emotions of fear and anger there is a significant increase in the secretion of catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) from the adrenal medulla. With this statement, it was not possible to discern the eventual psychophysiological specificity in both emotions. That statement was correct, and it still is. However, today we know that, although in both emotions there is a significant increase in the secretion of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla, the increase in norepinephrine is greater in the emotion of anger, while in the emotion of fear, the increase in norepinephrine is greater.

These peculiarities denote what we mentioned before: the existence of more developed procedures and technology allows to delimit meticulously the particular psychophysiological profile and characteristic of each emotion. Probably, the idea of ??James was not so outlandish when he proposed the correspondence between a specific psychophysiological pattern and a particular emotion. We do not know if with the development of more sophisticated procedures it will be possible to reach a finer and more detailed delimitation of all those physiological changes characteristic of each one of the emotions.

As for the assessment process, the argument that is most frequently used to justify the existence of basic emotions has been made very clear by Stein and Trabasso (1992) in terms of functionality derived from valuation. In effect, these authors propose that the nature of the assessment associated with each basic emotion can be defined functionally. It is a way of proposing the adaptive value of emotions in general, and especially of basic emotions. There are a small number of central goals or objectives in the human being that are shared by all individuals in any group, regardless of the culture in which that individual and that group has developed. In turn, these goals or objectives are associated with a small set of assessment processes, planning and action, referred to the achievement, maintenance and recovery of these goals or objectives. The basic emotions are those in which their assessment process is linked to any of the aforementioned universal goals or central objectives that make up that particular and small group.

The basic emotions are those that, independently of the influences that may be exerted by social, learning, cultural factors, etc., are the result of identical evaluation processes. In this case, the fundamental criterion for talking about basic emotion refers to the existence of a concrete evaluation process, which leads to the occurrence of a specific emotion. The following table shows the configuration of the basic emotions according to each one of the different criteria used: expressive characteristic, physiology and assessment.

As for the surprise, those who defend the criterion of expressive characteristics consider that it is one more of these basic emotions. However, we do not rule out the possibility that it is only a cognitive variable that can be part of another emotion. This is, not even an emotion. Sometimes associated with certain motor and expressive manifestations, surprise can be part of diverse emotions as a kind of analysis of discrepancy or incongruity that precedes the interpretation and evaluation of a stimulus, event or situation. The result of that interpretation, evaluation and evaluation can give rise to one emotion or another, or none at all. The common denominator in all possible circumstances is the appearance of something unexpected, of something unforeseen. Due, it can produce a motor block, certain expressive manifestations, and a cognitive peculiarity of disorientation. In addition, the feeling associated with the possible emotion of surprise is debatable, since, depending on the course taken by the events, as well as the connotations and significance that the event has in that situation for a particular individual, so will the emotion that is unchain In short, in the face of doubt regarding the consideration of surprise as an emotion, it seems prudent to refer to it in terms of a cognitive variable that can be part of multiple emotions. as well as the connotations and significance that the event has in that situation for a certain individual, so will the emotion that is unleashed. In short, in the face of doubt regarding the consideration of surprise as an emotion, it seems prudent to refer to it in terms of a cognitive variable that can be part of multiple emotions. as well as the connotations and significance that the event has in that situation for a certain individual, so will the emotion that is unleashed. In short, in the face of doubt regarding the consideration of surprise as an emotion, it seems prudent to refer to it in terms of a cognitive variable that can be part of multiple emotions.

Thus, based on the arguments we have outlined, arguments based on studies carried out in recent years, our vision of basic emotions includes five of them: fear, sadness, anger, disgust, joy.

Functions of emotions

We believe that nobody doubts at present about the existence of emotions in the human being; to a certain extent, we are able to communicate with words what is experienced in the moment of feeling an emotion; we express and transmit to others our internal states through certain signs, gestures, movements, etc .; our body adjusts to those experienced states through the corresponding physiological activation-or deactivation-in each case. And we know all this because we are aware of what happens in our body and in our lives. However, when we face the study of emotion in individuals of lower species, we find an obvious problem: there is no common language that allows us the rapid and fluid exchange of information. However, this limitation does not prevent us from making inferences about the occurrence of emotions in animals of lower species. With the consequent risk of performing anthropomorphic attributions, it is possible to find certain similarities in the physiological and expressive dimensions. In this frame of reference, the expressive and motor characteristic is the criterion susceptible of being used by human beings to suppose the existence of an emotion in an animal of inferior species. The greater the phylogenetic proximity with the human species, the greater the similarity in the expressive characteristics. It is possible to find certain similarities in the physiological and expressive dimensions. In this frame of reference, the expressive and motor characteristic is the criterion susceptible of being used by human beings to suppose the existence of an emotion in an animal of inferior species. The greater the phylogenetic proximity with the human species, the greater the similarity in the expressive characteristics. It is possible to find certain similarities in the physiological and expressive dimensions. In this frame of reference, the expressive and motor characteristic is the criterion susceptible of being used by human beings to suppose the existence of an emotion in an animal of inferior species. The greater the phylogenetic proximity with the human species, the greater the similarity in the expressive characteristics.

That is to say, emotions play a definite role, with relevance in the different forms of adaptation to which the human being has to be glued: emotions have functions. Although there have been arguments regarding the disorganizing effects of emotion (Dewey, 1895; Hebb, 1949); although, on occasion, it has also been proposed that emotions had a definite and important function in the past, but now they no longer fulfill any function (Buss, Haselton, Shackelford, Bleske and Wakefield, 1998); The truth is that, as indicated by Keltner and Gross (1999), it seems an accepted fact that emotions have functions now because they had them in the past, and this fact has allowed them to consolidate in the genetic baggage. of the species.

Thus, from a biological point of view, it seems evident that emotions have an extraordinary value when it comes to understanding how an organism adapts to the changing conditions of its environment. Emotions have functions, because if this were not so, natural selection itself would have progressively purified its presence, until they disappeared completely from the genetic baggage of the species. Emotions are included and are part of the behavior that our ancestors carried out every time they faced situations that could pose a danger to their lives. Although it can be proposed that each of the emotions has particular functions, We believe it is pertinent to emphasize at this moment that one of the general functions of emotions has to do with the flexibility they bring to the behavior of an organism when it is faced with situations that demand a more or less drastic and useful solution. In this way, the probability of success, adaptation and survival increases. As is logical, if they have functions, the environmental pressures that give rise to the evolution itself have reaffirmed their role, remaining in the genetic endowment of the species. If, in addition, these functions have connotations of helping to solve problems, of avoiding dangers, etc., it is logical to find that among the basic emotions prevail those commonly denominated negative emotions, which do not have to be negative if their occurrence is homeostatic and parsimonious,

There is, however, an association between the biological dimension and the cultural dimension in the occurrence of emotions. Thus, the mechanism of the basic emotions being present in the genetic endowment, each of them will be activated as a consequence of the valuation process, whose result is the significance referred to the concrete function of each one of said emotions. The social and cultural influences that any person receives throughout their development process shape their basic behavioral pattern, making them internalize what is socially acceptable, what is unjust, etc. Consequently, when a certain person carries out the analysis of the stimulation that is receiving, evaluates and evaluates the connotations of it; when, after those processes,

One of the most fruitful perspectives for understanding the functions of emotions is to approach their adaptive implication, delimiting their repercussions, both positive and negative, in the biological, psychological and social functioning of a person. We want to point out that we speak of positive and negative repercussions because, although we defend the functionality of emotions, that is, we defend the positive dimension of these processes, it is also true that, on occasion, it is necessary to exercise some kind of control or voluntary regulation, both in experience and in expression, since a conflict or incompatibility between the biological need or impulse and the need or social requirement may occur.

When confronting the functions of emotions, following the work of Levenson (1999), we will group the participation of these processes in the intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions. As regards the intrapersonal dimension, some of the most important functions of emotions refer to the following aspects.

The escape or loss of homeostasis. It is one of the important intrapersonal functions of emotions, since it allows the separation, often necessary, of the tyrannical tendency to the center that shows the levels of the essential variables of the organism. In fact, in order to function correctly, it is necessary that activation levels in the systems and important parameters of our organism are within the limits of confidence, or limits of the optimal zone. There is a tendency to look for the midpoint or optimum point, as proposed by Bernard (1856) and Cannon (1929, 1935), although each time it is reached, it is usually exceeded, both by excess and by default. This type of recurrent fluctuations make up what is called homeostasis, understood as dynamic equilibrium. If it were not possible to exceed these limits of the optimal area, many times our organism would not be able to offer the intense responses it shows. Such responses, which could clearly be maladaptive if they were maintained for a long time, or if they were repeated too frequently, or if they were so intense that they could produce a disorder or dysfunction at that moment, can be considered as necessary responses, therefore adaptive responses, in certain circumstances. They may be essential for the organism to offer appropriate behavior to an exceptional situation, as long as these important separations from the limits of trust are not excessively frequent, intense or lasting.4 In this frame of reference, Emotions represent that escape valve from homeostatic pressure, since they allow the occurrence of specific changes in which activation levels are excessively discordant with the optimal level of activation, but necessary at that time for the body to offer the appropriate response to the particular situation that affects you. Although the virtues of maintaining these middle levels are evident, the tyranny of homeostasis could, paradoxically, become maladaptive, since it would prevent the organism from offering intense responses at specific moments. Emotions quickly mobilize internal resources to increase the likelihood of offering the most appropriate response in a threatening or challenging situation.

The recovery of homeostasis. It is another intra-personal function with a certain relevance. It could be proposed that some positive emotion, such as joy, could function as a form of mechanism to return to the characteristic values ??of homeostasis after the important separation that occurred with negative emotions. In fact, in a study conducted by Fredrickson and Levenson (1998), this function could be appreciated. Thus, after provoking the emotion of sadness in an experimental group of people, they administered stimuli that had to do with fun and joy. Those people who smiled when observing the stimuli recovered before the basal values ??of the measured variable (activation bbbbbbbFrequency parameters, Intensity and duration are essential to understand the homeostatic functioning of any organism, as well as of any systems or parameters that are part of that organism. cardiac) than those other people who did not smile. That is, as Levenson points out, it is very likely that the emotion of joy works as a kind of short circuit that breaks the tendency to excessive displacement from the optimal homeostatic zone of the studied variable when a negative emotion occurs. It could be suggested that the human being has an important tool to counteract the possible negative effects associated with the sustained occurrence of negative emotions. cardiac) than those other people who did not smile. That is, as Levenson points out, it is very likely that the emotion of joy works as a kind of short circuit that breaks the tendency to excessive displacement from the optimal homeostatic zone of the studied variable when a negative emotion occurs. It could be suggested that the human being has an important tool to counteract the possible negative effects associated with the sustained occurrence of negative emotions. cardiac) than those other people who did not smile. That is, as Levenson points out, it is very likely that the emotion of joy works as a kind of short circuit that breaks the tendency to excessive displacement from the optimal homeostatic zone of the studied variable when a negative emotion occurs. It could be suggested that the human being has an important tool to counteract the possible negative effects associated with the sustained occurrence of negative emotions.

The combination of these two functions outlined would allow to propose the existence of an emotional symmetry. Although negative emotions allow this relevant function related to the preparation of the organism to offer an intense response through the wide loss of homeostasis, positive emotion would allow the rapid recovery of homeostasis. In this frame of reference, Carstensen, Gottman and Levenson (1995) have confirmed the hypothesis of emotional symmetry by studying marital relationships, as they have been able to verify how, after the generation of a situation of anger, the recovery of physiological activation was faster when the contestants introduced positive affect, in this case with sexual connotations.

The change in the cognitive and behavioral hierarchy. It seems that emotions play an important role in establishing the hierarchy of the most likely responses. It is as if at a given moment the occurrence of an emotion causes a collapse in all the activities that the individual is carrying out, reorganizing the answers in order of priority to solve the problem or the situation that that individual faces. . Emotion would have the important function of reorganizing the possible responses that this individual can carry out. However, although there is a tendency to propose that emotions have disorganizing connotations, it can be argued that the two positions are correct, since,

The motivation. Sometimes it is proposed that emotions can function as essential motivators. Without denying this function head-on, we suggest that this motivating role of emotions could be debatable. In effect, if the emotions are associated with the loss or failure in the achievement, the achievement or maintenance, of some objectives, what motivates an individual is the objective itself. There is no struggle to achieve an objective based on the emotion or positive affect that will be achieved once it is achieved: the goal is fought for, for the value that objective has in itself. However, it is also true that, on occasion, just obtaining positive affect, emotion, pleasure, can be sufficiently incentive to develop a motivational behavior aimed at the goal,

associated with that goal. This pleasant affective dimension has subjective connotations, which is why the feeling is the emotional variable related to the motivating function of the emotions. In this regard, there is a major difficulty when it comes to explaining the subjective experience in words: one has awareness of a feeling, therefore one knows its existence and its quality, another thing is to describe the type of feeling. However, there is a relevant fact, and it refers to the functions it can perform.

In this theoretical framework, emotion, particularly the subjective dimension of it, or feeling, fulfills the function of warning of the existing situation, collaborating in the implementation of adaptive voluntary behaviors. Another relevant function of the subjective dimension of emotion has to do with the involvement in learning processes. Specifically, in the field of operant conditioning, the pleasurable emotional experience can be considered as a form of positive reinforcement, increasing the likelihood that the behavior that gave rise to that emotional experience will be repeated. On the other hand, the unpleasant or aversive emotional experience can be considered as a positive form of punishment, increasing the probability that the behaviors that lead to that experience will be avoided. In the field of classical conditioning, it is also easily understandable how positive or negative emotional experience, which can be considered as the unconditioned response to the incondi- tioned stimuli that naturally elicit it, can appear conditioned after the occurrence of a stimulus that, although it does not have the unconditioned capacity to elicit it, at some past moment it was associated with the unconditioned stimulus. The occurrence of the classical conditioning of emotional experience is relatively easy.5 it can appear conditioned after the occurrence of a stimulus that, although it does not have the unconditioned capacity to elicit it, at some past moment it was associated with the unconditioned stimulus. The occurrence of the classical conditioning of emotional experience is relatively easy.5 it can appear conditioned after the occurrence of a stimulus that, although it does not have the unconditioned capacity to elicit it, at some past moment it was associated with the unconditioned stimulus. The occurrence of the classical conditioning of emotional experience is relatively easy.

Thus, we have seen how, from an intrapersonal point of view, and in a generic way, emotions fulfill the function of interrupting any ongoing activity, exercising a priority selection of the activities to be carried out and the goals to be achieved.

However, it is an obvious fact that emotions also have a clear impact on the other elements of the external environment in which an individual develops. Specifically, emotions are involved in the regulation of the distance between people in a group or in a relationship. That is, there is a clear connection between emotions and the social environment. Following the proposals of Keltner and Haidt (1999), it can be suggested that the functions of emotions in the social, interpersonal, environmental, etc., dimension can be manifested in four planes: individual (it would be the intrapersonal function, the that we just referred to), dyadic (made up of two people), group (referred to a group of people that interact in a sustained way over a certain time) and cultural (that has to do with the interaction that is established between the members of a large group that shares beliefs, values, norms and social models). The basic assumptions that permeate the explanation

Recall the case of Alberto and the conditioning of the experience of fear on the part of Watson.

Of the functions that emotions have, they emphasize that these processes are quick, involuntary and automatic responses that help people to regulate, use and maintain different social relationships. In other words: emotions represent concrete ways of coordinating social interactions and relationships with the aim of suppressing or minimizing the problems derived from the interaction itself; a social interaction that is changing and, at times, unpredictable.

In the dyadic plane, what is important is to establish the role of emotions in the organization of meaningful relationships. In this case, the system on which the emotions reverberate is the dyadic interaction. As is evident, on this plane all external manifestations of emotion, such as gestures, expressions, words, etc., acquire special relevance. The functions proposed in this plan refer to the following aspects: first, the expression of emotions helps individuals to know the emotions, beliefs and intentions of the other person with whom they maintain the dyadic relationship. That is, the function of emotions would have to do with the rapid coordination of social interactions. With the external manifestation of the emotions, information is transmitted of the internal state of the person expressing the person who perceives such manifestations. This information allows us to infer the eventual momentary emotion, the intentions, the intention regarding the relationship itself, etc. Even in this type of function of emotions, we can talk about the learning of the significance of new or ambiguous events, such as occurs in the relations between a father and his daughter in the presence of a stimulus that the father knows but not the daughter . In these cases, the daughter learns the meaning, even the expression of certain concrete patterns, from the observation of what the father expresses when perceiving the stimulus. Related to the aspect that we have just commented, secondly, Another function of the expression of emotions in the dyadic plane has to do with the learning of social patterns. For example, the smile-whether it is spontaneous or feigned-fulfills a relevant function in society, since, with the exception of particular situations that are not particularly favorable, it softens and makes the interpersonal relationship fluid. It is learned that the smile has that special function, in the same way that it is learned that when a socially correct behavior is performed, others also show the smile, which establishes an association between this characteristic form of emotional expression and socially acceptable behavior and goals. Third, this emotional communication in the form of external manifestations is the first step in a feedback or feedback process, giving rise to the expressive response of who perceived such manifestations. That is to say, a consistent function is produced in the unchaining of reciprocal and / or complementary emotions in the other person. For example, the manifestation of anger may provoke in the other person the experience and / or manifestation of fear, or anger, depending on the particular circumstances of that moment.

In the social sphere, it is usual to establish how emotions help small groups in the different and frequent interactions that members of that group carry out. In this case, the system over which the functions of emotions have an impact is a more or less reduced group, such as the family,

a work team, a club, an association, etc. These different collectives share certain characteristics, such as identity, affinities, goals, objectives, etc. Again, in this plane, the relevance is found in external manifestations, both in the natural environment and in the environments specially designed in the laboratory or outside it. One of the important functions of the emotions in the social plane has to do with the identification of the belonging, or the identity of the different members that make up that group, while, in return, they also serve to delimit the frontiers of the own rejecting what is foreign. In fact, in this dimension or plane you can locate the functions of social cohesion and solidarity that have many emotions,

On the cultural level, an attempt has been made to establish how emotions are shaped by the relevance of historical and economic factors; how emotions are impregnated by social and cultural influences; how, finally, cultural norms significantly condition the experience and expression of emotions. In this plane, the system on which the functions of the emotions reverberate is the culture itself, understood in the dimension referring to large groups, societies, countries, nations and groupings of nations, since it is from that culture from which it is they interpret the different emotional manifestations emitted by the members that are part of it. At the cultural level, the relevance is localized in the interpretation of external manifestations, both those that occur verbally, and those that occur in an open motor behavior. Regarding the specific functions of emotions in this cultural plane, it has been proposed that they play a critical role in the processes by which individuals assume cultural identity. In particular, it has been possible to see how emotions are embedded in the socialization processes themselves, contributing significantly to children's learning of social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. as those that occur in an open motor behavior. Regarding the specific functions of emotions in this cultural plane, it has been proposed that they play a critical role in the processes by which individuals assume cultural identity. In particular, it has been possible to see how emotions are embedded in the socialization processes themselves, contributing significantly to children's learning of social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. as those that occur in an open motor behavior. Regarding the specific functions of emotions in this cultural plane, it has been proposed that they play a critical role in the processes by which individuals assume cultural identity. In particular, it has been possible to see how emotions are embedded in the socialization processes themselves, contributing significantly to children's learning of social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. Regarding the specific functions of emotions in this cultural plane, it has been proposed that they play a critical role in the processes by which individuals assume cultural identity. In particular, it has been possible to see how emotions are embedded in the socialization processes themselves, contributing significantly to children's learning of social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. Regarding the specific functions of emotions in this cultural plane, it has been proposed that they play a critical role in the processes by which individuals assume cultural identity. In particular, it has been possible to see how emotions are embedded in the socialization processes themselves, contributing significantly to children's learning of social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. It has been proposed that they play a critical role in the processes by which individuals assume cultural identity. In particular, it has been possible to see how emotions are embedded in the socialization processes themselves, contributing significantly to children's learning of social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. It has been proposed that they play a critical role in the processes by which individuals assume cultural identity. In particular, it has been possible to see how emotions are embedded in the socialization processes themselves, contributing significantly to children's learning of social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. contributing significantly to children learning social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture. contributing significantly to children learning social norms and values. Thus, the emotional manifestations of the parents, together with those of other people who hold social authority, are a good example of the way in which emotions exert their influence on the learning of behavior patterns adjusted to the norms and standards. the values ??of that culture.

In short, from an interpersonal point of view, we can state that the functions of emotions have to do with the solution of the problems that are presented to a person. Emotions are produced in the interaction that a person establishes with his external environment, considering that this is in continuous change. But, in addition, emotions fulfill the important role of representing an information code that is shared by individuals that are part of a group or society, enabling the knowledge of internal states through different external manifestations.

Thus, emotions, considered as adaptive responses, are because they are involved in all those situations that pose a danger, threat, etc., to the organism, understood this danger or threat as a form of possible imbalance or destabilization. The perceived danger, the threat of imbalance, which may be real or imagined, may be related to the biological or physical dimension of the organism, but it may also have links with the psychic or social dimension. In any of the cases, when the result of the evaluation has significant connotations for a person, the occurrence of an emotion takes place, with which the organism experiences the subjective dimension of it, 6 activating the corresponding physiological responses, and expressing the distinctive characteristics of that emotion.

The process of emotion

We consider that emotion is an adaptive process in which it is essential to take into account the existence of various components. Even the most enthusiastic pheno- menologist would have to recognize that the feeling that denotes the experience of an emotion has objective correlates, such as psychophysiological responses, expressive manifestations, and motor behaviors. Emotion, as a process that is, implies dynamism. It is a functional dynamism, oriented to the adaptation of the organism to the changing conditions of the environment. The sequence of the emotional process would be as follows: stimulus, perception, evaluation-assessment, feeling, physiological response, orexis, expression (Palmero, 2001).

Occurrence or appearance of the stimulus. The presence of a stimulus that is capable of triggering the process of an emotion is required. The stimulus may be external or internal, and may be present in the physical environment of the subject or may not be present, referring, in the latter case, to a memory. That is, the stimulus may be current or past. On the other hand, the stimulus may not be real, and consist only of a perceptual distortion, hallucination, etc., of the subject. In addition, the stimulus may not be consciously perceived, that is, it may happen that the intensity or duration of the stimulus causes in the subject an activation that does not exceed the threshold of consciousness. In these cases, as we pointed out in the motivational process, the subject has no knowledge of having received that stimulation, but that stimulus has been processed. In any of the possibilities, the stimulus must have the capacity to trigger the emotional process. This capacity may be innate or may have been consolidated from learning processes located in the subject's experience. There are stimuli with an inherent capacity to trigger particular emotional processes in all subjects, while other stimuli, which in principle do not possess this capacity, have acquired it from the particular experience of a subject.

The stimulus is an essential and necessary variable for the emotional process to begin. However, it is not a sufficient variable, since the

In a generic way, we talk about the emotional process that occurs consciously, although, as we will see later in the section corresponding to the emotional process, there is the possibility that an emotional process is triggered without the person experiencing the subjective dimension of the emotional process. that process; that is, it is possible that the emotional process starts below the threshold of consciousness.

Perception of the stimulus. It is also a fundamental aspect, since, if the perception of a stimulus does not occur, the subject does not acquire knowledge about the existence of an event or situation with certain connotations of imbalance or danger, with which the process does not take place. start. The perception process implies the existence of a stimulus and the functional availability of receptors specifically related to the stimulus in question.

Perception can occur in two ways: consciously and not consciously. In the conscious perception the subject realizes the presence of a stimulus that, by its particular characteristics, has enough salience to capture its attention. In these cases, the stimulation is processed until the subject is able to acquire all the information, or enough information, to know the characteristics of the stimulus in question. In conscious perception, the influence of cognitive variables, such as beliefs, judgments, etc., that the subject has about the stimulus in question occurs. The own biology of the organism and the current affective state of the subject at those moments also exert a remarkable influence, since, depending on both variables, There will be the possibility of an increase or decrease in the sensitization of the individual towards certain types of stimuli; that is, there will be an increase or reduction in the threshold for the perception of certain types of stimuli. The integrated action of these three types of variables forms a kind of filter that modulates perception.

In non-conscious perception, the stimulus does not have enough salience (in intensity or duration) to capture the subject's conscious attention, but there is a certain processing of the stimulation. This processing also does not reach the thresholds of the subject's consciousness, although it may lead to the next steps in the emotional process. The non-conscious perception does not only occur when the stimulus is of little salience. It may also happen that the appearance of a stimulus that is especially important for the subject produces a rapid and automatic perception in the subject without any awareness of it. In these cases, the processing of the stimulation also does not reach the thresholds of the subject's consciousness, but it can activate the subsequent steps of the emotional process, for the stimulus demands an immediate response from the subject. In the non-conscious perception also influences the filter that we just referred to, exerting its effect in the scope of the preferences of that individual.

Perception is an indispensable and necessary variable for the emotional process to take place. Neither is it a sufficient variable, since it requires the existence of a stimulus susceptible of being perceived, and of an evaluation-valuation that makes the subject think, or that makes the organism decide, that this stimulus is capable of producing destabilization.

Evaluation and evaluation. It is a necessary step in the emotional process. By definition, it implies the existence of a stimulus and specialized receptors capable of capturing said stimulus, giving rise to perception. It is the previous step to the experience of an emotion, since, depending on which is this process of evaluation and evaluation, the subject will experience one emotion or another, or none at all.

Within the emotional process, the evaluation-assessment subprocess can take place consciously and non-consciously. In both possibilities, the evaluation-assessment refers to the complete interpretation, or as complete as possible (evaluation), and to the estimation of the personal repercussion (assessment) of the stimulus.

As regards the conscious occurrence, it has homeostatic connotations. The subject carries out a sequence of steps leading to the discovery of all the peculiarities of the stimulus, of the situational connotations that it possesses, of the subjective implication of the subject in that situation, of the repercussions that the stimulus can have on the integrity, personal balance and well-being, of the possibilities of solution based on the experience and knowledge of the subject, etc. Ultimately, the combination of all these variables will lead to the assessment that the subject makes of the stimulus or situation. The assessment is made, first, in terms of benefit or harm to the subject; second, in terms of the specificity of the benefit or harm; in third place, in terms of subjective probability of controlling the situation, either to not lose stability, or to recover it in the shortest possible time. The cognitive variables that influenced the moment of perception also have an appreciable influence on the assessment-assessment, causing a particular bias in the way the analysis of the stimulus is carried out and its repercussions.

about the integrity of the subject. In the same way, also the biological variables and the current affective state exert a remarkable influence on the assessment-assessment sub-process, increasing or reducing the processing fluidity of the stimuli. In any case, all the stimulation that reaches the individual, whether he is aware of it or not, will be affectively impregnated by the current affect of that individual. As a result of conscious evaluation-assessment, the subjective experience of emotion (feeling) is produced, a physiological response is produced that is congruent with the emotion that the subject experiences, and on the one hand, a possible emotional expression can be produced, and, on the other, a sort of orexis, in the form of desires and tendencies of action,

As regards the non-conscious occurrence, that is, when the assessment-assessment sub-process does not reach the threshold of consciousness, it also has homeostatic connotations, although in this case with an automatic character. In this situation, the body reacts defensively to a stimulus that is quickly considered a possibility of destabilization. It could be argued that, in these circumstances, what is truly relevant are the genetic, innate, instinctive connotations. The body's response, with physiological and even behavioral motor characteristics, associated with the specific emotion that is being unleashed at those moments, aims to reduce the likelihood of damage or disequilibrium, reacting as soon as possible to overcome the situation , since a delay in the response, however insignificant the time of such delay may be, it may become crucial in the survival of an organism.7 However, being generally in agreement with this approach, we would like to suggest another possibility. It could also happen that the physiological response offered by the organism to a situation in which perception and assessment occur below the thresholds of consciousness had non-emotional connotations. In this case, the organism responds in an undifferentiated way, the physiological response being the first one produced, because ontogenetic and phylogenetically it is the most basic and primitive in emergency situations. In this non-conscious possibility of evaluation-assessment there is no fine analysis and interpretation of the characteristics of the stimulus, nor is there a particularized analysis of the impact of the stimulus on the subject. What is really important in this evaluation-assessment form is the adjustment of the stimulus to the category of threatening or non-threatening. The two possible conclusions are: "no" or "yes". If the conclusion is
"No", the physiological response does not occur. If the conclusion is "yes", there is an undifferentiated and global response of the organism as a whole, being the external physiological manifestations (motor behavior, gestures, expressions), as well as the internal physiological manifestations (activation of the sympathetic adrenomedular systems). and adrenocortical anterior pituitary), the empirical verification of that response or primary defense reaction. This response, which can be more or less diffuse, causes the subject to perceive the occurrence of certain changes in his organism, with which he undertakes a new evaluation-assessment process, LeDoux (1996, 2000 a) is the one who has best outlined this type of rapid and immediate, adaptive and functional response, proposing the now classic "short route" or "fast track" in the emotional response, which, among other things, has resulting in a certain independence between the emotional physiological response and the emotion consciousness.

now consciously, considering the physiological response itself, and trying to locate the possible stimulus that caused it. If this stimulus is located, at that moment the same parameters are taken into account when talking about the subprocess of evaluation-conscious assessment. The result, again, will be the feeling of an emotion, the physiological response related to that emotion and the eventual desires and tendencies of action.8

However, it is possible that the stimulus that, in an unconscious way, provoked the physiological responses is not localized (because the individual will not be able to remember it, nor will he be able to perceive it again). In this case, two things can happen. On the one hand, it is possible that, in the absence of a stimulus that gives an emotional color to the state of that individual at that moment, he or she will only be able to experience a more or less intense discomfort or well-being, a diffuse affective state. It does not come to experience the concrete and specific feeling of a particular emotion, because the physiological changes, in themselves, do not possess a specific emotional quality: there are physiological changes common to various emotions. On the other hand, it is possible that physiological, and bodily changes in general, that the subject is experiencing are so intense that they come to cause a particular emotion. What happens in this second possibility consists of attributing to bodily changes a cause related to a disequilibrium or organismic dysfunction of a certain depth. The subject evaluates and evaluates the corporal changes and concludes that they are the manifestation that something is not going well in his or her body. Depending on the type and intensity of the physiological changes, the occurrence of one emotion or another may occur. The emotions of sadness and fear can often occur according to this scheme. The subject evaluates and evaluates the corporal changes and concludes that they are the manifestation that something is not going well in his or her body. Depending on the type and intensity of the physiological changes, the occurrence of one emotion or another may occur. The emotions of sadness and fear can often occur according to this scheme. The subject evaluates and evaluates the corporal changes and concludes that they are the manifestation that something is not going well in his or her body. Depending on the type and intensity of the physiological changes, the occurrence of one emotion or another may occur. The emotions of sadness and fear can often occur according to this scheme.

This is what, among other things, allows us to defend today that pain is not an emotion. Pain is only a physical manifestation of something that does not work, some injury or tissue breakage, etc. However, pain can be the trigger of an emotion at the time it is evaluated and valued, and a cause is attributed to its occurrence. Pain can mean some mismatch; If this mismatch is very important, the consequences can be important too; Depending on how important these consequences are, as well as the certainty or uncertainty that they generate in the individual, he or she may experience an emotion.

Evaluation-assessment is also an essential and necessary variable. It is not a sufficient variable for the emotional process to occur, since the analysis of the characteristics of the stimulus and the subsequent estimation of the personal repercussions derived from it, which are the key aspect of the emotional process, require physiological changes, which are the evidence that happens

We are aware of how controversial this suggestion may be; much more knowing the arguments of LeDoux, in which it is proposed that this first physiological response-remember: the one corresponding to the fast track-is already a manifestation of the concrete emotion -in the works of LeDoux, of the emotion of fear. But, we have our doubts, because, as we have already mentioned, it can happen that, on the one hand, the fact that a manifestation or physiological and behavioral-motor disturbance appears characteristic of the emotion of fear, does not mean that there is necessarily that emotion , and, on the other hand, those same manifestations and disturbances can occur when the person faces a stimulus that does not mean any danger to their integrity, since it can be the typical defense response, which occurs every time an individual is faced with something unexpected. emotion. That is, assessment-assessment together with physiological changes are a sufficient condition of the emotional process.

Emotional experience (feeling) It is the awareness of the occurrence of an emotion. Although it could be argued, as James (1884/1985, 1890) argued at the time, that subjective awareness or experience is the key variable for the occurrence of an emotion, there are aspects related to stimulation, perception, evaluation- assessment, the physiological response, the motor-expressive response and the action tendencies that are also part of the emotional process. While it seems logical to defend that feeling is the fundamental point for the subject to know that he is experiencing an emotion, the concept of emotion is not exhausted by feeling. That is, an emotional process may be taking place even if the subject is not aware of it. In these cases, the subject may end up experiencing a certain discomfort, restlessness or activation, but without being able to locate the emotional quality of those changes or alterations. Only the evaluation-assessment of them, together with the consideration of the situational and contextual variables, and the previous experiences of the subject can lead to the qualitatively specific subjective experience of an emotion.

The subjective experience or feeling allows the subject to put a label or a quality on the emotion they experience. It is difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at the subjective experience of an emotion if there is no prior process of conscious evaluation-evaluation. In these cases, the subject experiences the emotion directly derived from the assessment-assessment. In the event that the stimulus, perception and assessment-assessment do not reach the threshold of the subject's consciousness, he / she perceives the physiological response produced by the previous sequence, with which he / she carries out the evaluation-conscious assessment of said manifestations physiological, as we have indicated previously, and, in the case that is able to locate the stimulus that has produced such physiological changes, ends by subjectively experiencing the corresponding emotion. It is clear that a conscious assessment-assessment is always necessary for the subject to subjectively experience an emotion.

The subjective experience is a necessary and essential variable so that the subject knows or becomes aware that he experiences an emotion. However, it is not necessary or essential for the emotional process to occur.

The physiological response. It always has as an antecedent an evaluation-assessment. As this can be conscious or not conscious, the theoretical distinction that we can establish between both types of response is that, in the physiological response resulting from the conscious evaluation, the organism offers the specific reaction, concordant with the emotion subjectively experienced, while , in the physiological reaction resulting from non-conscious assessment-evaluation, the physiological response may be specific to the emotion that has just been triggered outside the conscious awareness of the individual, or it may be only a reaction that, at least in principle, it would have to be considered as an undifferentiated response, with connotations of general defense or avoidance. This is, as we have just pointed out, the occurrence of a physiological response, or even of a motor response, without the subjective experience or feeling of an emotion occurring, denotes the existence of a dissociation of the emotional response system; style of what Lacey proposed (1967). This physiological response is already an emotional response, since a dissociation is taking place in the response system. We believe that, regardless of the theoretical consideration of the physiological responses derived from the two forms of occurrence of the evaluation-assessment process, when it comes to emotional responses, the observable empirical distinction between them is difficult to establish, since both prepare the organism to face a threatening situation. Even in the case of non-conscious evaluation-assessment, when the response is non-emotional and it is simply a physiological response related to avoidance, although there is no danger to the integrity of the organism, we can suggest that the physiological response, which it occurs in a quasi-automatic way after the perception of the stimulus, and it could have these connotations of defense response, it also has basic affective connotations, under the primitive form of approximation or avoidance. In addition, in both forms of physiological response there is the activation of two of the main defense systems of the organism, namely, the adrenomedular sympathetic system and the adrenocortical anterior pituitary system. Some more specific analyzes have allowed, however, to locate certain peculiarities associated with particular emotions. Thus, in the emotion of fear there is a significant increase in the secretion of epinephrine, and in the emotion of anger the important increase is norepinephrine (Henry, 1986).

As we have previously commented, the physiological response (physiological changes) together with the evaluation-assessment are the necessary and sufficient condition of an emotional process. Neither evaluation-assessment alone nor physiological changes alone can be considered as a sufficient condition in an emotional process.

The orexis. It refers to the tendencies of action, desire, impulses. In the emotional process that we propose, the orexis would allow us to understand how evaluation-valuation leads to intentional behaviors. It can give rise to the appearance of authentic complete behaviors, and it can cause the manifestation of attitudes and behaviors of intention, which have connotations of antecedents of one's intentional behavior. Eventually, it is also possible to include controlled emotional expression (control of expression) and the absence of emotional expression (emotional repression), as instrumental behaviors aimed at obtaining particular objectives, between intentional behaviors. This is the characteristic that allows us to pose the motivating role played by emotions. Strictly speaking, it could be pointed out that, in some emotions, the motivating characteristics, understood as desires, appetites, tendencies of action, are not so evident. Thus, for example, after evaluating a stimulus as dangerous for the integrity of a subject, it experiences subjectively fear and almost automatically there is a ten-

dencia of action directed to avoid that stimulus, well fleeing, well confronting him. On the other hand, in other emotions, such as sadness, there seems to be no clear motivational relationship, since no overt behavior can be observed. However, open and observable behavior is only one way of ascertaining the existence of motivation. That is, although we can assure that the manifestation of an open and observable behavior denotes the existence of motivation, we can not assure that the absence of an open and observable behavior denote the absence of motivation. In the case of the emotion commented -the sadness-, there is also the possibility of arguing that there is motivation, since the very expression of the emotion of sadness is a motivated form of request for help, and, although, as indicated by Lyons (1993). ),

In any of the possibilities, the oréctica characteristic is not a necessary or sufficient variable for the emotional process to occur.

The emotional expression It can happen in different ways. There is, first of all, the possibility of producing an automatic, instinctive expression, without any kind of voluntary control over it. It would be the impulsive channeling of the accumulated energy after the subjective experience of an emotion. In this form of expression there is no type of intentionality, and refers to the observable manifestations that are inevitably associated with the experience of an emotion. The most visible signs are located in the facial expression, in the corporal movements and in the production of shouts and verbal manifestations, with the common denominator of spontaneity and impulsivity. That is, uncontrolled emotional externalization has as its immediate antecedent the subjective experience of an emotion, or,

Second, there is the possibility of exercising some form of voluntary control over the external manifestation of an emotion. That is, although the organism can react automatically and instinctively by expressing the emotional expression characteristic of the emotion it experiences, it can also happen that the subject decides to voluntarily suppress the expression of that emotion.9 This possibility admits two modalities: absolute control over outer expression
-Also called repression- and the reasoned control of it. As regards repression, it is appreciated that the subject suppresses or inhibits any observable manifestation denoting the existence of an emotion. It is deleted by system. One can even consider the existence of a biological disposition, and even of an ironclad consolidated learning. In both cases, the result is the will to not express any emotional manifestation. As regards the reasoned control of external expression, it implies an analysis of the appropriate way of expressing the emotion, without this entailing negative consequences. In this way

Or, in contrast, to express in a feigned way the occurrence of an emotion in order to achieve some objective. It is a manipulative way of using emotional intelligence.

The pressure generated by the experience of an emotion is reduced, using personally and socially accepted procedures. In this possibility related to the voluntary control of emotional expression, whatever the modality used to control the external expression of an emotion, although the immediate antecedent is also the subjective experience of emotion, the existence of a control Voluntary on the expression implies the influence of the valuation evaluation. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to state that the immediate antecedent of these two forms of emotional expression refers to the interaction of feeling and evaluation-assessment. In this interaction, an imposition of the will is observed on the instinctive impulsivity, unlike what happens in the uncontrolled expression, where instinctive impulsivity does not allow the exercise of any form of voluntary control. It is evident that in these two forms of voluntary control of emotional expression there is also a certain implication of the oectical dimension, since the subject can carry out said control as a form of intentional behavior aimed at obtaining certain objectives. Both emotional repression and the control of emotional expression show how social, cultural and learning factors exert their influence on biological factors. It should be noted in this regard that between the innate factors (instincts) and the learned factors (habits) a very particular relationship occurs. Specifically, although the subject has an innate capacity to experience and express emotions, the learning factors can determine, among other things, which stimuli an emotion triggers, and under what conditions and circumstances it can be expressed. Indeed, in addition to certain stimuli with innate characteristics to trigger an emotion, there are other stimuli or situations that, by association (by learning), are temporarily or definitively related to the unleashing of an emotion. In the same way, there are situations in which, also by association or learning, it is not functional or adaptive to express an emotion. by association (by learning), they are temporally or definitively related to the unleashing of an emotion. In the same way, there are situations in which, also by association or learning, it is not functional or adaptive to express an emotion. by association (by learning), they are temporally or definitively related to the unleashing of an emotion. In the same way, there are situations in which, also by association or learning, it is not functional or adaptive to express an emotion.

Emotional expression is not a necessary or sufficient variable for the emotional process to occur.

The intentional behavior. As we commented in the point dedicated to the orexis, it is possible to carry out an intentional behavior, with purposes and direction. That is, we talk about motivated behavior, because the two essential characteristics that define it are: activation and direction. It is possible that motivation exists and manifest behavior occurs. There is also the possibility that there is motivation and, on the other hand, no overt behavior occurs, although the subject may be carrying out other non-observable behaviors. There is even the possibility that there is motivation and no type of behavior occurs, neither manifest nor covert, either because the subject does not know how to act, or because he can not act.

Intentional behavior is neither a necessary nor sufficient variable for the emotional process to occur.

In short, emotion has procedural connotations. That is, there is a sequence of changes that take place since a stimulus appears. In a

This process can produce subjective experience or the awareness of an emotion - the feeling - but before that moment and after it there are fundamental variables that are also part of the emotional process, and, of course, the Emotional process does not end with feeling: the emotional process is a broader concept than the feeling, and this is part of that.

Our conception of the emotional process points to the necessary and sufficient occurrence of two variables so that we can talk about emotion. Although each of them is necessary by itself, only the combination of both provides emotional sufficiency. These variables are, on the one hand, the evaluation-assessment of the stimulus (which includes the very existence of a stimulus and its perception, variables both necessary but not sufficient), and, on the other hand, the physiological responses or changes.

Our vision of emotion

With these assumptions, our vision of emotion is based on the relevance of the components involved in the process. The occurrence of interdependent and synchronized changes in such components has to be considered as the necessary condition for the definition of emotion. In this way, our conception of emotion is as follows: "Emotions are episodic processes that, elicited by the presence of some stimulus or internal or external situation, that has been evaluated and valued as potentially capable of producing an imbalance in the organism, give rise to a series of changes or responses at the subjective, cognitive, physiological and expressive levels; changes that are intimately related to maintaining equilibrium, this is: with the adaptation of an organism to the specific conditions of the environment ». We want to emphasize the term episodic because, although sometimes it is said that any organism is always an emotional entity, the consideration of emotion in phasic terms prevails profusely, that is, more or less intense discharges produced at a specific moment by the presence of a specific stimulus. To say that an organism is an emotional entity can be correct if it is argued that: a) every organism has the capacity to experience and express emotions, or b) every organism is always in a certain affective state. In the first of the premises, emotion is seen as a basic affective process, with temporarily brief and phasic connotations; in the second premise there is no reference to emotion, but to another affective dimension-the mood, or current affective state of that organism-so that, in this case, it refers to a tonic affective dimension, more stable and lasting, but less intense, than emotion. The humor or current affective state could be considered as the background on which the shooting of an emotion will occur.

In this frame of reference, we estimate that identifying emotions with emotional feeling only allows the partial study of the emotional process. It seems more productive to study the emotional process from a more elementary perspective

and basic, that which has to do with what is common and shared by multiple species. What we are trying to say is that emotional feeling, although it is essential to be aware of the occurrence of an emotion, is not necessary for us to talk about the occurrence of an emotional process.

Biological theories in emotion

Introduction

In the field of the study of emotion, the biological tradition also begins with Darwin, who considered that emotions have played an essential role in the adaptation of the organism to its environment throughout phylogenesis (Bisquerra, 2009). However, it is worth mentioning another clear precedent that has also marked the development and evolution of biological approaches in this field, that of Cartesian formulations, in which the great importance of biological variables was already considered (Palmero, 2003). .

In fact, it was Darwin's work: The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) that marked the beginning of the subsequent investigations focused on the evolutionary aspects, their contributions representing the foundation of what later would be the formulations biological and expressive. Therefore, it can be considered that Darwin's argumentation represents the origin of practically all biological theories about emotion. In essence, Darwin, basing his premises biologically, establishes that bodily movements and facial expressions play a role of communication among the members of a species, transmitting information about the emotional state of the organism. Emotions, and their expression, are innate, although the possibility is admitted that the learning factors can exert some type of influence on the expression. Precisely, this possible influence of learning factors allows emotions to evolve over time to increase the likelihood that the subject and the species adapt to the changing characteristics of the external environment.

According to Darwin's proposal, the expression of emotions is modulated by three principles: a) the principle of habits associated with utility -according to which the way in which organisms express emotions has had an adaptive value in the past, be it relative to the subject, be relative to the species. According to Darwin, emotional expressions were originally learned and, because of their usefulness, they become innate, transmitting to subsequent generations. That is to say, an evolution takes place from the learned habits to the inherited traits-; b) antithesis principle - according to which it is argued that the expression of opposite emotions also implies opposite types of behavior. Furthermore, when a subject feels a state directly opposite to that which the situation requires, he experiences an involuntary tendency to behaviorally express that feeling, although he does not have a clear adaptive value for himself-; c) the principle of the direct action of the nervous system excited -according to which, because with the other two principles can not be categorized all emotions, Darwin points out that some emotional expressions appear only because there are changes in the activity of the nervous system.

In summary, Darwin's general approach emphasizes the idea that emotions and their expression have had adaptive value in the past, that is, if they are maintained.

currently in force is because they serve to communicate the internal state of one subject to another.

The most direct followers of Darwin's evolutionary approaches have been the ethologists, who have recovered their theses and contributed to its rise in recent years (Palmero, 2003). In the field of emotion, ethology has focused mainly on the study of the expressive movements of the organism. However, ethologists do not consider emotion as something separate from motivation, on the contrary, they consider both processes as two denominations to refer to the same concept: the accumulation of specific energy for action. Among the ethological approaches, it should be noted: the movements of intention and non-verbal stimuli. Intention movements refer to the behavior patterns that accompany emotional expression; they are movements that warn of, or antecedent to, the appearance of an emotion. Non-verbal stimuli refer to the facial expressions, gestures and shouts that accompany emotional behavior.

Thus, in relation to the study of emotions, the ethological approach emphasizes the particular social dimension of such processes. It is necessary to discover how, from birth, emotions play a basic role in group dynamics, both in human beings and in lower species. The natural development of each individual, together with the social, cultural and environmental influences in general, are designing the expressive emotional profile that will characterize this individual for the rest of his life. This is a sufficiently accepted profile in the group to allow that individual does not produce friction in the interactions that will take place. For this reason, what is important in this type of considerations is the expressive and communicative role of emotion, which is related to personal interactions,

However, it can be said that in the field of the psychology of emotion an evolutionary tradition has been consolidated, which emphasizes the adaptive function of emotional phenomena (Roselló and Revert, 2008).

Physiological and instinctual theories

Among these approaches, with clear influences from evolutionary contributions and philosophical roots, those of McDougall and James deserve to be reviewed, as well as Cannon's criticisms of the latter.

McDougall (1908/1950) highlights the ability of an organism to approach beneficial goals, which represents an important aspect in psychology, since all behaviors are governed by a basic principle: to approach what it produces pleasure and avoids what produces pain (Palmero, 2003). However, these two "feelings", according to McDougall's terminology, are not enough to understand the functioning of the human being, which should be considered as a cognitive organism with expectations. When we exposed

The theoretical evolution of the psychology of motivation, we already referred to the importance for McDougall instincts, which make possible all thoughts and actions. In fact, McDougall proposed that all behavior is instinctive. The instincts also have an affective component, which is reflected in visceral and bodily changes. In this argument, perception would produce emotion.

Although McDougall's conception has gone systematically unnoticed, the study of prospective cognitions and their relation to emotion is an essential area to understand emotion and motivation in its broadest sense. In effect, the representation of a goal, as well as the affective dimension associated with the eventual achievement of it (both variables considered in the form of expectations) are found in the explanatory base of any behavior.

Thus, McDougall shows that the experience of emotion takes place when an instinct is activated. The purpose of the instincts is to achieve the adaptation of the subject to its environment. Through evolution, the goals of man have become more specific, therefore the behaviors oriented towards these goals become more specialized. The result, according to McDougall, is a more precise body adjustment, so that each of these well-differentiated adjustments produces a primary emotion. When two or more of these primary bodily reactions coincide over time, a secondary emotion occurs. At this point, McDougall tries to differentiate between emotions and feelings. Specifically, emotions have appeared earlier in phylogenetic development, while feelings,

For his part, James has marked a milestone in the history of the psychology of emotion. Until 1884, the date on which James published his famous work What is an emotion ?, the consideration of common sense suggested that the perception of a stimulus caused an emotion, and this caused the appearance of bodily changes. James asks: "What happens before, the experience of emotion or physiological activation?" In this theoretical framework, the formulation of James (1884/1985) and de Lange (1885/1922) introduces an important modification with respect to the conception that was held until then. Specifically, for James and Lange, the emotion does not derive directly from the perception of a stimulus, but rather it causes bodily changes, whose perception on the part of the subject gives rise to the emotion. In this sense, it is important to note that, for James, visceral reactions and bodily motor reactions are equally important and central to emotional states; however, for Lange, the emphasis should be placed on vascular changes, mainly in blood pressure. That is to say, the initial process conformed by three moments according to a certain order (stimulus-emotion-bodily changes) becomes a different process in which the moments are reversed (stimulus-bodily changes-emotion); in this case, the corporal changes in general are those that give rise to the experience of emotion. Thus, in this argument, generically termed James-Lange's theory, the main point is that the visceral reactions and bodily motor reactions are equally important and central to emotional states; however, for Lange, the emphasis should be placed on vascular changes, mainly in blood pressure. That is to say, the initial process conformed by three moments according to a certain order (stimulus-emotion-bodily changes) becomes a different process in which the moments are reversed (stimulus-bodily changes-emotion); in this case, the corporal changes in general are those that give rise to the experience of emotion. Thus, in this argument, generically termed James-Lange's theory, the main point is that the visceral reactions and bodily motor reactions are equally important and central to emotional states; however, for Lange, the emphasis should be placed on vascular changes, mainly in blood pressure. That is to say, the initial process conformed by three moments according to a certain order (stimulus-emotion-bodily changes) becomes a different process in which the moments are reversed (stimulus-bodily changes-emotion); in this case, the corporal changes in general are those that give rise to the experience of emotion. Thus, in this argument, generically termed James-Lange's theory, the main point is that the mainly in blood pressure. That is to say, the initial process conformed by three moments according to a certain order (stimulus-emotion-bodily changes) becomes a different process in which the moments are reversed (stimulus-bodily changes-emotion); in this case, the corporal changes in general are those that give rise to the experience of emotion. Thus, in this argument, generically termed James-Lange's theory, the main point is that the mainly in blood pressure. That is to say, the initial process conformed by three moments according to a certain order (stimulus-emotion-bodily changes) becomes a different process in which the moments are reversed (stimulus-bodily changes-emotion); in this case, the corporal changes in general are those that give rise to the experience of emotion. Thus, in this argument, generically termed James-Lange's theory, the main point is that the Bodily changes in general are what give rise to the experience of emotion. Thus, in this argument, generically termed James-Lange's theory, the main point is that the Bodily changes in general are what give rise to the experience of emotion. Thus, in this argument, generically termed James-Lange's theory, the main point is that the

Afferent feedback from the viscera and skeletal muscles produces emotion, which is why James and Lange's formulation is also called the peripheral theory of emotion, although it has also been called visceral feedback theory, because visceral feedback is the that give rise to the experience of emotion. As James himself argues, emotion is the perception of physiological activation (bodily changes). That is, some environmental events produce a specific pattern of bodily changes; This is identified by the brain as belonging to a particular emotion and, after that, the experience of that emotion occurs.

As an example of the great impact that James's emotion theory has had and continues to have, this type of argument has been called the theory of the identity of emotion (Beck, 2000), since it proposes the existence of a specific relationship between the experience of a specific emotion and the activation of particular physiological changes. As we have seen throughout the different theoretical manifestations from James to the present, this is one of the most attractive arguments of James's theory, since the idea of ??psychophysiological specificity associated with each emotion is implicit.

However, and despite its relevance, in James' argument there are two aspects that were not clarified by the author in his classic formulations. On the one hand, James does not explain what happens when the stimulus is perceived so that the body reacts in the way it does and not in another; it is an essential intermediate step to understand one's own bodily response, since at that moment a process of evaluation and evaluation takes place which, when the stimulus has personal significance, gives rise to the particular responses that occur. And on the other hand, James does not clarify what happens when the perception of the bodily changes that are occurring is produced; it does not explain the evaluation process that takes place at that precise moment, and that allows the person to identify those specific bodily changes and decide that they correspond or belong to a particular emotion. Even if the person is not aware of the occurrence of these evaluation and assessment processes, it is evident that they occur, since they depend, in the first place, on the pattern of response that the person manifests, and, secondly, the experience of emotion. In this frame of reference, we want to emphasize James' elegance and modesty when, conscious of his mistake, he corrects his original proposal. We believe that it is pertinent to remember it because, when talking about James's theory of emotions, reference is systematically made to his well-known article "What is an emotion", published in Mind in 1884, for, immediately after, comment that where he develops exhaustively his theory of emotion is in the Principles of Psychology, published in 1890. However, there are few who refer to the work of James (1894), which recognizes his error in formulating the theory, It admits the importance of assessment, and establishes that physiological and bodily changes are produced by the personal significance that the stimulus or situation has for the welfare of the organism. In any case, beyond the errors in the formulation, the challenge proposed by James remains a goal to be achieved. In fact, since James's argument focuses on differentiation It admits the importance of assessment, and establishes that physiological and bodily changes are produced by the personal significance that the stimulus or situation has for the welfare of the organism. In any case, beyond the errors in the formulation, the challenge proposed by James remains a goal to be achieved. In fact, since James's argument focuses on differentiation It admits the importance of assessment, and establishes that physiological and bodily changes are produced by the personal significance that the stimulus or situation has for the welfare of the organism. In any case, beyond the errors in the formulation, the challenge proposed by James remains a goal to be achieved. In fact, since James's argument focuses on differentiation emotional from the peripheral feedback of bodily and physiological changes, the possible identification of emotions from their psychophysiological profile, or, what is the same, the correspondence between a particular emotion and a particular psychophysiological pattern, is something very attractive for researchers.

In addition to all the above, it should be noted that James's formulation has the value of being the first psychological theory formulated about emotion. Although there had been many contributions in the field of emotion, without going too far James' own teachers, including Descartes, with James is the first stone in the construction of the psychology of emotion. It can be stated that James provides the first theory in which the existence of concrete emotions is assumed, which have a clearly instinctive basis, and can be separated and differentiated from certain feelings. Thus, the stimuli that come from colors and sounds produce non-emotional feelings, distributing along a continuum or pleasurable-unpleasant dimension.

Also, it is worth noting that a whole series of theoretical traditions have appeared that owe a great deal to James' proposal, since it integrates up to four different explanatory levels, each of which ascribes some of the most solid traditions in the field. study of emotion, namely: a physiological level that we can situate at the origin of the neurobiological tradition; a behavioral-expressive level, on which the models of the facial expression of the basic emotions are based, at least in part; an ideational level, on which the cognitive tradition is based, linked to the psychophysiological one insofar as both are epistemologically functionalist; an intermediate perceptual level, with which they link theories such as Leventhal's, which formulates a perceptive-motor model of emotion (Roselló and Revert, 2008).

Likewise, related to its impact and its novelty, James's theory also has to its credit the great critical activity that it provoked among various researchers, who argued positions contrary to those formulated by the author. Among the most meticulously known criticisms are those that Cannon formulated. In a way, one could say that Cannon's theory of emotion arises as a result of the criticisms that this makes to James's emotion theory (Palmero, 2003). The foundation of Cannon's critique focuses on the formulation James had proposed by equating emotion with bodily changes. It follows that: a) different emotions must be accompanied by different bodily states; b) Emotions can be manipulated with drugs that have particular bodily effects. A) Yes, the author establishes five arguments that question James' assertions: 1) the bodily changes that, according to James, provide the feedback to the brain to originate the emotion can be eliminated completely without disturbing the emotions of an organism; 2) bodily changes that occur in emotional states are not specific to an emotion, since some bodily changes are common to several emotions; 3) the internal organs, which supposedly provide feedback to the brain for the emotional experience, are not very sensitive structures; specific, 2) bodily changes that occur in emotional states are not specific to an emotion, since some bodily changes are common to several emotions; 3) the internal organs, which supposedly provide feedback to the brain for the emotional experience, are not very sensitive structures; specific, 2) bodily changes that occur in emotional states are not specific to an emotion, since some bodily changes are common to several emotions; 3) the internal organs, which supposedly provide feedback to the brain for the emotional experience, are not very sensitive structures; specific,

The number of nerve fibers that come from the internal organs and goes to the brain -transferences from the internal organs to the brain- is in a ratio of 1:10 with respect to the number of nerve fibers that come from the brain and goes to the internal organs -aferences of the internal organs from the brain-; the changes that occur in the internal organs are too slow to produce the emotion; Many times, the experience of emotion is immediate, while the feedback from the internal organs to the brain can take several seconds; therefore, the emotion occurs before the feedback circuit ends;

the experimental manipulation of the organism to produce body changes does not produce a true emotion. These arguments highlight that the psychophysiological patterns associated with emotions are not specific enough to allow differentiation between emotions.

In general, Cannon defends that the emotions have the function to prepare the organism before emergency situations, reason why the corporal changes and the emotions take place at the same time; whereas, for James, body changes precede emotion. Thus, for Cannon, what is really important in the occurrence of emotion is not outside the central nervous system, so, frequently, his approach has also been called the central neural theory of emotion, although it has also received other names. such as: thalamic theory of emotions or the central theory of emotions, the theory of emergency or the neurophysiological theory of emotion.

a The main idea behind the Cannon-Bard theory is that emotion occurs as a result of the activation of the thalamus. The thalamic neurons are responsible, on the one hand, for the activation of the muscles and viscera, and on the other, to provide informative feedback to the cortex. As a result, bodily changes and emotional experience occur simultaneously. From this perspective, the thalamus is considered the subcortical controlling structure of emotions, which is why it is also known as the central theory of emotions. In this sense, the thalamus would be the biological substrate of the emotional experience and the hypothalamus the biological substrate of emotional behavior.

On the other hand, for Cannon there was no correspondence between a particular type of emotion and bodily changes, but emotion is characterized by the general activation of the organism; that is, it proposes the activation of a general defense system that would prepare the organism to face aversive situations through fight or flight behaviors. Hence the name emergency theory, whose idea is that the organism is programmed to maintain an optimal level of adaptation, which is disturbed by the occurrence of emotions. These indicate a state of emergency, before which the organism tries to recover its optimum level of adaptation.

In the last instance, it can be said that one of the most relevant contributions is the existence of specific centers in the central nervous system that would take charge of emotional experience, which led to the development of neurological research in the study of emotion .

Theories of activation

From this type of approach, they try to explain the emotions from the mechanisms of activation of the organism. As we pointed out previously, in the section corresponding to the evolution of motivational psychology approaches, in these approaches it is difficult to establish differences between the terms activation, motivation and emotion. For that reason, although in general we refer to what is stated in this section, we will dwell on the specific contributions of some authors such as Duffy (1972), Lindsley, Schreiner, Knowles and Magoun (1950), Lindsley (1951). and Lacey (196) for its importance in the study of emotions.

Duffy (193) proposes that emotion consists in the mobilization of energy in an organism so that it carries out intense activity, ie, the mobilization of energy is emotion, which is quite similar to what Cannon defends when it is refers to the theory of emergence in emotion in terms of preparing the organism to offer a fight or flight response, so the system that Duffy proposes is completely homeostatic, due to the constant changes that occur in the environment confronts the subject, he also experiences constant changes in his level of activation, to achieve the best possible adaptation to the demands imposed by the environment.The foundation of the approach of Duffy is based on a fundamental premise:the behavior can be described in terms of the parameters of direction -approximation or avoidance- and of intensity -fast or slow, vigorous or tenuous- of it.

The initial argument was subsequently maintained by the author (Duffy, 1972), proposing that the description of any behavior at a given time should be explained by two basic aspects: activation, understood as a synonym of intensity, and direction, understood as a synonym of the approximation-avoidance dimension. Both the activation and the direction of the behavior can be applied perfectly to any form of behavioral manifestation, whether it is overt and overt or covert. The two concepts interact with each other, although they can be measured independently. Of the two essential components (activation and direction), Duffy states that activation is the most important, since it is a dimension that underlies all behaviors, whether they are manifest or not. In both cases, Activation is a direct function of sympathetic activation, and can be measured through several psychophysiological indices, such as heart rate, skin conductance, muscle tension, etc. This fact leads the author to propose the existence of a problem with some psychological concepts, such as emotion. Thus, emotion presupposes the dimensions of activation and direction of behavior, when only with activation would it be sufficient to explain emotional behaviors. Therefore, emotion should be suppressed from the psychological spectrum and replaced by activation. The first reason to suggest the removal of the term emotion is that it is generally used to refer to the end of a continuum of behavior. All behavior is motivated; without motivation there is no activity;

For his part, Lindsley can also be considered one of the pioneer authors in the study of psychology activation. Lindsley, with his theory of activation in emotions (1951), was the one who first tried to establish a correspondence between the continuum in psychological phenomena and the continuum in the recording of electroencephalographic activity. Specifically, I thought that the psychological states characterized by maximum waking, maximum excitement, maximum vigilance or alertness, maximum emotion, corresponded to the electroencephalographic rhythms characterized by the highest frequency or cycles per second. In fact, the beta rhythm and the alpha rhythm, which are the most frequent, would be characteristic of the waking phase, while the theta and delta rhythms, which are the least frequent, they would be the characteristics of the dream phase. From the influx of somatic, sensory, and visceral information on reticular formation, all behavioral levels could be explained, from sleep to wakefulness, from relaxed wakefulness to activation in problem solving, from affective moderation to emotional excitement Thus, according to Lindsley, the theory of activation is based on the following assumptions:

in the emotion state, the electroencephalogram shows the characteristic alert response: that is, low voltage and high frequency;

the alerting reaction can be induced with the stimulation of the reticular system of the mesencephalon and the diencephalon;

the destruction of these areas prevents the warning reaction;

after producing such destruction, the resulting behavioral image is incompatible with emotional arousal or alertness;

that is, there is a preponderance of apathy and drowsiness; Y

The motor mechanisms of emotional expression are either identical or superimposed on those of electroencephalogram activation.

Regarding the characteristics of this activation in the reticular formation, Lindsley summarizes them in the following way:

From an electrocortical point of view, it is observed, not only the awakening in the bark of the anesthetized animal, but also an extremely intense generalized cortical reaction, similar to that provoked by an emotional discharge - this system is different from the specific system that goes to the specific thalamic nuclei;

from the behavioral point of view, facilitating and inhibiting effects are observed, depending on the stimulated area, as well as different signs of fear and / or anger; Y

From the point of view of autonomic and visceral responses, sympathetic activation effects are observed, such as pupillary dilation, increase in the respiration rate, increase in blood pressure and inhibition of gastric-intestinal activity.

In this way, in Lindsley's theory, the term activation is synonymous with electrocortical desynchronization, being able to find the minimum activation in situations of absence or minimal emotion, and maximum activation in situations of maximum emotional excitement. This idea was perfectly compatible with the discovery of the activating properties of the reticular formation, since the lesions produced on this structure eliminated the signs of dis- chronization, or, what is the same, the signs of activation. Likewise, it was possible to ratify and confirm that, when the reticular formation was stimulated, there was an increase in the activation of the subject. However, this formulation,

kaparamente impeccable, it left out a fundamental variable: performance, understood as adaptation, responsiveness, adjustment. In fact, Lindsley's pioneering formulation clashed with empirical evidence, since in some works (Fuster, 1958), it could be seen that, although the reduced increases in the stimulation of the reticular formation allowed to obtain an increase in the yield of the experimental subjects, when the intensity of the stimulation went beyond an eventual point (theoretically and generically called optimum point of activation), the performance did not increase, even began to decrease. There was a moment in the continuum of activation in which the parallel trend between activation and performance was broken, since, although the activation continued to rise, the performance began to fall. Obviously, such findings were not compatible with the argument defended by Lindsley. To solve this difficulty, Lindsley states that there is an intercommunication between the cerebral cortex and the reticular formation. In this way, the reticular formation must function as a large activation homeostat, since from the cortex would descend projections that would control the operation of the reticular formation, thus enabling the activation to remain within the appropriate limits, which is ultimately what an organism needs to function properly and perform at its best.

l For her part, Lacey (1956) proposes an argument centered on the difficulty that activation theories have in explaining the integration of different systems of the organism into a unitary scheme: Lacey proposes what is called the theory of systems dissociation, which allows In a more coherent way, explain the different results that have been obtained when trying to verify empirically the theory of activation from the perspective of the aforementioned unitary process.According to Lacey's model, generally accepted at present, the It establishes that activation can be manifested through three response possibilities (electrocortical, physiological / autonomic and motor), and the existence of correlation between them is not necessary, therefore activation is multidimensional.The triple response system is one of the experimental paradigms that has been used the most in the psychophysiology of emotion, systematically confirming that Lacey's proposal is correct, among other reasons, because the organism tends towards homeostasis and parsimony. (Palmero, 2003).

On the other hand, Lacey also raises what is called the specificity of the autonomous response, to refer to the fact that, within the same system, a dissociation of response can be observed. The argumentation of the autonomous response specificity is based on the following considerations:

the autonomic nervous system really responds as a whole to the experimentally imposed stress, in the sense that all the innervated structures seem to be activated in the direction of the predominance of the sympathetic system;

however, it is not a response as a whole in the sense that all autonomically innervated structures exhibit equal increases or decreases in their functioning. Surprising intra-individual differences are often observed in the degree to which different physiological functions are activated. This is an aspect that, since its initial formulation by Lacey, has tried to be verified empirically, with heterogeneous results, due, essentially to the methodological difficulties that often exist in this type of research.

Ultimately, from Lacey's pioneering work (Lacey and Lacey, 1958), it seems evident that, in the first place, individuals do not show concordant changes in all measures in response to a particular emotional situation; secondly, there are notable differences among the subjects in terms of the patterns of change that are observed; third, individuals show common patterns of response in different emotional situations; and, last but not least, these response patterns are maintained over long periods of time.

Neurobiological theories

From the work of Cannon and Bard some interesting approaches arise in which the relevance of the limbic system and the hypothalamus to understand the biological substratum of emotional experience and behavior is revealed (Palmero, 2003). Among the most prominent approaches we will see below those of Papez, MacLean, Olds and Milner.

since the sensory inputs that reach this structure diffuse in three directions: to the cerebral cortex, to the basal ganglia and to the hypothalamus. The path to the cortex represents the current of thought, the path to the basal ganglia, the current of movement, and the path to the hypothalamus, the current of feeling.

From the point of view of emotion, what is really important in the formulation of Papez has to do with the current of feeling, directed towards the hypothalamus from the thalamus. Thus, from the hypothalamus, emotional stimuli are transmitted in two directions: downward, towards the peripheral nervous system, and upward, toward the cerebral cortex. Sometimes, the current of feeling goes directly from the hypothalamus to the brainstem and the spinal cord, and from there to the peripheral nervous system. That is, sometimes, emotional stimuli directly provoke emotional behavior. Other times, the current of feeling is directed from the hypothalamus to the cerebral cortex. On these occasions, the cortex of the cingulate receives emotional stimulation, whose effects are translated into perceptions, thoughts and attitudes. By

last, other times, the information can be transmitted from the cerebral cortex to the hippocampus, and from there to the hypothalamus. This circuit allows the cerebral cortex to shape emotional reactions.

In sum, for Papez, the expression of emotions implies a hypothalamic control of the visceral organs, while the feelings arise from the connections of a circuit that includes the hypothalamus, the mammillary bodies, the anterior thalamic nucleus and the cingulate cortex. . That is to say, the neuroanatomic structures that make up the Papez circuit, on whose functioning the emotions depend, are related to the so-called large limbic lobe. Today we know that the Papez circuit is closely related to emotional experience and expression. The structures that comprise it are the hippocampus, the fornix, the anterior thalamus, the cingulate cortex and the amygdala.

Another approach derived from the contributions of Cannon, is that of MacLean (1949, 1958, 1969, 1970), who proposes that the limbic lobe and certain related subcortical structures constitute a functional system: the limbic system. This system has also been called visceral brain, due to its important role in the regulation of visceral activity in a wide variety of emotions. The conception of MacLean, is an important contribution to the study of emotions. It shows that the human brain can be considered as a system of three layers, or three different types of brain, superimposed on one another, in such a way that each of them is made up of different anatomical structures and different chemical processes. In MacLean's argument, it is proposed that the oldest and deepest layer represents our reptilian encephalic inheritance, and appears in the current organization of the tronencephalic. This encephalon layer is called the reptilian brain, and is responsible for automatic instinctive behavior, a behavior often necessary for the survival of the organism (breathing). Over time, another layer developed over the reptilian core. This second layer, called the ancient mammalian brain, is responsible for the conservation of the species and the individual, including the neural structures that mediate emotions, feeding, avoidance and escape, fighting and the pursuit of pleasure. The relevant structures of this layer correspond to the limbic system. With a greater progression of evolution, a third one appears and, for the moment, definite layer on the previous two. This third layer is called the new mammalian brain, and is responsible for rational strategies and verbal ability. With this system, one can understand the complexity of the experiential, physiological and behavioral aspects of emotion, aspects that allow one to consider emotions as processes that are closely related to adaptive behavior.

The three forms of the brain constitute an internal world, in which the reptilian brain is constantly being bombarded by impulses, the limbic brain is continually forcing us to consider the general environment according to aesthetic patterns, and the neobrain functions to allow discriminations thinner The limbic system in particular, or the ancient mammalian brain, integrates the emotional experience, while the structure involved in emotional expression is, probably, the hypothalamus. The reasons cited by MacLean are the following: a) on the one hand, the limbic system has extensive subcortical connections;

On the other hand, the limbic system is the only part of the cortex that has visceral representation.

In this argument of MacLean, the hippocampus and the amygdala have a special relevance in the subjective aspect of emotion. Unlike Papez, MacLean does not attempt to trace a specific circuit for emotions, arguing that all structures in the limbic system seem to be involved in emotion.

In relation to the works of MacLean, one of the most suggestive contributions in recent years is the one proposed by Lane (2000), speaking of the different levels of cerebral complexity, hierarchically organized. From Lane's work, it is feasible to explain how the processing of emotional information can occur consciously, and below the thresholds of consciousness. Specifically, the author proposes the existence of five layers or zones that, from the lowest to the highest, would be the following: brainstem, diencephalus, limbic system, paralimbic system, and prefrontal cortex. All these neuroanatomical zones or layers can participate in the control of emotion. In the three lower layers, the processing of the stimulation would allow the initiation of emotional responses without the conscious experience of it taking place. Only when the two upper zones are involved (paralimbic system and prefrontal cortex) does the subjective experience of emotion occur.

Finally, Olds and Milner propose the direct involvement of the limbic system in emotions (general substratum of emotions), which consists of the following structures: septal area, amygdala, cortex of the gland and hippocampus; It has connections with the hypothalamus and the anterior nucleus of the thalamus.

On the other hand, and accidentally, the authors discovered the physiological centers involved in the reinforcement. They argue that the brain has pleasure centers, pain centers and neutral centers. Experiments on electrical stimulation in various areas reveal that it acts on the circuits that mediate the most usual reinforcements. These experiments revealed that the limbic system has three subsystems: subsystem I - related to olfaction.

Implemented in emotional control-, formed by the septal area, the amygdala and the anterior hypothalamus; subsystems III - non-concrete functions - formed by the cortex of the cingulate, the hippocampus, the posterior hypothalamus and the anterior nucleus of the thalamus. Of the three subsystems, the subsystem II is the one that is involved with the emotions.

Contemporary biologicist theories

Regarding the most recent contributions and with the greatest repercussion from biologicist approaches, those of Henry, Pribram, Panksepp can be highlighted.

Henry focuses on the role of hormones in emotion (Henry and Stephens, 1977, Henry, 1986). In general, Henry points to the involvement of the cortex, the limbic system, the neuroendocrine systems and the trochoencephalon in emotion. Based largely on MacLean's previous contributions, Henry asserts that psychosocial and environmental stimuli reach the subject, in whom past experience and genetically determined patterns of behavior shape the way in which the subject will react. The response to these two sources (stimuli in general and determinants of behavior) is processed in the neocortex and in the limbic system. Subsequently, information from the central nervous system to the periphery. In this context, Emotions are associated with specific patterns of neuroendocrine and behavioral responses. An important aspect in this approach is the perception of control that the individual has, since the cognitive, physiological and behavioral responses are different according to the perceived control.

For his part, Pribram (1992) proposes that the neuroanatomical structures involved in emotions belong to the limbic system, with the amygdala and the hippocampus being the most directly involved. The author, from a clearly biological approach, develops a theory with clear connections with the cognitive perspec- tive of information processing. In this frame of reference, emotions are considered as "plans", which are activated when the organism is unbalanced. The plans can be of action and can be of no action. When they are of action, they are equivalent to motivational processes, while, when they are of no action, they are equivalent to emotional processes. Later, Pribram (1996), with the commented neurophysiological and cognitive approaches, it highlights the importance of certain neuroanatomical structures, such as the amygdala, to process relevant information. Emotional expression is more primitive and basic than rational behavior.

Likewise, we would like to highlight one of the author's classic works (Pribram, 1976), which shows that it seems evident that certain emotions have a clear biological substrate that controls them, motivating the subject to perform a behavior ( this is the case of the direct involvement of the amygdala in the emotion of anger, and in the eventual subsequent manifestation of aggressive behavior). However, it also seems that other factors, such as social factors, play an important role.

On the other hand, according to Panksepp (1991), the cortex exerts its main effects in an inhibitory way on the most primitive affective tendencies, since the basic emotional systems seem to be controlled from subcortical structures. The author proposes the existence of specific brain circuits involved in specific emotions, which are responsible for activating the action tendencies of emotions. For example, the emotion of fear is associated with the septo-hippocampal structure, implied in the system of behavioral inhibition.

These early explanations of Professor Panksepp recently come to fruition in the proposal of an affective neuroscience, a discipline that has to focus on the study of the neurobiology of emotions (Palmero, 2003). From his perspective, it seems essential to have neural and biologically based definitions with which to explain the different psychological studies on emotion. For this, it is essential to allude to the existence of specific neurobiological circuits that control the execution of particular emotions. These basic neurobiological circuits are genetically predetermined and designed to respond unconditionally to stimuli that have some important significance for the organism. The operation of these circuits can produce activation or inhibition of certain behavioral manifestations of the different autonomic systems in charge of regulating and adjusting the physiological functioning of the organism to the characteristics of the present demand. The emotional circuits can exert an important influence on the sensitivity of the sensory systems, raising or lowering the thresholds of perception as required by the circumstance to which the subject faces. In addition, the emotional circuits are in continuous interaction with the brain structures involved in the execution of cognitive processes of another type, such as those of decision making or those of consciousness. To date, Panksepp has described the circuits of four emotional systems with a lot of data: fear, rage / anger, curiosity / search and panic (Panksepp, 1998). These fundamental emotional circuits, also called emotional order systems or first-order systems, aim to produce well-organized behavioral sequences. Each of these neural circuits produces very clear behavioral responses. The eventual interaction between these systems can produce second-order emotional states, which consist of subjective and behavioral mixtures that are appreciated when the first-order systems are activated. Each of these neural circuits produces very clear behavioral responses. The eventual interaction between these systems can produce second-order emotional states, which consist of subjective and behavioral mixtures that are appreciated when the first-order systems are activated. Each of these neural circuits produces very clear behavioral responses. The eventual interaction between these systems can produce second-order emotional states, which consist of subjective and behavioral mixtures that are appreciated when the first-order systems are activated.

Two other approaches that are having a great impact in our days, and that will be developed more carefully in the next section, are those of LeDoux and Damasio. In general terms, we can say that LeDoux, also based on the works of Cannon, Bard and Papez, develops his theory of emotion in which the brain and the peripheral nervous system participate. In particular, the author focuses on the relevant role of the amygdala in emotion. For his part, Damasio, is another of the contemporary authors who has focused his interest in the search for the neurobiological bases of emotional processes in general, and emotional feeling in particular. In relation to this, the author has highlighted the important role of the right hemisphere in the processing of emotional information.

The current neurobiology

As already mentioned, no one can doubt that the origin of the study of emotions from a biological perspective is located in Darwin's work The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). In this work, Darwin tried to explain the origin and development of the main expressive behaviors in man and in other lower animals. In fact, Darwin's consideration was to understand the emotional expression of chumanos from the study of emotional expression in animals of lower species: our emotional behavior is the result of our own evolution. From that moment, the interest of the researchers was oriented towards the location and analysis of the biological structures involved in the emotion, both in the expressive dimension, and in the interpretative dimension. As has just been reviewed and explained above, the timid attempts made to locate this relationship between the central nervous system and emotions reach a moment of relevance with the contributions of Papez (1937), Kluver and Bucy (1939) and MacLean ( 1949), among others. The hypothalamus, the cingulate cortex, the formation of the hippocampus, and their interconnections make up the biological structure of emotions. Later, from the contributions of Kluver and Bucy, it begins to propose the important role of the amygdala. With these discoveries, it seemed clear that Papez's hypothetical circuit, according to MacLean's terminology, was the objective of the researchers. In addition to these important contributions, the current state of the neurobiological study of emotion is also due to the contributions derived from three major arguments: that of James and Lange, based on physiological feedback, that of Cannon, based on the central relevance Thalamic, and that of Marañón-Schachter, based on self-attribution.

In recent years we are witnessing a proliferative phenomenon in the search for the neurobiological bases of emotional processes. While, as noted, the starting point has been the important legacy of classics like localizacionistas Papez and MacLean and fundamentally, should not be left in the background studies of some contemporary authors like LeDoux and Damasio. Thus, from the boom and have taken the most recent biologicist guidance, it can be argued that today are these though, in the strict sense, should talk about neurobiológicas- theories that account for the maximum in- terest and provide more contrasted results (Palmero, 2003). One of the arguments that pervades the discoveries carried out in recent years has to do with an unavoidable fact: all the actions derived from the activity of the central nervous system contribute to the affective processes. But, at the same time, one of the main neuropsychological assumptions refers to the fact that behavior and states of experience are physically mediated by the brain. Therefore, both emotional behavior and affect are also modulated by brain functioning, so that any brain disturbance can have an impact on emotional experience and behavior. In effect, any change in these activities affects the way in which we express our own emotional behavior, and the way we interpret the emotional behavior of others. But, at the same time, one of the main neuropsychological assumptions refers to the fact that behavior and states of experience are physically mediated by the brain. Therefore, both emotional behavior and affection are also modulated by brain function such luck than either cerebral disturbance WANT may impact on emotional experience and behavior. In effect, any change in these activities affects the way in which we express our own emotional behavior, and the way we interpret the emotional behavior of others. But, at the same time, one of the main neuropsychological assumptions refers to the fact that behavior and states of experience are physically mediated by the brain. Therefore, both emotional behavior and affection are also modulated by brain function such luck than either cerebral disturbance WANT may impact on emotional experience and behavior. In effect, any change in these activities affects the way in which we express our own emotional behavior, and the way we interpret the emotional behavior of others. Therefore, both emotional behavior and affect are also modulated by brain functioning, so that any brain disturbance can have an impact on emotional experience and behavior. In effect, any change in these activities affects the way in which we express our own emotional behavior, and the way we interpret the emotional behavior of others. Therefore, both emotional behavior and affect are also modulated by brain functioning, so that any brain disturbance can have an impact on emotional experience and behavior. In effect, any change in these activities affects the way in which we express our own emotional behavior, and the way we interpret the emotional behavior of others.

In this frame of reference, one of the premises that must be maintained when trying to locate the biological substrate of emotions has to do with the progressive differentiation of the brain in the process of evolution itself. Thus, gradually there have been more demands on the organism, which has allowed the old neuroanatomical structures responsible for the basic adaptive mechanisms to evolve also to offer a broader and more flexible range of responses that increase the adaptive capacity of organisms .

On the plane of human emotion, neuroanatomical references emphasize the involvement of telencephalic structures, such as the basal ganglia, the limbic system and the cerebral cortex. However, contributions from clinical neurology also point to the importance of some diencephalic structures, such as the thalamus and hypothalamus, and even brainstem, as the reticular nuclei of the protuberance or bridge.

In this way, and taking into account the way in which current events are being developed in the study of the neurobiology of emotion, it seems essential to consider an approach based on neuroanatomical evolutionism, since it allows the adoption of flexible proposals that consider the participation of different structures. The current situation assumes the relevance of these considerations, and continues to deepen their knowledge. In fact, the idea that subcortical structures are essential to understand all dimensions of emotional behavior is well established (LeDoux, 1996). That is, if, in the first place, emotions are basic adaptive processes that are present in the human being before it fully develops the structure and functionality of the central nervous system; if, in the second place, emotions are adaptive mechanisms that are present in many of the lower species, because in their genetic baggage is the appropriate endowment for them to appear and develop; It seems sensible, in the third place, to propose that the biological infrastructure -or, again, neurobiological- is located in areas of the central nervous system that are relatively old, and this is the case of subcortical structures. In any of the cases, admitting the relevance of subcortical structures in the field of emotion,

Finally, a thorough analysis of the data provided in the most recent studies shows that the oversimplification of the left hemisphere-reason versus the right hemisphere-emotion must be reconsidered at present, since there are some aspects of interest that speak of the functional complexity of both hemispheres in emotional processes. Thus, it seems quite clear that the two hemispheres participate in the emotional processes, a fact that should not be surprising if we think of the inter hemispheric connection through the corners of the corpus callosum, or of the anterior commissure. It is necessary to specify the real participation of each hemisphere in the perception and expression of emotions, since the situation related to the role of these structures is really more complex. In fact, As indicated by some authors (Damasio, 1995, Gainotti, 1999), the models proposed to study the neurobiology of emotion consider the subcortical-cortical dichotomy, or limbic-non-limbic dichotomy, as well as the distinction between the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. - do, and even, within each hemisphere, the lateral-ventral, and anterior-posterior location. In this regard, and as a synthesis of this type of differentiation, Borod and Madigan (2000) propose two essential forms of approach to the neurobiological study of emotion: one, with interhemispheric connotations, is re- Within each hemisphere, the lateral-ventral, and anterior-posterior location. In this regard, and as a synthesis of this type of differentiation, Borod and Madigan (2000) propose two essential forms of approach to the neurobiological study of emotion: one, with interhemispheric connotations, is re- Within each hemisphere, the lateral-ventral, and anterior-posterior location. In this regard, and as a synthesis of this type of differentiation, Borod and Madigan (2000) propose two essential forms of approach to the neurobiological study of emotion: one, with interhemispheric connotations, is re- ilacionada with laterality; another, with intrahemispheric connotations, includes two levels of analysis and research, that of caudality (anterior-posterior) and verticality (neocortical-subcortical or limbic).

Finally, as an observation of the complexity involved in the study of emotional neurobiology, another aspect that could be considered is the possible participation of the different neurobiological structures in each of the two planes through which emotion has been preferentially studied. , namely:

The one referred to knowledge of emotion -recognition, denomination, evaluation and evaluation-; 2) that referred to the expression -by means of language, gestures, facial changes, and any other movement with connotations of social communication. Both planes could be defined as: processing of emotional stimulation and preparation of emotional response. This is, in our opinion, the critical point that currently allows advancement in the knowledge of the neurobiological structures involved in emotion (Palmero, 2003).

Processing of emotional stimulation

In the field of the neurobiology of emotions in general, and more specifically in the field of recognition, evaluation and assessment of emotion, there are two brain structures that are currently receiving the most attention, namely the amygdala and the cerebral hemispheres. However, as recently pointed out by Quirós and Cabestrero (2008), we must bear in mind that the study of the cerebral mechanisms of emotion is in its early stages, so that, rather than giving simple answers, they stand out the complexity of the phenomenon.

With regard to the amygdala, its special location, as well as the important connectivity with other brain structures, make it an area of ??special emotional relevance. The amygdala receives sensory information of all modalities, and is in contact with the hippocampus, the basal forebrain and the basal ganglia, which are important structures in the memory and attention processes, as well as with the hypothalamus, which is fundamental for the patient. control of homeostasis and neuroendocrine regulation.

The multiple works in which the study and involvement of the amygdala in the processing of emotional stimulation have been addressed are encouraging, predominating, in general terms, the active participatory vision of this structure in emotion. Thus, studies carried out in recent times, through the support of technology based on the functional image of brain activity, highlight that the amygdala is involved in the processing of expressive emotional stimulation; even, as suggested by another series of studies, the possibility that the amygdala is involved in a broader and more general emotional processing function, with social connotations, is not ruled out.

If it is very likely that the amygdala plays an important role in the acquisition of knowledge related to emotion, we believe that, at least to this day, the specific functioning and participation of this structure are not completely delimited. The existence, still, of controverted data seems to indicate that, although the implication of the amygdala is very probable, a greater neurobiological specificity is needed to delimit its exact participation.

Regarding the cerebral hemispheres, the suggestions referring to the involvement of the left hemisphere in those emotional aspects that are transmitted through language, or that imply the verbal description of an emotion, while the right hemisphere would be more related are already classic. with the emotional aspects that are transmitted through expressive and gestural characteristics.

More recently, the special relevance of the right hemisphere for the processing of information with emotional connotations has been suggested, both in the case of humans and in the case of animals of lower species.

Although, the implication of the right hemisphere in emotional processing is clear, the reason for this differential type of functioning continues to raise doubts and controversies. In fact, assuming one of the most accepted principles at present, which is based on the biological hierarchical determination, some authors propose that one could understand the different implication of both hemispheres in the processing of emotional information from different levels. - Tegorias of emotions. Thus, the most primitive forms of emotion, which, by general rule, have a negative valence, are especially linked to the functioning of the right hemisphere, while those other emotions phylogenetically more advanced, and with social connotations, they are especially linked to the functioning of the left hemisphere. However, other authors (Gainotti, Caltagirone and Zoccolotti, 1993) believe that, more than in the emotional categories, one should focus on the level or degree of information processing to understand the different emotions, as well as the specific role. that each of the hemispheres plays in them.

Damasio, one of the authors that has best outlined the relevance of the right hemisphere in the processing of emotional information, proposes its somatic marker hypothesis. This hypothesis argues that the reasoning is influenced by biased signals arising from the neural machinery underlying emotions (Dunn, Dalgleish and Lawrence, 2006). Damasio argues that the processing of emotion depends on the processing of somatic information. That is, the emotion involves a afferents from the body, and also involves a efferents to the body, in both cases including the partici- pation of endocrine and visceral aspects. In this frame of reference, the right hemisphere seems to be specialized in the representation of the body, since the specific lesions of this hemisphere produce a greater loss of control over the general state of the body, than when the lesions are circumscribed to the left hemisphere. It is probable, says Damasio, that the functions referred to emotion and the representation of the body, which they are part of the same organismic homeostatic function, they are lateralised in the right hemisphere.

In general terms, as some authors have recently emphasized (Adolphs and Damasio, 2000, Borod and Madigan, 2000), the important role played by the right hemisphere in the processing of emotional stimulation seems fairly confirmed.

Preparation of the emotional response

In the plane of emotional manifestation in general, and of emotional expression in particular, the amygdala and the cerebral hemispheres have also been the neurobiological structures that have received the most attention from researchers. For some years now, one of the aspects that has most attracted attention in the study of the neurobiology of emotional expression comes from the contributions of Ekman (1985), when referring to the importance of subcortical structures and hemispheres brain to understand how the expression of emotions occurs. Indeed, the author points out that it is necessary to distinguish between involuntary or spontaneous emotional expression and voluntary or feigned emotional expression. Each of these expressive manifestations seems to be controlled by different structures, produced by the activation of different mechanisms. When the expression refers to authentic emotions, it is the oldest and most basic structures (mainly the brainstem and the limbic system) that control this behavioral manifestation; but, when the expression refers to feigned emotions, the cerebral cortex participates. Furthermore, according to Ekman, it can also be seen that, when the emotion is authentic, it seems that there is a relative symmetry in the facial expression, whereas, when the emotion is feigned, this symmetry is not appreciated. when the expression refers to feigned emotions, the cerebral cortex participates. Furthermore, according to Ekman, it can also be seen that, when the emotion is authentic, it seems that there is a relative symmetry in the facial expression, whereas, when the emotion is feigned, this symmetry is not appreciated. when the expression refers to feigned emotions, the cerebral cortex participates. Furthermore, according to Ekman, it can also be seen that, when the emotion is authentic, it seems that there is a relative symmetry in the facial expression, whereas, when the emotion is feigned, this symmetry is not appreciated.

As already indicated in the previous section, traditionally, and very often, it has been argued that the left hemisphere was responsible for reason -specialized in the processes of language and thought-, and the right hemisphere responsible of emotion - specialized in intuition, emotionality and global spatial perception. These characteristics and functions of the two hemispheres, which continue to reflect the classic dichotomy so often used in the left hemisphere-rationality versus the right hemisphere-emotionality, seem correct, but they are also incomplete. Thus, on the one hand, there are important aspects of coherent thinking, even in the realm of the verbal dimension, which receive considerable functional support from the right hemisphere, integrating information in a way that may be essential for rational knowledge and, on the other hand, it can also be seen that the left hemisphere is important for emotional stability, regulating, and even inhibiting, the affective responsiveness of the hemisphere straight. The role of the amygdala in emotion, as we also pointed out in the previous section, has been encouraging, although with some controversy still. In recent years, and thanks to the contributions of authors such as LeDoux, it has been possible to see As we also pointed out in the previous section, it has been encouraging, although with some controversy still. In recent years, and thanks to the contributions of authors such as LeDoux, it has been possible to see As we also pointed out in the previous section, it has been encouraging, although with some controversy still. In recent years, and thanks to the contributions of authors such as LeDoux, it has been possible to see

A significant increase in the investigation of this structure to profile, not only its involvement in the processing of emotional stimulation, but also in the preparation of the emotional response. All this information could lead to the consideration of the amygdala as a vital structure in the emotional process as a whole, since it could have functions related to the analysis, evaluation and evaluation of emotional stimulation, producing in a clear manner the opportune ones behavioral manifestations associated with different emotions (Palmero, 2003).

Let us see, next, the state of the question regarding the participation of the amygdala and the cerebral hemispheres in the preparation of the emotional response and manifestation.

With regard to the amygdala, it should be noted that, in recent years, and thanks to the fruitful contributions of authors such as LeDoux, this structure is revealing itself as a fundamental area to understand the neurobiological substrate of emotions, at least of the emotion of fear (Delgado, Jou, LeDoux, Phelps, 2009; Johansen, Tarpley, LeDoux, 2010).

The relevance of this structure, in terms of its involvement in the emotional process, has been observed both in the plane of stimulation processing and in the plane of emotional response. In this way, the amygdala is considered as a structure that participates actively in the processing of information with emotional connotations (input mechanism), as well as in the preparation of the different behavioral manifestations and internal adjustments that occur as a consequence of the stimulus. that reaches the organism and acquires emotional connotations (exit mechanism).

Thanks to the important contributions of LeDoux, it is becoming clear that their study is essential to know in more detail the neurobiological infrastructure of emotions, although it should be noted that there is still some controversy regarding the role of the amygdala in the emotional processes in general.

So, LeDoux focuses his research on the amygdala, a subcortical nucleus that is located inside the temporal lobe, signaling it as responsible for the mechanism of emotional evaluation of visual stimuli. The injury of this structure produces a loss of the emotion of fear and difficulties in the functions of other types of emotions.

In broad strokes, those who defend the importance of the amygdala in emotional processes consider the existence of two neurobiological systems. On the one hand, the classic system, longer, which includes the thalamus, the associative cortex specific to the type of stimulus involved, and the different subcortical structures that would participate in the response of the organism, including in it the emotional manifestations as well. The other proposed system is shorter and more direct, since the stimulus, once it reaches the thalamus, in addition to following the path

When followed, a shorter projection to the amygdala follows, which has the capacity to prepare an immediate organismic response to the eventual threat that the stimulus in question may suppose. In this second possibility, only certain subcortical structures are involved, of which the most important one is the amygdala. In fact, according to LeDoux, emotions are the product of the activity of this system. The shortest path of the two is the second, therefore it is this path that allows the almost immediate response to the signs of danger. But immediately afterwards the result of the more detailed analysis of that stimulus, which has taken place in the specific associative cortex, also reaches the amygdala, confirming whether the initial response prepared by the amygdala has been correct or not. If the initial response was correct, it is now refined in its manifestation, adjusting to the specific significance of the stimulus and the damage associated with it. If, on the other hand, the initial response was not appropriate, in the case of a false alarm, the response and autonomic mechanisms activated to protect the balance of the organism automatically cease. It must be borne in mind that the faster response of the amygdala from the direct information coming from the thalamus occurs at the expense of the quality in the analysis of said stimulation. That is to say, the stimulation arrived directly from the thalamus is very little elaborated, with which the response of the amygdala is also quite nonspecific. At most, we could raise the possibility that it is an elementary response of preparation, of defense in general. In our opinion, the adaptive value of the contribution of LeDoux is undeniable. Although the rapid, precipitous response produced by the amygdala is not correct, that is, although most of the time it is only a false alarm, it is preferable that this type of error would mean not reacting in time and suffer the consequences of a dangerous situation Or, what is the same, in evolutionary terms, the existence of many situations cataloged as false positive is more adaptive than a single cataloged as a false negative, since that single situation can also be the last. Although most of the time it is only a false alarm, it is preferable that kind of error that would mean not react in time and suffer the consequences of a dangerous situation. Or, what is the same, in evolutionary terms, the existence of many situations cataloged as false positive is more adaptive than a single cataloged as a false negative, since that single situation can also be the last. Although most of the time it is only a false alarm, it is preferable that kind of error that would mean not react in time and suffer the consequences of a dangerous situation. Or, what is the same, in evolutionary terms, the existence of many situations cataloged as false positive is more adaptive than a single cataloged as a false negative, since that single situation can also be the last.

In order to delineate more accurately the role that, according to LeDoux, the amygdala plays, it is interesting to review the connections that this subcortical structure maintains with the sensory cortex. Specifically, the connection between the amygdala and the cortex is bidirectional, although the pathways that connect the amygdala with the cortex are more solid and wide than the pathways that connect the cortex to the amygdala. The obvious asymmetry of pathways between the amygdala and the cortex allows us to understand why it is so difficult to voluntarily stop an emotion once it has been triggered. Thus, projections from the thalamus activate simultaneously the sensory cortex and the amygdala. In addition, the amygdala also receives information from the sensory cortex, whatever the type of sensory stimulation involved. On the other hand, the amygdala also sends projections to the sensory cortex in the areas where the processing of the stimulation in question takes place. From these assumptions, there are two aspects of considerable interest. On the one hand, the amygdala receives direct information from the thalamus, which allows it to process and resolve one form or another of action before the information reaches it from the sensory cortex. On the other hand, as Armony (1998) suggests, it would be possible to think that the amygdala has the capacity to which allows it to process and resolve one form or another of action before the information reaches it from the sensory cortex. On the other hand, as Armony (1998) suggests, it would be possible to think that the amygdala has the capacity to which allows it to process and resolve one form or another of action before the information reaches it from the sensory cortex. On the other hand, as Armony (1998) suggests, it would be possible to think that the amygdala has the capacity to influir on the processing that is being carried out in the cortical areas involved, regulating the activity of the areas that will project on it a certain type of activation and information. One could speak of a kind of self-regulation circuit between the sensory cortex and the amygdala, in which the control over the information filter would be located in the amygdala.

Another aspect to consider, regarding the relevance of the amygdala, consists in its potential capacity to indirectly influence the cortical sensorial processing through the projections it sends to different centers involved in the activation of the cortex, such as the cholinergic system. of the basal forebrain, the cholinergic system of the brainstem, and the noradrenergic system of the cerulean locus. As some authors have pointed out, every time the amygdala detects a danger, it promotes the activation of said systems, activation that has the objective of influencing sensory processing, enhancing attention. This is a probable function, but not a determining one, because when a stimulus arrives at the organism, two forms of activation take place: on the one hand, the specific one, which, through the reticular formation, it reaches the specific thalamic nuclei, and is projected on the sensory cortex related to the type of stimulation in play -as we have just explained, also on the amygdala-; on the other hand, the nonspecific, which, also through the reticular formation, reaches the non-specific thalamic nuclei, then projecting itself in a general and wide manner over a large part of the cerebral cortex, and provoking a state of generalized activation, always depending on the intensity and significance of the stimulus.

Today, from various investigations, it is well known that the projections that come directly from the thalamus, as well as those that come from the sensory cortex, enter the amygdala through the lateral nucleus. From the lateral nucleus, the information reaches the basal nucleus, and from there to the central nucleus, which is considered as the main efferent center from the amygdala, sending projections to the various brainstem systems involved in emotional reactivity.

A well-defined behavioral model to explain learning processes and memory with emotional connotations is the acquisition of fear through classical conditioning, a process by which a relatively neutral stimulus can produce fear responses, thanks to its initial association with a stimulus or event unconditionally capable of producing fear. Specifically, the neutral stimulus acquires the ability to elicit defense reactions, anticipating the, in principle probable, occurrence of the damage. It is now accepted that the amygdala plays a decisive role in the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear responses (Armony, 1998, LeDoux, 2000 a). This concrete model has allowed us to outline in great detail the cerebral neurobiological mechanism of emotion of fear.

Amígdala As LeDoux (2000b) has recently emphasized, the amygdala is a crucial component in understanding how information related to the specific memory of the emotion of fear is acquired, stored and expressed; Therefore, it is necessary to delimit how a stimulus reaches the amygdala, how it affects this structure and how it is projected from it to other structures and centers. Thus, from these recent approaches, it is considered that the amygdala determines the significance of the stimulus in question, and activates the appropriate emotional response, as well as the adjustment of the internal environment of the organism to face that situation of danger or threat. In LeDoux's opinion, although much of the research has been done with rats, also the human brain works according to this prototypical pattern of defense. Evidently, the fact of finding the same neurobiological infrastructure for the emotion of fear in many species indicates that the process of evolution maintains this biological characterization because it has adaptive functions. The brain of all these species is specially equipped to increase the probability of survival. Although the events that produce fear are very different between the different species, each one of them is specially prepared in its genetic endowment so that the neurobiological system of fear is activated before specific stimuli, in such a way that to say that the way in which the brain faces danger is quite similar. This possibility of interspecific extrapolation, being useful in general terms, requires special prudence when one of the species involved is human, since the existence of specially differentiated patterns of development can lead to the eventual qualitative difference in the function of the amygdala. between the different species. Thus, the fact that much of the research conducted has been carried out with rats has raised some controversy, leading some authors to question the possibility of extrapolating the results obtained to the human being. This is one of the most important issues that are being dealt with at present,

In the final instance, it is necessary to point out that the location of this particular neurobiological mechanism does not exhaust completely what it has to be -what it is- the emotion of fear, at least in the human being. The more elaborate analysis of the stimulus or eliciting event may result concomitantly with the conscious experience of the emotion of fear. It is necessary to emphasize that this conscious experience of fear is viable when the brain is sufficiently developed so that it possesses awareness of its own activities. That is, a system made up of the structures of the subcortical system, plus certain cortical structures, is required: feelings are the product of the coordinated activity of the subcortical system and the cortex (LeDoux, 1996). It is evident that the human being has that capacity, while it is less clear that other species also possess it. In any case, this differential aspect is not an obstacle to the study of the fear system in the brain, since it seems that, phylogenetically speaking, it is a very old endowment, prior to the existence of the function that allows the being human experience the feeling of

llmiedo. It seems that the most appropriate is the study of neural systems that have evolved to allow behavioral solutions to the different problems related to survival.

Despite all the above, there are still some aspects that promote some controversy. Thus, one of the problems implicit in the reasoning of those who defend the possibility that the amygdala is the structure responsible for emotions, is that they leave it unclear if the emotional process can occur independently of cortical processing, and even if it is possible to establish an interactive impact between both forms of processing. As Armony (1998) has pointed out, one might think that emotional processing can occur independently of attentional mechanisms with top-down characteristics. Even taking into account that the conditioning of this type of responses implies the transmission of information from the thalamus to the amygdala, and that this structure then sends projections to the cortical structures, the possibility could be considered that this emotional process modulates some aspects of cognitive functioning related to the storage in memory of the emotional experience. Also, in terms of the emotional response itself, there are some works in which the role of the amygdala in the preparation of the emotional response, or in the expression of emotions, is not defined.

Even so, most current results point to their involvement, both in the processing of incoming information and in the preparation of the emotional response. What would be necessary is to refine some methodological aspects, since, as a general rule, ablation has been used as a lesion technique, with the usual negative effects that this technique has when it comes to defining exactly the size of the lesion that you try to provoke.

Finally, we want to point out that the origin of the study of the amygdala in relation to the visual processing of emotional stimuli occurs with the research of Klüver and Bucy (1937). These authors worked with rhesus macacus who underwent a bilateral ablation of the temporal lobe, finding that this lesion showed emotional and behavioral alterations.

With respect to the cerebral hemispheres, important revisions have been made in recent years that, in general, also find a relative differential implication of the hemispheres in emotional expression. In this order of things, in a previous work (Palmero, 1996), we made reference to certain aspects of interest, highlighting that emotional expression acquires differential nuances in both parts of the face. The right part of it is, according to Wolff (1933), the public zone, because it reflects the emotions that the subject wants others to perceive, while the left part of the face is the most private area in emotional expression. These are quite accepted statements at present, since, in the sense of the contributions of Ekman (1985), it has been established that,

The face expresses with greater intensity the emotion in question, whereas, when an individual spontaneously manifests an emotion, the expression of it is quite symmetrical in both parts of the face. However, even in the cases of expression of true emotions, that is, in cases of expressive symmetry between both parts of the face, we must be careful with excessive generalization.

Thus, more recent studies provide information on the involvement of the right hemisphere in the automatic components of emotion, particularly in the expressive and autonomic response (Gainotti, 1996, Borod, Santschi and Koff, 1997). On the other hand, the left hemisphere seems to play an important role in the control and modulation functions on spontaneous emotional expression. In this order of things, following the works of Gainotti (2000), it is known that patients with lesions in the left hemisphere show greater emotional reactivity, since, as the typical modulator control of the left hemisphere does not occur, it increases the frequency of emotional expressive manifestations controlled by the right hemisphere. In addition, this type of patients also show greater autonomic activation,

However, even accepting the existence of hemispheric asymmetry in the control of emotional expression, there are still some doubts that, at least in our opinion, are relevant (Palmero, 2003). For example, it remains to be resolved if the asymmetry develops in the telencephalic structures themselves, that is, in the hemispheres, or, on the contrary, the asymmetry occurs in the subcortical structures and is reflected in the hemispheres.

On the other hand, trying to specify even more the neurobiological localization of the control over the emotional expression and behavior, in some recent works the capital importance of the frontal lobes has been highlighted. Thus, it has been proven that lesions in the frontal lobes generally have a greater negative impact than lesions in the temporal and parietal areas on the control of emotional manifestation. This greater impact can be seen, both in spontaneous expression and in the voluntary expression of emotion (Kolb and Taylor, 2000).

In the final analysis, as appears to be derived from the current situation in this field, the appearance of heterogeneous results leads us to be cautious when establishing a localization delimitation that is too close, since, although presumably, the neurobiological structures are being investigated. If they are involved in the control of emotional behavior, the exact role played by each of them remains ambiguous. The hypotheses that are most frequently used to locate the participation of the cerebral hemispheres in emotions are the following: a) the right hemisphere has a marked superiority over the left hemisphere in the plane of the brain;

Emotional vvconducta in general; b) the two hemispheres have a complementary specialization for the control of the different aspects related to the affection -in particular, the left hemisphere would have a predominant role for positive emotions, while the right hemisphere would be predominant for negative emotions- ; c) emotional expression, like language, is an essential form of communication - the right hemisphere is dominant for emotional expression, in a similar way to the superiority that the left hemisphere possesses for language; d) the right hemisphere is dominant for the perception of all those emotionally related events, such as facial expressions, body movements, etc.

With all this, it is observed that the field of investigation is wide, the theoretical positions varied, and, logically, the heterogeneous results. These limitations impede consensus about the specific role played by the hemispheres in general. Some authors, such as LeDoux, point out that it is necessary to look for methodological alternatives in the field of neurobiology, going towards the eventual specific localization of a specific brain area involved in a particular emotion. However, it seems more prudent to avoid any excessively localizationist approach in an area such as emotional processes, given the increasingly evident existence of an interaction between affective processes and cognitive processes (Palmero, 2003).

Emotional experience

Before finishing this section, we would like to refer to one of the most exciting aspects in the field of psychology in general, and the psychology of emotion in particular. We refer to that of consciousness, which in the field of emotion acquires the connotations of emotional experience. It is very common to find that, in the perspective based on the components of emotion, one of its essential components has to do with the subjective dimension, generically called emotional experience or feeling. Some authors in recent times (LeDoux, 1996; Bradley and Lang, 2000) propose that the emotional experience is simply a distraction that disturbs the true knowledge of the emotional process, which refers to the biological dimension of emotions, link that allows one to understand evolution itself through its common characteristics in multiple species of the phylogenetic scale. On the other hand, there are others (Damasio, 2000; Heilman, 2000) for whom the complete knowledge of an emotional process can not be understood without considering the relevance of the subjective dimension or emotional experience. It is evident that the different points of view reflect the enormous complexity that still covers the concept of emotion; but, in addition, they reflect a controversy that has always been present, and is the one referring to the difficulty of making objective an information that belongs to the subjectivity of each person. In this respect, however, Searle (1998) proposes that the subjective nature of conscious experience does not prevent the attempt to study it scientifically.

Distinguish between epistemology (the way we use to know something) and ontology (the nature of what is being studied). The fact that consciousness is a subjective phenomenon, in the first person (ontology), does not prevent us from developing a series of objective scientific strategies and procedures (epistemology) in order to try to approximate their knowledge and understanding.

In this frame of reference, and among the works that currently best outline what the study of this subjective dimension has to be, those of Antonio Damasio stand out. In recent years, the author has devoted a great effort to locate the neurobiological bases of emotional feeling; In fact, Damascus (1989 a, 1994, 1999) has been trying for some time to study the mode and place in which the events of consciousness take place. According to the author's theory of emotion, he considers that this process seems an appropriate way to reach the goal of the location and location of consciousness. For Damasio, consciousness is something entirely private of the individual who possesses it, which occurs as part of a process, also private and personal of that individual, to whom we name mind. But on the other hand, Consciousness and the mind are intimately associated with the external behaviors that said individual manifests. That is, each individual shares these three phenomena: mind, consciousness-as part of the mind-and observable behaviors. On the other hand, the mind and the observable behaviors are also directly associated with the functioning of that organism as a whole, specifically with the functioning of the brain of that individual, with which we find ourselves with a basic triad -the brain and observable behavior-, which has allowed the advancement of knowledge in recent years. Ultimately, the essential relationship occurs between the brain and the mind. Now, as Damasio points out,

Actually, both emotion and its expression represent the most direct manifestations of the first order to understand the bioregulation of a complex organism, especially when it is immersed in an environment with aspects as complex as culture and society. According to Damasio, this regulation can not be understood without appealing to the important role that emotion plays, it has the connotations of adaptation and survival of the organisms that have reached the highest levels of development, among which is, as is obvious , the human being. But, in addition, emotion also plays an important role in other basic processes directly related to adaptation and survival. Thus, on the one hand, it has a clear impact on the processes of learning, consolidation and recovery, in such a way that the union between emotion and memory represents an exponential increase of the probabilities that an organism has of adapting and surviving. But, on the other hand, it also influences the processes of reasoning and decision making, from the simplest to the most complex.

Emotions are defined as patterns of chemical and neural responses, whose function is to contribute to the maintenance of life in an organism, providing adaptive behaviors. This important role of emotions is based on the fact that the neuroanatomical structures that are the basis of emotional processes are the same ones that are responsible for controlling and regulating basic bodily states through specific processes, such as homeostasis.

Emotions are biologically determined, thus being stereotyped and automatic processes. However, the culture and the experiences and influences that an individual receives throughout their development also play an important role. This influence can be reflected both in the plane of the stimuli that trigger an emotion and in the plane of emotional expression.

Damasio distinguishes between primary or universal, secondary or social emotions and background emotions. The primary or universal emotions are: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and aversion / disgust. Secondary or social emotions, also called by Damasio other behaviors, are: shame, jealousy, guilt, and pride. The underlying emotions are: well-being, discomfort, calm, tension, energy, fatigue, anticipation, distrust. Its peculiarity consists in the nature of the inducers, which are usually internal, and in the focus of the response, which, essentially, is the internal environment of the organism.

Regarding the neuroanatomical structures involved in emotional processes, according to various works (Damasio, 1994, LeDoux, 1996), there is considerable agreement that the brainstem is involved in practically all emotions; the hypothalamus and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex resemble the structures that intervene in the emotion of sadness, although they do not intervene in other emotions, such as anger and fear; On the other hand, the amygdala is the structure involved in the emotion of fear. The anterior cingulate cortex also seems to play a certain role in the emotional processes, specifically it would be related to the consciousness of the emotion. There is a certain coincidence when talking about the neurobiological substratum of the conscious experience of emotion, the occurrence of an emotional process would follow a succession of events, which begin, either with the detection of an object or situation through perception through the receivers, or with the memory of that object or situation; in both cases, the result is the activation of the nuclei of the brainstem, the hypothalamus and the amygdala. Next, these structures release hor- mones of various types in the bloodstream, which are directed, on the one hand, to various areas of the body, thereby modifying the profile of the internal environment, and, on the other hand, towards different brain areas, such as the somatosensory cortex and the cingulate cortex, which will modify the signaling of bodily states in the brain. At the same time, these structures send, simultaneously, electrochemical signals by neurotransmitters, on the one hand, to the adrenal glands, which will release hormones with subsequent repercussion in the brain, and, on the other hand, to other brain regions, such as the cortex, the thalamus, and the basal ganglia, with which It will modify the cognitive state, leading to the eventual manifestation of emotional behaviors, as well as to a particular way of processing information.

In Damasio's theory, the relationship between feeling and emotion acquires special relevance, being necessary to distinguish between both variables. They are two terms that, as we have reviewed several times previously, have been used in a way. Damasio also points out that, although they are intimately associated, they are not the same thing. Specifically, emotion refers to a series of responses that, unchained from specific areas of the brain, take place in other areas of the brain, as well as in other parts of the rest of the body. The final result of such responses is an emotional state, which could be defined as the set of different bodily changes experienced by the individual in question. For its part, the feeling refers to the result of emotional state, which, in the words of Damasio, it refers to a complex mental state. This mental state includes, on the one hand, the representation of the changes that are occurring in the body itself, and that are represented in the corresponding structures of the central nervous system, and, on the other hand, various alterations in cognitive processing, which are the result of brain-brain responses. That is, emotion first occurs, the results of which are of two types: on the one hand, outward, in the form of diverse behaviors, mainly in the form of more or less defined expressions, which serve to communicate our internal state to others ; on the other hand, inward, in the form of a subjective experience of the emotional state or feeling, which affects the dynamics of thought in progress, and, consequently, to the different cognitive activities and various behaviors of the immediate future. In other words, the feeling of emotion is the mental and private experience of emotion, while emotion is a set of manifestations, some of which are perfectly observable.

Both the emotion and the feeling are susceptible to investigation, although the emotion is much more affordable than the feeling, since the stimulus can be easily identifiable, being able to appreciate also that many of the manifestations or responses are external, which is much more viable the measure of them.

In a later work (Damasio, 1999), the author points out more specifically the process followed since a stimulus triggers an emotional process until an individual becomes aware of the feeling produced by that emotion. Thus, the first step has to do with a state of emotion, which can be unchained and executed in an unconscious way; the second step has to do with a state of feeling, which can be represented not consciously; The third step refers to a state of feeling made conscious, which occurs when an organism knows that it is experiencing an emotion and a feeling. East nuance, debatable or not, is important in the theory of Damasio, who lately (Damasio, 2000) points out that, with the neural substrate of emotion, it is enough for an emotional process to occur and the feeling associated with it, understanding in this case that the feeling refers to a mental image. The process would be as follows:

induction of an emotion;

occurrence of changes in the body and in the brain;

neural patterns that represent the changes in the organism;

(sensation or conversion of the neural pattern in the form of images (feeling);

feeling of feeling, or knowledge of feeling, which is part of the process of consciousness.

From the exposition that Damasio is making of the relationship between emotion, brain and consciousness, it seems that events have to take place in a concrete way. Let's see. First, when an external or internal stimulus is produced, the sensory cortex maps the object or situation-or the hippocampus if it is the memory of an object or situation-producing at the same time the activation of the neuroanatomical structures that are related to emotion-in Damasio's opinion, fundamentally, the troncephalus, the hypothalamus and the amygdala. Secondly, the activation of these structures produces three effects: it causes important autonomic reactions in the body; triggers the sending of neural messages to other areas of the brain; together with the somatosensory cortex, it produces the mapping or representation of the somatic reactions that these structures have produced (together with the somatosensory areas, they constitute what Damasio calls the proto-self). And, finally, with the participation of the anterior cingulate cortex, the thalamus, and, perhaps, also the superior colliculi, the mapping of the object occurs along with the always changing map of the organism. This particular phenomenon constitutes what Damasio calls the center of consciousness. the mapping of the object occurs along with the always changing map of the organism. This particular phenomenon constitutes what Damasio calls the center of consciousness. the mapping of the object occurs along with the always changing map of the organism. This particular phenomenon constitutes what Damasio calls the center of consciousness.

Thus, the basic structures (brainstem, hypothalamus and amygdala) seem to be necessary and sufficient for the occurrence of emotion, but they are not sufficient for the consciousness of emotion.

To conclude with this author, in our view, the explanation of the emotions offered by Damasio is unmistakably non-cognitivist, since it refers to the emotional process in terms of a set of brain, somatic and behavioral responses that occur after the perception or recall of an object (Palmer, 2003). For that reason, as indicated by Mosca (2000), after approximately thirty years of research in cognitive psychology, Damasio's theory is quite close to James's classic arguments. The difference between the two approaches lies in the degree of knowledge that both authors (James and Damasio) have about the relationship between emotional processes and the brain, which is much greater than that of the former. A) Yes, An important problem in Damasio's argument has to do with the absence of a clear explanation of the way in which a subject, in a state of autonomic activation, with visceral contractions, increases in his heart rate, etc., is able to find an explanation to their state or situation, without the information derived from the nature of the stimulus. That is, without knowing if the information that is being processed of that stimulus is relevant to the well-being of the subject. This gap in Damasio's argumentation is more evident when the author refers to secondary or social emotions; In this sense, as highlighted by Mosca (2000), it is not understood how it is possible to feel pride, shame or guilt without having in mind the valorative representation, not only of the object, but also, and this is the important thing, of the situations complex that give rise to such emotions.

Conclusions

From the three main axes around which most of the current neurobiological research that we have just seen accumulates, namely: that of the process of emotional stimulation, that of the preparation of the emotional response. , and that of subjective experience or emotional feeling, we consider that the neurobiological dimension is essential when it comes to knowing and understanding emotional processes (Palmero, 2003). In fact, currently, the orientation focused on cognitive neuroscience provides important solutions to understand the processes of motivation and emotion, since it combines arguments and hypotheses from the neurobiological and cognitivist approaches.

However, there has been some reluctance to this type of approach, showing this disagreement through the defense of an affective neuroscience, which would aim to study the neurobiology of Emotion. Through the use of modern neuroimaging techniques, one of the important goals in this type of approach has to do with the dissection of emotion in its most elementary mental operations, locating the neurobiological substrate implied in each one of them. . Although, the important question would be to clarify if with such formulations something is contributed to the knowledge of the general functioning of the human being. In fact, the designation of emotion as something located outside cognitive neuroscience may mean the consideration of emotion as opposed to cognition; that is to say, it can give the impression that it returns to an antagonism between emotion and cognition. It could mean a return to a Cartesian dualism that we thought we had overcome; in fact, the tendency that has dominated in psychology, as a consequence of the Platonist influence, has been the separate consideration of emotion. However, the opposite strategy, which seems to be imposed progressively in our days, is that of synthesis, by virtue of which the consideration of the variables involved -motivation, emotion and cognition- is tried in a joint and combined: interactive. as a consequence of Platonist influence, it has been the separate consideration of emotion. However, the opposite strategy, which seems to be imposed progressively in our days, is that of synthesis, by virtue of which the consideration of the variables involved -motivation, emotion and cognition- is tried in a joint and combined: interactive. as a consequence of Platonist influence, it has been the separate consideration of emotion. However, the opposite strategy, which seems to be imposed progressively in our days, is that of synthesis, by virtue of which the consideration of the variables involved -motivation, emotion and cognition- is tried in a joint and combined: interactive.

In this regard, some authors more recently (Ramos, Piqueras, Martínez and Oblitas, 2009) also suggest talking about physiological activation and physical sensations, on the one hand, and cognitions, on the other. That is, understanding emotion as the result of an interpretation, the union or conjunction of two types of information, that of a physical state and a cognition (idea or thought) in a specific situation. The same authors point out, in line with Duncan and

Barret (2007), that emotion is a type of cognition, a knowledge that allows us to elaborate the action, actions that will be directed to maintain our well-being, to contribute therefore to our happiness.

In short, regarding the contribution of neurobiological arguments, the involvement of the amygdala and the cerebral hemispheres seems clear. Each of the structures involved plays a definite role in the emotional processes, and, although the most prudent position could make us think of a joint functioning of the central nervous system, understood as an organized whole, it seems pertinent to suggest some specific comments for each one of the two structures reviewed.

Thus, on the one hand, as regards the participation of the amygdala in emotion, as indicated by various authors (LeDoux, 1993, Hirschfield and Gelman, 1994, Damasio, 1998), its role in the processing of emotional information. This fact has a special significance, because, as Gainotti (2000) points out, it could be thought that the amygdala has a selective contribution related to appraisal, which clarifies a little more the precise role of the amygdala in being human. The amygdala could be important in the emotion, exerting an integrating role of the cognitive processing and of the emotional significance, being able to prepare the appropriate immediate responses to the situation. That is to say,

And, on the other hand, as regards the specific participation of the cerebral hemispheres in emotions, it seems clear that each of them fulfills a specific function in the interpretation and expression of them. The knowledge that is currently available allows us to defend the existence of a certain hemispheric lateralization to understand emotional control. Emotional lateralization, referred to the right hemisphere, could be more evident in the field of emotional expression, acquiring connotations of social communication. However, it seems necessary to consider this participation more closely, delimiting the strict relevance of the different intra-hemispheric zones, as well as the role played by certain sub-cortical structures, both diencephalic and tronencephalic.

Behavioral theories in emotion

Introduction

In this section we will describe, on the one hand, the contributions made on the emotional process from the field of learning and, on the other, the theoretical contributions, influenced by the evolutionist approach, whose interest is focused on the expressive-motor-behavioral dimension of emotion .

Behavioral orientation is interested in the laws of learning emotional behavior, understanding by emotional behavior a set of observable or open and physiological responses that can be conditioned like any other behavior of the organism. It excludes the cognitive and subjective components of emotion, which will be addressed from another type of theoretical approach (eg, cognitivism).

In the field of learning, the most researched affective aspects are fear, anxiety and phobias (Fernández-Abascal, Palmero, Chóliz, Martínez Sánchez, 1995). Their study has been carried out using animals (eg, rats, dogs) as participants -experimental subjects-.

From observational learning, emotion can be acquired through the observation of others that function as role models; that is, the direct experience of the subject is not necessary to acquire a particular phobia or fear. This particular type of learning and vicarious learning is also included in the cognitive theories of emotion.

We emphasize that, in the same sense as the study of motivation, in the 21st century the scientific study of emotion is carried out from three perspectives: biological, behavioral and cognitive (Palmero, Carpi, Gómez Íñiguez, Guerrero and Muñoz, 2005). Palmero, Gómez Íñiguez, Carpi, Guerrero and Díez, 2005).

Contributions based on learning

Next we will describe the main contributions made from the field of learning: classical conditioning, operant conditioning and instrumental conditioning.

Throughout the exposition of this chapter we will dispense with the explanation of the characteristic terms of learning theories because they have been described in the chapter on motivation, which the reader will be able to consult to solve any conceptual doubt.

Contributions from classical conditioning 

In the second decade of the twentieth century, Watson is considered one of the precursor authors in formulating a behavioral theory of emotion. Here is the definition of emotion for the author (Watson, 1919: 195):

An emotion is a pattern of hereditary reaction that involves profound changes in the whole body mechanism, especially in the visceral and glandular systems. By reaction pattern we mean that the separate details of the response appear with some consistency, with some regularity, and approximately in the same sequential order each time the excitatory stimulus is presented.

It also defines emotion as a bodily response with de-organizer connotations (Watson, 1930):

Emotion is an inherited pattern of response that involves profound changes of bodily mechanisms as a whole, but particularly of glandular and visceral systems.

Therefore, emotion is a bodily reaction to a concrete stimulus, in which conscious experience is not relevant. Identify visceral responses with emotions.

After the work done with children (Watson and Morgan, 191), the existence of three innate emotions is proposed, highlighting the associated behavioral manifestations: fear - which is the consequence of the sudden withdrawal of support, an intense noise or the sudden appearance of a stimulus in the moments of transition from sleep-wake or vice versa-, love -which is the consequence of the manipulation of the stomach and the erogenous zones of the body-, and anger / anger -which is the consequence of action to prevent free movement.

Describe the pattern of hereditary response of each emotion:

Fear: holding your breath, closing your eyes, pursing your lips and clenching your fists. It occurs as an innate response to the presence of loud, sudden noises and the sudden lack of support.

Anger: shouting, agitation, muscle contraction, striking with the upper and lower extremities. It occurs before the limitation of movement.

Love: smiling, emitting lullabies and hugs. It is the response to caresses.

One of the most important contributions is the experiment carried out together with Rayner (Watson and Rayner, 1920), which shows that emotions (fear, in this case) can be learned, as well as another type of response, through the procedure of classical conditioning (Watson, 1926: 51):

At first we had some resistance to these experiments, but such was the need for this type of studies, that we finally decided to experiment with the possibility of fabricating fear in children and then study the practical methods of eliminating them.

The aim of Watson and Rayner's experiment was to demonstrate that the emotion of fear could be learned from stimuli that, in principle, did not have the property of eliciting it. For this, the experimental subject was an eleven-month-old baby, known as little Albert. In addition, the generalization of the fear response to other similar stimuli and their elimination through counterconditioning was shown.

Following the procedure of classical conditioning, they used the intense sound as an unconditioned stimulus (ei), which naturally elicited the unconditioned response of weeping and withdrawal from the hand (ri) - emotional response of fear. The neutral stimulus (en), paired with the ei, was a white rat. After successive pairing trials, the isolated presentation of the ec, the white rat, elicited the conditioned fear response (rc), operationalized by crying and withdrawing from the baby's hand.

In addition, there was the phenomenon of generalization of the fear response to other stimuli similar to the ec, for example, the stuffed animals. That is, in the presence of objects similar to the white rat (white hair), the baby cried.

Once the conditioned response of fear was acquired, it should also be proven that this could be eliminated through the process of extinction (repeated presentation of the ec) and counterconditioning, a procedure in which other different stimuli were presented together with the ec . Such stimuli (eg, candy, chocolate) characterized by the elicitation of a different response to the fear response (joy).

This part of the investigation could not be concluded due to the transfer of the little Albert.

The relevant contribution was the formulation of the classic conditioning of the emotional behavior applied to the human being. However, as a counterpart, the fulfillment of the ethical character in said investigation was questioned.

Contributions from operant conditioning

On the other hand, from operant conditioning, Skinner considers emotion as a behavior that takes place under the influence of the environment. We find two facts: the emotive behavior and the manipulable circumstances of which the behavior is a function, which encompass the adequate object of the study of emotion. Therefore, emotion is not the cause of behavior. It occurs after the consequences of the response.

The consequences refer to the contingent reinforcers to the operating response.

Emotion can be considered as predispositions to behave in a concrete way (Skinner, 1974: 165-174):

When the man in the street says that someone is afraid, angry or in love, he speaks in general of predispositions to act in a love way, speaks in general of predispositions to act in certain ways. The irate subject shows an increased probability of hitting, insulting or inflicting another kind of insults, and a diminished probability of helping, favoring, comforting or making love.

That is, a person in love shows an increased tendency to help, favor, accompany, caress, and a diminished tendency to hurt, in any way whatsoever. Someone who is afraid tends to reduce or avoid contact with specific stimuli - fleeing, hiding, or covering their eyes and ears; At the same time, it is less likely to advance into unknown terrain. These are useful facts, which allow a scientific analysis.

Therefore, emotion labels serve to classify behavior with respect to various circumstances that affect its likelihood. It is best to maintain the adjective form (Skinner, 1974: 165-174):

In the same way that the hungry organism can be described without too much difficulty while the definition of hunger presents many problems, in describing the behavior as fearful, affectionate, timid, etc., we are not forced to define things called emotions.

The common expressions of enamored, fearful and angry suggest a definition of emotion as a conceptual state in which a given response is given according to the circumstances of the individual's history.

Mowrer (194) proposes the model of the two factors or stages or processes to explain how phobias are acquired: In short, learning by avoidance is implicit in both processes (Levis and Brewer, 2001, Maia, 2010).

In the first stage, through classical conditioning, a neutral stimulus (en) is associated with an unconditioned stimulus (ei), producing the emotional response conditioned by fear (rc). Once the presence of the ec is over, the conditioned response of fear will diminish, so it can be considered a source of negative reinforcement. In this case, the escape response of conditioned fear occurs, since the subject has been in contact with the aversive ec.

In the second stage, the ec acts as a discriminant stimulus (ed) of the avoidance response, which would end the rc of fear, at the same time reinforcing the escape or avoidance behavior. That is, the response is reinforced by the reduction of fear rather than the absence of an aversive stimulus.

One of the main applications of this theory is its application to the study of anxiety. Borkovec (1976, 1979) and Hammond (1970) additionally propose the factor of cognitive avoidance and autonomic perception to explain anxiety. The first factor modulates the maintenance of anxiety and the second maintenance and reduction of anxiety.

From the contribution of Mowrer, other theories that provide alternative explanations for avoidance behavior emerged (see Quirós and Cabestrero, 2008). For example, the unifactorial theory (Schoenfeld and Herrnstein, 1950s and 1960s); application procedure of positive reinforcement of avoidance through conditioned inhibition of fear or conditioned safety signals (Rescorla, 1968; Dinsmoor, 2001); procedure to reinforce the avoidance by reducing the frequency of discharge (Sidman, 1962; Dinsmoor, 2001); the theory of avoidance behavior of species-specific defense reactions (Bolles, 1970, Domjan, 2003); and the hypothesis of predatory imminence (Fanselow and Lester, 1988, Fanselow, 1989).

Here we highlight some considerations made about the behavioral model:

In the laboratory context, the necessary conditions are manipulated to condition an emotional response; However, in the different situational contexts of daily life it is difficult and, even so, fears are acquired to specific stimuli (phobias).

High intensity stimuli do not always produce emotional conditioning. For example, the sound of firecrackers at parties (eg, Falas, Magdalena).

Not all stimuli have the same potential to be conditioned.

It is not always possible to achieve the extinction of a conditioned response.

Learned helplessness or learned helplessness

Learned helplessness refers to a state of demotivation. Consequence of a series of pioneering studies on the interaction between both types of conditioning, classical conditioning and operant conditioning (Maier, 1970, Overmier, 1968, Overmier and Seligman, 1967, Seligman and Maier, 1967, Weiss, Krieckhaus and Conte, 1968).

Seligman (1975, 1976) was interested in investigating what particular circumstances of learning lead to a situation of helplessness (in Puente, 2003). In the laboratory context, he conducted an experiment on fear and learning that consisted of provoking painful electric shocks to caged dogs, which could not escape from the cages. In another experiment, the dogs were introduced into a cage with two compartments, separated by a small barrier. In one of the chambers the dogs suffered electric shocks and in the other they did not. When the dogs located in the camera with possibility of discharges received such electric shocks, they ran until, by trial and error, they jumped the barrier and managed to escape from such discharges. Once the escape response has been learned, on the next occasion.

In the second part of the experiment, inexperienced dogs with experience of unavoidable discharges were used. It was found that their behavior was different. The group of dogs without experience, before the supply of electrical discharges, ran, they jumped, until they managed to jump the barrier and to be placed in the safe camera. On the contrary, in dogs with experience of unavoidable discharges, an absence of any action was observed to avoid such discharges. The behavior was limited to isolating oneself in a corner of the chamber, and emitting howls of pain. After several tests it took a long time to learn to jump the barrier and move to the safe camera; they made more mistakes and showed negative emotional responses.

Petri and Govern (2006) describe the symptoms of learned helplessness: passivity (motivational deficiency), learning delay, somatic effects and decrease of helplessness over time.

Passivity (motivational deficiency): animals that have experienced a lack of control in previous situations show a kind of learned laziness or passivity in situations in which they do have control.

Delay of learning: learning that the consequences of a situation can not be changed through behavior, results in a late recognition of possible control in similar situations.

Somatic effects: animals with experience of learned helplessness showed less aggressive responses in competitive or aversive situations than animals without experience of uncontrollability.

Decreased helplessness over time:

This research demonstrates a situation of defenselessness in which the experimental subject (the dogs) learns that their responses do not control the environment. Learn that you have lost control. It is a situation in which they believe that they can not do anything to change the situation, and the motivation to start an action that allows them to achieve a particular goal is lacking.

In short, learned helplessness is characterized by a motivational and cognitive deficit, with emotional connotations of fear, sadness, depression, which make it difficult to solve the problem situation successfully. Its application in situations of abuse allows to describe, explain and understand the behaviors of resignation and silence on the part of the victims who suffer it.

Seligman's contribution shows that the current motivation depends on the experience in the control of the environment. The experience of failure produces demotivation of future actions that, in extreme situations, would lead to the absence of reaction.

While it is true that Seligman's contribution was investigated in the laboratory and animal context, this phenomenon is similar to the symptoms of reactive depression in humans. This extrapolation has been criticized, since its model does not predict the loss of self-esteem characteristic of depression. As a consequence, Seligman and his collaborators reformulated their theory in cognitive terms (Abramson, Seligman and Teasdale, 1978), arguing that the attribution of causes in the lack of control is a modulating factor of learned helplessness.

Contribution from observational learning

Bandura (197) argues that emotion can be learned through the observation or modeling of facial, gestural and postural signs -indicators of emotional activation- of other subjects, without the need to resort to trial and error. Likewise, we will tend to react emotionally in a similar way to the observed emotional behaviors.

Bandura, Ross and Ross (1961) conducted an experiment in which preschool children observed how some models interacted aggressively with a doll, while other models sat and acted quietly next to the doll. The results showed that, children who observed the behavior of the first type of models, when they were allowed to interact

with the doll, they did it aggressively; that is, they imitated the observed aggressive behavior. On the other hand, the children who observed the behavior of the second type of models, remained calm next to the doll.

The conclusion of the research is that emotion can be learned by observing others (models). The relevance of this contribution has implications for the different behaviors that adults perform and that are observed by children. For example: parents act as role models for their children; older brothers are role models for their younger brothers; the characters in the drawings and movies broadcast on television can also function as potential models to follow.

On the other hand, Bandura (1969) considers that, in many occasions, phobias are acquired not by exposure or direct experience, but by observing a model that experiences fear before a particular object or circumstance (in Petri and Govern, 2006) . An important aspect is that it enables the learning of a behavior without the need to practice a response and without reinforcement.

We must bear in mind that it is possible to acquire and eliminate fear by observing a model.

Other contributions

The Spence and Taylor approach

From his contributions in the field of motivation, Spence (1956, 1960) proposes two categories: approximation and avoidance, with appetitive connotations the first, and aversion the second. Consider that the impulse responsible for activating the behavior occurs as a result of an internal emotional response.

Taylor (1951, 1953) developed an inventory to measure emotional responsiveness, in particular, about anxiety: the Manifest Anxiety Scale. The author considers that a high level of anxiety is related to a greater number of classically conditioned responses. In particular, anxiety can have positive or negative activating effects, depending on the probability of the appropriate response. If this probability is high, we can affirm that the effects of anxiety facilitate this response; On the contrary, if the probability is low, the effects of anxiety make it difficult to execute the appropriate response.

Young's approach

The author proposes the existence of affective processes and a hedonic continuum (Young, 1961). Affective processes are characterized by sign, intensity and duration, highlighting their motivational function.

In particular, Young does not talk about emotions and, instead, uses the terms pleasant and not pleasant. It proposes that affective processes move along a hedonic continuum and that these accompany any behavior.

The Bindra approach

Bindra (1968, 1969) does not differentiate between the terms motivation and emotion. It proposes a central motivational system that encompasses both processes. It refers to these as typical biologically useful actions for the species. These actions are a consequence of the interaction between environmental stimuli, incentives and physiological changes. The result is the central motivational state that will trigger the action.

Emotion has connotations of physiological condition and not of emotional predisposition. We emphasize that emotional behavior can have organizational or disorganizing effects, depending on the influence of the environment during the ontogenetic development of the subject.

Contributions based on expressive-motor-behavioral dimension of emotion

The following statements show the influence of neo-Darwinism. They assume the premise of the phylogenetic continuity between the species to defend the similarity of the expressive dimension of the basic emotions between the human being and other animal species.

In general terms, it is assumed that the facial expression of emotions has evolved through natural selection, characterized by its adaptive function, survival of the species and the individual that, subsequently, continues to maintain it but in terms of facilitation of communication between individuals of the same species.

In addition, a specific neuroanatomical substrate (innate character) is presupposed for each basic emotion, with a particular physiological activation pattern, a specific facial expression pattern and a subjective experience or self-feeling.

The facial expression of emotions is applied to the so-called basic emotions. Some authors, such as Tomkins, Izard and Ekman, maintain that these are a product of the phylogenetic and ontogenetic evolution of the species.

Although we can find different classifications about basic emotion types, there seems to be a consensus in considering emotions of joy, anger, sadness, fear and disgust as basic emotions (Ekman, 1993). Each basic emotion corresponds to a series of facial muscle movements that are the same for individuals of the same species, regardless of culture or race. They present, therefore, a universal character.

In general, the research carried out with non-human primates, babies, children born blind and deaf-blind and cross-cultural studies, corroborates the universal character of the facial expression of emotions. However, the findings in the studies with blind children are not systematic, and their subsequent research is necessary (Fraiberg, 1974).

An individual is able to express and recognize the same facial expression as belonging to a particular basic emotion.

Next we will expose the theoretical expositions of the most relevant authors.

The Plutchik approach

Plutchik (1983) maintains the multidimensional character of emotion (intensity, similarity and polarity). For the author, emotion implies a prototypical adaptation and a certain cognition, being the cognitive processing prior to the emotional experience. Establishes a taxonomy of basic emotions: fear, sadness, anger, acceptance, disgust, expectation, surprise and joy. These can be classified in the similarity and polarity dimensions. The intensity dimension is applied to the emotional states we experience, which have a greater complexity than the basic emotions. The combination of these emotions gives rise to mixed emotions.

Its ultraconservative stance considers emotions as ancestral vestiges of adaptive past behaviors.

Plutchik (1991) establishes the existence of three components in emotion: cognitive / subjective, physiological and behavioral.

The Tomkins approach

For the author, the basic emotions are inborn subcortical programs, genetically programmed in our brain, that are set in motion in the face of changes in the environment. Environmental stimulation produces the activation of a specific subcortical program that promotes a series of changes that give rise to concrete emotional states. However, the activation of the neural program is not enough to produce the emotional reaction, but rather depends on the feedback of the voice and the facial expression associated with that emotion. Subsequently, Tomkins specifies that the facial skin muscle receptors - proprioceptive feedback - are responsible for the emotional experience. The sequence would be the following:

The facial feedback hypothesis (see figure 1) has its origin in the emotion concept of William James.

In addition, it emphasizes the motivating role played by emotions, as it provides the intensity of the behavior necessary to activate the behavior.

Unlike Plutchik, this author, together with Izard, maintains that emotion can occur prior to some form of cognitive processing.

It establishes two types of emotions, innate and social, characterizing the latter by the absence of expressive expression, consequence of the imposition of the rules of society, which veto their externalization.

Tomkins facial feedback hypothesis

At present, the investigation is not conclusive, although it seems that the intentional exaggeration of facial expression increases the intensity of the emotional experience associated with that emotion.

Izard's approach

In the same vein as Tomkins, he emphasizes the role of facial expression, the motivational character of innate emotions, and that each emotion is associated with an innate program that captures his emotional experience and his particular emotional facial expression pattern.

From his differential theory of emotions (Izard 1979, 1991) he proposes the existence of ten basic emotions (excitement / interest, joy, surprise, anguish / pain, anger / anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shame and guilt). Every emotion is characterized by having its own neural substrate, its expressive pattern and its emotional experience or feeling. Each element is necessary to be able to talk about emotion. It emphasizes the adaptive role of emotions, because they possess their own motivational characteristics that guarantee the survival of the individual and of the species itself.

On the other hand, emotions can interact with each other giving rise to multiple emotional states, and also with other psychological processes (perception, cognition, etc.), with emotion being the motivating factor of the resulting behavior. It also points out the social function of communication that plays the facial expression of emotion.

Finally, he considers that neurochemical activity produces facial and body changes that, when they reach the brain, become conscious, giving rise to basic emotions.

The Ekman approach

The author also maintains the universal character of the facial expression of basic emotions. His research focuses on the social function of emotions: communication (Ekman, 1999; 1972; Ekman and Oster, 1982).

The elaboration of a system for coding the facial expression of emotion, Facial Action Coding System (fAcs; fAcs 2.0, Ekman, Friesen and Hager, 2002).

The fAcs is a procedure that allows to identify the emotions from the action units, the recognition of them is modulated by the information provided by the context and the observer himself (attributions, expectations, experience, individual differences, etc.). ).

A unit of action (uA) is formed by a series of facial muscle movements whose global set is called the unit of action. Two emotions may have two identical ones in common. Some authors consider this coincidence as an explanatory factor of the confusion that can occur between two different emotions: for example, surprise and fear.

On the other hand, Chóliz and Fernández-Abascal (2001) consider that the study of the expression or manifestation of emotions requires the consideration of the three response dimensions (cognitive / subjective, behavioral / expressive and physiological / adaptive) to address the complexity of the emotional phenomenon and, this in consonance with the definition of emotion that they sustain: "an affective experience to a certain extent pleasant or unpleasant, which supposes a characteristic phenomenological quality and that includes three response systems: cognitive-subjective; behavioral-expressive and physiological adaptive ».

This system, the fAcs, is consistent with the studies of Darwin (1872/1984), which assumes the existence of a series of basic, innate and universal emotions, present in all human beings, and with a marked phylogenetic continuity through the species (in Gómez Iñiguez, 2003).

On the other hand, there is also another measurement procedure: the Codification System of Maximum Discrimination of Facial Movement, the MAx (Izard, 1979). Both systems are based on facial muscle activity and differ in the procedure by which they were developed; While the MAx has a theoretical origin based on the muscles supposedly involved in the expression of emotions, the fAcs is based on an anatomical basis and an experimental development. In the latter there is no univocal relationship between muscular action and a certain expression; In addition, it requires other relevant parameters to identify an emotion: the intensity of each facial action (scale of 5 points), its duration and the units of action (uA) involved.

However, some theoretical aspects are not scientifically corroborated (for example, the existence of six basic emotions and the facial feedback hypothesis), although they are subject to ongoing scientific discussion at present (Chóliz and Fernández-Abascal, 2001). On the other hand, fAcs is one of the most used instruments in the coding of facial expression that allows research on the expression of emotions in order to clarify the analysis and understanding in the study of the field of emotion.

Other approaches consider that, despite the universal nature of the basic emotions, the context must be taken into account to interpret the emotional facial expression. In particular, the minimum universality model establishes that sometimes a subject can use facial expression for instrumental purposes, with or without intentional character. As a consequence, the basic emotion becomes a controlled and cold process, without affective content. Therefore, this model emphasizes the factor of the situational context, the gender of the receiver and the affective state itself, although additional factors can be taken into account (Russell, Bachorowski and Fernández-Dols, 2003).

At present (Rosselló and Revert, 2008), the neurophysiological findings provide evidence about the existence of certain brain circuits associated with specific emotions. These circuits are also associated with specific feelings and the activation of particular facial muscles (LeDoux, 1996, Panksepp, 1994). On the other hand, the patterns of autonomic activation are not concrete for each basic emotion, although we can find certain indices that support its specificity. For example, the secretion of epinephrine in fear and norepinephrine in anger; peripheral vasoconstriction in fear and peripheral vasodilatation in anger, etc.

This type of approach receives a series of criticisms (Ortony and Turner, 1990) that we will present below:

The innate character of the basic emotions is questioned due to the lack of agreement among the different authors to provide a classification of them, although it is true that there seems to be consensus on five emotions (joy, anger, fear, sadness). , disgust); even what are the main characteristics of them. For example: valence or tone, intensity, duration, etc.

From a neurophysiological point of view, there is no empirical evidence to affirm the existence of basic (innate) emotions. The existence of certain cerebral circuits for specific emotions is verified, although it seems that they correspond rather with response systems. In this regard, the system of approach (joy) and the system of inhibition or avoidance of response (fear). That is, brain circuits do not always correspond to a discrete emotion.

The results of cross-cultural investigations reveal that the universal character of emotions is due to the fact that the basic character is attributed to the components of emotional expression. In addition, the same emotion is not always expressed with the same number of components.

Conclusions

In general terms, the contributions made from behavioral theories to the field of emotion have not been, in principle, too relevant, in the sense that emotion has been treated as another behavior; that is, as a respondent - classic conditioning - or operating - operative conditioning - more, without addressing the complexity of its response. Remember that the emotional response can be approached from three dimensions: cognitive-subjective (feeling), physiological and motor-behavioral-expressive. For research and didactic purposes, we explain the emotional response by separating these response components, although at no time should we forget that emotion encompasses the three components.

From the approach of behavioral approaches, the theories of learning have focused on the dimensions of physiological and motor-behavioral-expressive response, considering them to be objective, directly observable responses. Interest has focused on the observable changes in both behavior and the environment. The dimension of cognitive-subjective response (feeling) has not been studied due to methodological issues. It could not be observed directly. The cognitivist approaches include this last dimension, investigated with the help of technological innovation (magnetic resonance techniques, neuroimaging techniques, etc.), the use of computer programs, etc., whose results allow inferences to be made on the subjective plane of the emotion.

We highlight the research carried out in the study of the facial expression of emotions, although the premises from which they have not yet been corroborated, the findings made possible their scientific study in various cultures and societies (universal nature of the basic emotions), supported by research in the field of neuroscience.

In short, the scientific study of emotion requires the consideration of the three dimensions of response to have a global understanding of it. However, the theoretical focus of the research will mark or emphasize the importance of one of these components, to the detriment of the study of the others.

Cognitive theories in emotion

Introduction

The interest in defining what an emotion is has been a constant, at the same time that it presents difficulties in unifying existing ones. It must be borne in mind that emotions are complex processes that have suffered the peculiar biases imposed by the dominant tendencies in each era according to the current approaches or orientations of each school or research group. If we also take into account that emotion can be considered as a process in which different components intervene, we will observe that, to the extent that each author focuses on one of them in his research, he proposes a definition of emotion that Hardly matches that of another author interested in another of the components. For these reasons, as Mandler has repeatedly pointed out (1975, 1984), Trying to establish a consensual definition of emotion is practically impossible at present. While some emphasize the behavioral characteristics, others focus on the physiological aspects or on their adaptive or pathological character, they could even be classified as very precise and / or ambiguous (Palmero, Guerrero, Gómez, Carpi, 2006). It is precisely the absence of a widely accepted definition that prevents the establishment of an acceptable theory of emotion (Scherer, 2000, 2001).

Broadly speaking, we can describe an emotion as a complex process that is composed of various components. These are neurophysiological, behavioral and cognitive. It is determined multidimensionally and includes various phenomena or affective processes although these can not be considered, in their totality, emotional processes (Bisquerra, 2009, Palmero, Mestre, 2004). In order for emotion to take place, it is necessary to perceive, consciously or unconsciously, a stimulus or an external or internal event to the person, which occurs at present, that we have a memory of something that happened to us or that we hope will happen. what happens in the future.

Given the diversity of parameters that integrate emotion and the broad development of psychology as a science, various theories about emotion have been developed. In this chapter we will focus on the cognitive models that explain the development of the emotional process and the interactions between both processes, leaving the models that explain the biophysiological and behavioral components in other chapters of this manual.

The models that analyze and explain the emotional processes from the cognitivist dimension, in general lines, we can appreciate that they emphasize the importance of the cognitive valuation for the experience of the emotion. The arguments used from this perspective are intimately related to the processing active of the information, emphasizing the relevance of the superior functioning of the individual. However, as we can see, several approaches are also located in this orientation related to the handling of information related to the stimulus that can potentially trigger an emotion, as well as all the information coming from a person's experience, among which It deserves special relevance that has to do with beliefs, judgments, values, expectations, coping, labeling, etc., which will determine the emotional quality. The models that have served as the basis for what will later be, and continue to be, one of the most productive aspects of experimental psychology, and of the psychology of emotion in particular, are diverse.

Teoría psicoanalítica

Freud's writings represent the basic source of psychoanalytic works focused on emotions. Some authors (Lyons, 1993) argue that Freud never directly addressed the issue of emotions per se. He treated some affective factors, such as anxiety, and always with connotations of treatment or psychotherapy. In his work he speaks of affection, to refer to what we can currently indicate as emotions, making that, at most, the existence of a subjective dimension or feeling of emotion can be suggested. We believe that, to some extent, Freud clearly referred to certain emotional characteristics of interest, proposing that affect comprises, on the one hand, certain motor innervations or discharges, and, on the other hand, certain feelings. The latter are of two types: perceptions of motor actions that have occurred (to a certain extent, recalls James's theory), and direct feelings of pleasure and displeasure, which give emotion a characteristic note. For Freud, emotions could be considered as the reaction to traumatic events, which is not necessary have happened to the subject in question, but simply are part of their inherited baggage, unconscious and repressed. Freud's contribution to the field of emotion is based on the role played by the unconscious, proposing that emotion, like many mental events, can be located at that psychic level, which does not prevent it from continuing to exert certain effects. about the person, influencing the different behavioral manifestations that this takes place. This type of proposal leads Freud (1915/1973) to suggest that what psychologists have to investigate in order to know emotion is found in the unconscious. Freud enunciated two theories about personality. In the first of them he speaks of conscious, preconscious and unconscious, to later propose his most well-known formulation: the id, the ego and the super-ego. In both models, Freud considers that emotions are unconscious, capable of playing an important role in the psychic equilibrium. The consideration of these three factors allows Freud to propose three different visions of emotion, each of them based on one of the three components outlined: Freud enunciated two theories about personality. In the first of them he speaks of conscious, preconscious and unconscious, to later propose his most well-known formulation: the id, the ego and the super-ego. In both models, Freud considers that emotions are unconscious, capable of playing an important role in the psychic equilibrium. The consideration of these three factors allows Freud to propose three different visions of emotion, each of them based on one of the three components outlined: Freud enunciated two theories about personality. In the first of them he speaks of conscious, preconscious and unconscious, to later propose his most well-known formulation: the id, the ego and the super-ego. In both models, Freud considers that emotions are unconscious, capable of playing an important role in the psychic equilibrium. The consideration of these three factors allows Freud to propose three different visions of emotion, each of them based on one of the three components outlined:

Some current orientations emphasize that psychoanalysis can be understood as a biological science (Slavin and Kriegman, 1992, Plotkin, 1994). In this frame of reference, these authors defend that the human being is a biological creature, and each one of the aspects related to the way of working and adapting belongs to the biological field. Emotions represent a vital mechanism to understand this adaptation.

From the psychoanalytic formulations, one of the contributions that we consider essential in the field of emotion comes from Carl Gustav Jung. In his theory of personality, Jung (1953, 195) speaks of "attitudes", according to which a subject can be considered as introverted (subjective attitude) or extraverted (objective attitude), and of "functions", which They refer to the ways that subjects use to obtain and process information, and allow to classify said subjects according to their peculiar way of functioning: by sensation, by intuition, by thought and by feeling Jung (1938) He argues that subjects use two functions to make judgments about the world around them: thinking and feeling, specifically, one can think about events (enumerating, categorizing, organizing, analyzing and synthesizing its repercussions on the subject), or can be felt towards said events (judging as good or bad, pleasurable or unpleasant, acceptable or unacceptable, the relationships that can be established with them). Both thought and feeling represent valid ways to evaluate and evaluate the data obtained through the other two functions (sensation and intuition); For that reason, thought and feeling are two different methods of processing information. Through thought, the subject forms concepts, manipulates ideas, evaluates the veracity of these and solves problems. Through feeling, the subject establishes whether something is good or bad for its functioning. Jung's perspective states that: a) feelings allow the valuation of an event; b) Emotions are constructed from feelings. In short, according to Jung's argument, feelings allow the execution of constant evaluations about stimuli. Therefore, the source of the emotion is the psychic energy, which is produced from the feeling, and not the physiological processes, which represent an intermediate step between feeling and emotion. The physiological processes can be understood as direct precursors of emotion, but not as their cause. which represent an intermediate step between feeling and emotion. The physiological processes can be understood as direct precursors of emotion, but not as their cause. which represent an intermediate step between feeling and emotion. The physiological processes can be understood as direct precursors of emotion, but not as their cause.

Evaluation-assessment theories

The evaluation and evaluation of the stimulus are an essential part of the emotional process and contribute to interpreting the degree of benefit or damage that a stimulus can cause by unleashing the subjective experience of the emotion activating the physiological response and the possible behavioral expression of the emotion ( Palmero and Mestre, 2004;). Although we can find that both terms are used indiscriminately, we consider it pertinent to highlight some nuances among them. Thus, the evaluation refers to the recognition, the location in a certain dimensional location, the measurement, of a stimulus or situation that affects an individual. Valuation, on the other hand, refers to what that individual believes or believes will be their interaction with that stimulus or event; this is,

Does it represent a benefit or a loss? 
Does it endanger its stability? 
Is it a change to a better situation?

Or, on the contrary, does it mean a change to a worse situation? The assessment necessarily includes the well-being, equilibrium, stability of an individual. Without these elements there is no need to talk about any emotion, since an emotion occurs to the extent that it has been previously concluded that the stimulus that is evaluated and valued has sufficient capacity to produce that destabilization or imbalance in an individual (Palmero, 2003).

Although there are various approaches defended to demonstrate the importance of evaluation and evaluation, there are some that are especially notable, at least if we take into account the impact they have had on the evolution of the studies on Emotion.

The evaluation: physiology-cognition physiological activation by itself is not enough to experience an emotion, interaction with cognition is necessary. Although the physiological activation, which had been produced by the effect of epinephrine injection, is an important factor in the emotional process, not less important is what Marañón calls intellectual reason, aspect that allows the interpretation of physiological changes.

From the contributions of Marañón, in a quite similar way, Schachter (1964, 1972), raises the bifactor theory of emotion in which states that emotional states are determined primarily by cognitive and physiological factors. According to Schachter (1964, 1965, 1970, 1972) and Schachter and Singer (1962, 1979), any emotional state is the result of two factors: on the one hand the arousal or physiological activation, and, on the other hand, the cognitive aspects related to the environmental causes of said physiological activation. The two factors are necessary for the emotion to occur, in such a way that each one of them, individually, can not originate the emotion. As stated by Schachter himself (1972), the subject, when experiencing its physiological activation, looks for the reason for it by means of a causal attribution in its external environment. The perception of activation or arousal is prior to the process of attribution, making the emotion acquire the characteristic of intensity-to a certain extent, it is an argument in the style of James.

The classic works of Marañón (192) and Schachter and Singer (1962) show that physiological activation and cognitive factors can occur independently, although, in the absence of physiological activation, cognitive factors alone are insufficient so that the experience of emotion is complete.

In general, the model proposed by Marañón and by Schachter can be considered as a combination of the contributions of James and Cannon. However, Schachter's theory in a particular way goes beyond the theories of James and Cannon, in that it posits that physiological changes and cognitive factors are necessary for the experience of emotion. For Schachter (1964), it would be very difficult to consider emotion only as visceral or peripheral changes; It is also necessary to consider the cognitive component. This is where the influence of Marañón is most visible, since Schachter argues that physiological changes, by themselves, are not enough to initiate the experience of an emotion. Physiological changes have to be explained and interpreted, and, when they occur, the subject experiences a particular emotion, or any other non-emotional state. The causal sequence in Schachter's formulation is as follows: stimulus, bodily changes, perception of bodily changes, interpretation of bodily changes, emotion; as can be seen, it is a cognitivist specification of James's theory. The difference between James and Schachter is that, for him, physiological or bodily changes already have their own emotional label (although James does not explain what happens between the occurrence of bodily changes and the subjective experience of emotion), whereas For Schachter, some form of cognition is required to interpret these physiological changes (that is, Schachter indicates that what happens between bodily changes and the subjective experience of emotion is a process of evaluating those bodily changes).

Theories of valuation

The essence of cognitivist approaches in the study of emotion is centered on the idea that, in order to know emotions, it is essential to know in advance how people make their judgments about the environment in which they live, since Emotions occur as a consequence of judgments about the world. That is to say: emotions require previous thoughts.

With the contributions of Magda Arnold, one can begin to talk about the modern cognitive approach in the study of emotions. He was the first to present, in a detailed way in two volumes, the previous investigations related to the psychological aspects (Arnold, 1960 a) and neuro-physiological (Arnold, 1960 b) of emotion, also proposing his own theory in terms of relevance of the assessment to understand the occurrence of emotions.

As a cognitive factor, valuation refers to a kind of construct that allows us to obtain certain information about a stimulus or situation in terms of how good or bad it is for us. According to Arnold (1970), anything that the subject finds himself in, both internally (memory and / or imagination) and externally, is evaluated and valued automatically. Assessment complements the perception of the subject, producing a tendency to do something: when this tendency is strong, it is called emotion. That is the idea of ??Arnold (1960 a, 1960 b), that without appraisal, emotion is not possible. Paraphrasing Arnold: "For an emotion to occur, the stimulus must be valued as something that affects me in some way, that affects me personally as an individual, with my particular experience and my particular goals "(Arnold, 1960 a, p 171). For this author, the sequence of events in the emotional process is as follows: perception, appraisal, emotion. Also, try to distinguish between emotion and feelings. Emotions are derived from the appraisal, positive or negative, of the objects perceived or imagined, while the feelings are derived from the beneficial or harmful consideration that the evaluation has for the subject. In addition to the relevance of the assessment at the moment in which an event occurs, Arnold considers that it is also necessary to identify the physiological activation; Cognitive activity is necessary to interpret these changes. That is to say, if we know what is happening physiologically since the perception takes place until the emotion begins,

En los trabajos que llevó a cabo en la década de los setenta (Arnold, 1970) se ob- serva la influencia de autores que han estudiado la emoción desde una vertiente fi- siológica. Concretamente, en la teoría de Arnold son importantes los planteamien- tos, entre otros autores, de MacLean (1949), en los que se defiende la existencia de tres cerebros, o tres niveles de funciones cerebrales, el reptiliano, el paleomamífe- ro y el neomamífero. Así, Arnold considera que el sistema límbico, el hipocampo y el cerebelo son estructuras importantes para entender la emoción. Y por otro lado, aunque criticó los planteamientos de Darwin y de James, en su obra también se detectan influencias de ambos autores. De Darwin, postula que las emociones han de ser consideradas como un impulso para la acción garantizando, de este modo, la supervivencia y adaptación. Como influencia de James, Arnold cree que cada emoción posee un patrón específico de respuesta fisiológica. Arnold (1960 a, 1960 b) defiende su teoría planteando que la emoción es una tendencia sentida, que lleva a una persona a aproximarse a lo que es bueno, a evitar lo que es malo y a ignorar lo que es indiferente (el sistema límbico sería la estructura que controla esta dimen- sión de agrado-desagrado). Más específicamente, Arnold sugiere que los eventos o situaciones son valorados como buenos o malos para un organismo a partir de tres ejes: beneficioso-perjudicial, presencia-ausencia de algún objeto –evento concreto which is being valued, and which is the one that will potentially trigger the emotion, if this concludes the assessment process-, and difficulty in approaching or avoiding that object. The contributions of Arnold will be assumed by Richard Lazarus, who can be considered his most direct follower.

Indeed, Lazarus (1966, 1982, 198a has raised the importance of cognitive assessment to understand the occurrence of an emotion.) For a person to experience an emotion, the first step of the procedural sequence is the cognitive assessment of the emotion. situation (Lazarus, Kanner and Folkman, 1980) According to Lazarus (1991), there are three forms of valuation: a) primary, which refers to the decision of the subject about the consequences that will affect the welfare of the stimuli that affect him; these consequences can be positive, negative or irrelevant;
bb) secondary, which refers to the decision of the subject about what he should or can do after the evaluation of the situation; that is, the ability to control the consequences of the event; c) revaluation, which refers to the constant evaluation that the subject must make in his interactive process with the environment; that is, the observation of the results obtained with the primary and secondary ratings. The inclusion of this third form of valuation reflects the dynamic connotations of the valuation process. In this theoretical framework, the successive evaluation processes determine which emotions the subject will feel. The indications of the existence of an emotion, although they are not always in synchrony, are the following: subjective aspects, physiological aspects and impulses of action.

If assessment (appraisal) is important in the theory of Lazarus, as a previous and necessary moment in the occurrence of an emotional process or another, or none, coping is not less important in the development of the emotional process. Coping was defined by Lazarus and Folkman (1984: 16) as "those constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts that are developed to handle specific external / internal demands that are evaluated as surplus or overflowing of the person's resources". In this sense, coping is considered as something dynamic in the interaction between the person and the environment, depending on how the coping is, the meaning that it has for the wellbeing of the subject can be completely changed. changed in two ways: on the one hand, through actions that alter the current terms and conditions in the relationship between the person and the environment, and, on the other hand, through the cognitive activity that influences displacement, avoidance, or significance of the situation that originates the problem. The first way to change the meaning, which refers to the actions, is called coping focused on the problem or situation. The second way to change the meaning, which refers to cognitive activity, is called emotion-centered coping, more commonly referred to as cognitive coping, since, for the author, emotion-centered coping is a essentially cognitive process. In short, Lazarus' argument defends that cognitive factors must precede emotion.

With these two antecedents (Magda Arnold and Richard Lazarus), various approaches have arisen based on the importance of valuation, all of them with the common denominator of cognitive processes antecedent to the occurrence of an emotion, in such a way that emotions occur because the result of the assessment indicates that the event or situation is significant for the welfare or balance of the organism in question (Weiner, 1986, Ellsworth, 1991, Roseman, 1991, 1996, Roseman, Antoniou and Jose, 1996). If this balance is threatened, the person can use different strategies, such as reassessment, to regain stability (Voloknov and Demaree, 2010). One of the lines of research that is bringing more fruits today is, precisely,

Predomination cognition / emotion

Although there are several authors who have defended the primacy, and even the independence, of the cognitive / affective processes, in this section we will refer only to some of them, since we consider that their contribution has been important at a specific moment in time. development of the psychology of emotion and the significant impact they still have today, making reference necessary to understand the immediate future.

In Mandler's theory it is clear that emotion consists of three aspects: activation, cognitive interpretation and consciousness. The activation, which is usually undifferentiated, refers to the activity in the autonomic nervous system, particularly in the sympathetic branch thereof. The experience of emotion and emotional behavior are the result of the interaction between autonomic activation and cognitive interpretation and evaluation. Activation provides the intensity of emotion, while cognitive interpretation and assessment provide the quality of emotion. From cognitive activation and interpretation-assessment, emotional awareness is produced. That is, the activation of the sympathetic nervous system is the beginning of emotional processes. The analysis of that activation provides the emotional quality. Then, the result of the assessment produces the emotional awareness and response. In sum, Mandler's theory includes: a) stimuli from the environment; b) a structured system that interprets such stimuli; c) two response systems, one that is reflected in the action, and another that does so through physiological activation, the latter with two essential functions, homeostasis and the search for information; a feedback system, which allows the perception of activation and control of the action. one that is reflected in the action, and another that does so through physiological activation, the latter with two essential functions, homeostasis and the search for information; a feedback system, which allows the perception of activation and control of the action. one that is reflected in the action, and another that does so through physiological activation, the latter with two essential functions, homeostasis and the search for information; a feedback system, which allows the perception of activation and control of the action.

So, for Mandler (1975), cognition seems to play a double role in emotion. First, cognitive factors can be considered as elicitors of an emotional state; secondly, as an interpretive and evaluative action. Precisely, this evaluative function determines the emotional quality experienced by the subject. In one of the last works, Mandler (1983) proposed a cognitive model for the study of stress, which recalls Selye's arguments (1950, 1956), because it emphasizes the idea that emotions.

When they are intense, they restrict the subject's attention field, and may also interfere with cognitive processes. As can be seen, Mandler gives procedural priority to the cognitive dimension by studying the relationship between cognition and emotion.

The argument of Mandler, who, in our opinion, has more clearly defended the primacy of cognition over emotion, has been Lazarus, who suggests the pertinence of distinguishing between "information" and "valuation." Although the information refers to the characteristics that define a stimulus or situation, the assessment refers to the significance that said information has for the integrity and well-being of the person who perceives that stimulus or situation. The aim of cognitive assessment is to make congruent two aspects that are sometimes contradictory: on the one hand, the goals and beliefs that the person has regarding the environment, and, on the other hand, the environmental reality itself, which will affect the result of the interaction between person and environment.

The fact of affirming that "things are as a person perceives them" allows to emphasize the cognitive dimension in the interactions that a person carries out with their environment, which is defending that in emotional processes there must be some kind of previous cognitive processing, and even conditions and determines, the appearance of an emotion. Now, from an adaptive point of view, it is imperative that this perception is as close as possible to the real nature of things, because, although things are for a certain person as the person perceives them, things remain as they are.

With regard to the primacy of emotion over cognition, one of the greatest advocates has been Zajonc (1980, 1984), who, clearly confronted with Lazarus' proposal, thinks that emotion is independent of cognition, It may occur before any form of cognition. Zajonc's proposal (Zajonc and Markus, 1990) focuses on the fact that, although cognition is often associated with emotion, it can occur without cognition. In any case, emphasizes Zajonc, emotion occurs before any form of cognitive processing. Some characteristic features of Zajonc's formulation (1980) highlight that:

Emotion is a basic process;

it is universal among all animal species;

Emotions are inevitable; they simply happen, whether you want the subject or not;

Emotions are difficult to alter; once an emotion occurs, there is a solid association with the situation that triggers it;

since emotional reactions do not respond to logical arguments, we will hardly manage to modify them;

Emotional reactions are difficult to verbalize; concretely, it seems that the communication of emotions finds its main means through non-verbal languages ??(fundamentally, expression). Ultimately, Zajonc establishes that emotional processes are outside-therefore, independent-of cognitive processes.

Emotion in evolution seems clear, since evolutionary development depends to a large extent on emotional expression, and at certain ages the representative processes, as well as evaluative and evaluative processes, are not sufficiently developed yet. This is the case of attachment in infants of many species.

Bower's studies (1981, 199) on the relationship between cognition and emotion indicate that an affective variable such as mood or affective state seems to have a powerful influence on cognitive processes, including memory, thinking and social perception. According to his theory (Bower and Cohen, 1982), one can speak of a state-dependent memory.The information that is acquired during a particular emotional state is more easily remembered when the subject is in a similar emotional state. When the subject is in a particular emotional state, he tends to focus his attention on those events related to his state, and there is therefore a selective filter for the information that the subject acquires.that at present it continues being one of the important lines of investigation.

The new cognitivist model

The current situation in the study of emotion is quite paradoxical. It is surprising to discover how in the modern theoretical formulations around emotion there is still debate about the relevance of considering the three critical processes
-Gnition, affection and motivation- as independent entities (platonic argument) or as interdependent and interrelated entities (aristo- thelic argument). It is also pertinent to review how the classic contributions of Descartes are debated today. The dualistic position of Descartes has been meticulously reviewed by Damasio (1994, 2000), considering the weak points of that formulation. The validity of the classic formulations in our days becomes very tangible when we observe that, again, we are discussing the relevance of studying emotion as an independent discipline, or if, on the contrary, it is more appropriate to consider that emotion it is inextricably linked to cognition -even, as Lazarus (1999) indicates, to cognition and motivation.

Affect-cognition interaction

It seems evident that the current moment begins to opt for the interactionist tendency, by virtue of which the practical impossibility of separating the affect from cognition is admitted. In the exposition of the latest research, it is completely accepted that cognition is essential to understand how affection appears, is maintained and modified; but the importance of affect is also well accepted to influence the way in which cognitive processes are carried out. The cause of this controversy may be due, as Lyons (1999) has pointed out, in the fact that Western thought has been very comfortable with the consideration of cognition and affect as separate instances, each of them with its own reality. The substantial difference that supports these opposing positions is related in the conception of what is meant by cognition (Palmero, 2003). Although Lazarus (198 and Zajonc (198) agree that some form of sensory information is required for emotion to be experienced, they disagree as to what constitutes cognition.) Lazarus defines cognition in terms of "cognition". for knowledge ", while Zajonc defines cognition in terms of 
" knowledge by description ".

Another potential point of disagreement has to do with the location of emotion in the general field of psychological discipline. That is, the relationship and / or interdependence of emotion with respect to other basic psychological processes. In this sense, for many authors, the study of emotion can be carried out without contemplating the interdependent association or association of said process with other basic processes. This type of argument comes from the classic contributions of Plato. This defends the independence of reason (cognition), passion (emotion) and desire or conation (motivation). Thus, throughout the centuries xViii and xix, there were psychologists who, interested in any of the three fields outlined, adopted an individualized position of each of them, generating great controversy within the psychological discipline. To a certain extent, it is a situation that remains in force, despite efforts to reconsider the clear interaction between emotion, motivation and cognition.

In the last decades, after empirically verifying the impossibility of abstracting an aseptic cognitive functioning, without affective interference, gives the impression that the interactionist conception affect-cognition is discovered. The most recent contributions of Lazarus (1999) argue in favor of the interaction between cognition, emotion and motivation, in such a way that, according to the author, it is not possible to understand the behavioral dynamics of a human being without considering the continued interaction between the three processes outlined.

Relevance of cognition in affect

The importance of cognitive processes in emotional processes, and in affect in general, is based on the delimitation of the assessment process, assuming that this is a necessary condition for an emotional process to occur. At present, the relevance of meaningful assessment seems to be confirmed as a necessary and previous step for an emotional process to occur. In this way, it seems sensible to propose and / or accept that cognitive processes are intimately related to affective processes in general and emotional processes in particular. Investigating the influence of the different processes helps to understand how emotion is triggered or regulated (Jutta, Lira and Mattihas, 2010).

It is clear that there is an intermediate step between the stimulus and the reaction that allows that person to respond in a particular way and not another to the occurrence of said stimulus. At that intermediate step we can call it valuation or anything else. This valuation has connotations of estimation about the possibility, more or less probable, of change in the well-being or balance of the person or organization that carries out the analysis of the situation or event that affects it.

Ways of valuation

The assessment carried out from the bottom-up perspective consists in the analysis and interpretation of the significance of the stimuli and situations that affect an individual. It implies the computation, or the elaborated analysis of each of the variables that make up the situation, considering the relevance and the repercussion of each of them. Through this type of process, the analysis and assessment are carried out on events or situations that are outside the individual, and that, to a certain extent, represent a threat to their own equilibrium, considering the significance of that situation at that moment .

The assessment carried out from the top-down perspective consists of the "reinstatement" or "reconstruction" of previous assessments that occurred as a consequence of the significance of events or situations that had to be faced. individual. Now, when an identical situation or stimulus appears, similar or similar to that past situation, automatically, the same valuation that occurred then is reinstated. In this type of process does not count the real significance of the current situation, since what is truly important is the impact of the past situation. The analysis and assessment are carried out on events and situations that are outside the individual, but, due to their similarity with a previous assessment, in a way automatic are valued according to the same pattern as on the previous occasion. One of the clearest antecedents of this type of emotional activation is found in Freud's works when he proposed that specific emotions are rooted in traumatic situations that occurred during childhood, including the birth trauma itself. The occurrence of an emotion in adult life is simply the recurrence of an emotion that had its first manifestation at a particular moment of child development.

Ultimately, as pointed out by Clore and Ortony (2000), it does not matter which way the evaluation process of a current situation or event is carried out, since what is really important is that emotion occurs as sequence of the activation of a cognitive process related to the significance of the situation. In both pathways there is a prior cognitive process: assessment.

Types of categorization

To a certain extent, the two types of categorization involved in the occurrence of an emotion reflect the two forms that have generally been proposed in cognitivist arguments: on the one hand, categorization based on the prototype, or based on the case, and, for another part, categorization based on theory. In both possibilities, emotion occurs as a consequence of the location, location, or categorization of a situation as emotionally significant.

The categorization based on the prototype refers to the similarity between the apparent characteristics of the observable attributes and that of the attributes of the prototype.

The categorization based on the theory focuses on the consideration of the underlying aspects of the present situation, establishing to what extent the defining characteristics are met, independently of the observable characteristics. Although the first of the two forms of categorization is the one that allows a temporally brief decision about whether the situation can be considered as potentially significant for the occurrence of an emotion, it is also the one that implies a greater probability of error, since the appearance of certain manifest characteristics does not necessarily mean the existence of the rule that typifies that situation.

Forms of processing

The forms of processing are, namely, associative and rules-based. From the associative processing, the situations and events are organized according to the similarity and temporal contiguity that they possess with other events that are part of the experience of an individual. From rule-based processing, the situation is organized according to symbolic structures. It seems a confirmed fact that in daily activity they influence the two forms of processing when it comes to understanding how situations are categorized. In both possibilities, the situation ends up being considered by the person as emotionally significant, with which, in the case that the minimum conditions for elicitation are met, the corresponding emotion is triggered suddenly and automatically.

Behavioral function

As regards the behavioral functions that are generally attributed to emotions, one can speak, on the one hand, of the preparation for immediate action (Toates, 1987, 1995), and, on the other hand, of flexibility or versatility. adaptive (Scherer, 1984, 2000). Although the two behavioral functions are relevant, it is sometimes very difficult to combine them coherently. In some situations an elaborate and meticulous analysis is required, while in others, the most adaptive is a flexible and versatile response.

The advantages derived from the function of preparation for immediate action have to do with the increase in the speed of processing, while the benefits associated with the flexibility function refer to the awareness of the significance of the situation. From the two proposed routes for the occurrence of the assessment, it seems that this process is always present in the emotional processes, being able to suggest that it is a necessary step for an emotion to occur.

However, the most recent approach to the study of the evaluation of emotions does not consider this cognitive process as something exact, as something immovable; rather, the valuation process has to be considered as a necessary step, however, for the occurrence of an emotion, but with the possibility of fluctuation with respect to the result of the significance, depending on what the momentary conditions are. of the person making the assessment (Kaiser and Wehrle, 1996, Kirby and Smith, 1996, Pecchinenda, Kappas and Smith, 1997, among others), as well as the specific sociocultural influences that person has received and that mark the significance of the events that affect him (Haidt, Koller and Dias, 1993, Mesquita, Frijda and Scherer, 1997).

Relevance of affect in cognition

Unlike the studies cited in the previous section that conclude that cognition influences emotion, in other works (Bower, 1981, Carpi, Meilán, Guerrero, Gómez and Palmero, 2010, Guerrero, 2008, Griskevicius, Shiota, and Neufeld , 2010) is intended to show that affect influences or modulates the way of carrying out the processing of information received by an organism. More specifically, the work of Bower (1981), centered on the relationship between humor and memory, represents one of the most productive research orientations of recent times.

As Forgas (1995 a) indicates, at the present time, the works in which it is a question of seeing the cognition-affect connection allow the indistinct use of the terms affect, humor and emotion. It is true that there are differences between these terms, with the greatest general entity attributed to affect, in such a way that humor and emotion are particular affective manifestations. However, we must remember that, of the three terms to which we have just referred, the most used in this type of work is still humor -or actual affective state-, since its longer duration with respect to emotion allows a better experimental manipulation when verifying its effects on cognitive processes. In the experimental performance, the affective variable that best allows the manipulation and verification of the results is chosen, and in this case, as we indicated, it is the affective state, or humor. The most used designs have focused on establishing the existence of, on the one hand, a memory dependent on humor, and, on the other hand, a memory congruent with humor. In both possibilities, as has recently been emphasized by Forgas (1999), what is really important is to note that affect in general, humor, or emotion in particular, do not represent something incidental in life and in the construction of knowledge that is carried out. a human being. Affection is an inseparable part of the way in which a person perceives the world, in the way in which that person stores, selects and retrieves information.

With regard to the existence of a memory dependent on humor, it is proposed that the performance in memory tasks increases when the mood that a person has at the time of remembering coincides with the mood he had at the time of coding and store a certain material. Specifically, if a person experiences a particular mood, he is more likely to remember the material that was learned under a state or mood similar to the one he is experiencing at the moment (Eich, 1995).

Regarding the existence of a memory congruent with humor, it is suggested that a person's cognitive performance is greater when the material he has to deal with, whether it has connotations of input-coding, learning-or has connotations of exit -recovery, remember-, has an affective quality that matches the state or mood that person has at that time.

Coding congruent with humor is defined as the increase in the learning of that material that has an affective tone or quality congruent or similar to the state or mood that a person has at that moment having repercussions, therefore, in the improvement of performance since the associations that are produced are more elaborate.

The recovery consistent with humor can be defined as an increase in the memory of that material that has an affective tone congruent or related to the one experienced by the person at this time. However, these effects are more difficult to establish (Carpi, Meilán, Guerrero, Gómez and Palmero, 2010, Guerrero, 2008). One of the experiments where it was most clearly possible To appreciate this type of relationship is the one carried out by Burke and Mathews (1992), who highlighted that anxious people remember a greater number of anxiogenic situations and terms than non-anxious people. However, as indicated by Ellis and Moore (1999), these results can be misleading, because it could also be argued that the material that a person recovers and remembers has the affective tone or quality that that person had when said material was codified or learned, that is, what happens when we refer to memory dependent on humor. It would be possible that this material, although it does not intrinsically have certain connotations of a certain type of affect, has acquired these because, when it was processed and codified (learning), the individual experienced that particular type of affection, with which this information, in principle aseptic, happens to possess these affective connotations (a simple exercise of conditioning). The difference between memory dependent on humor and memory congruent with humor is that, in that, what is important is the association between the material and the state or mood, while in this, the important thing is the consistency between the material and the state or mood.

As already mentioned, one of the pioneering authors in this type of work has been Bower (1981), who proposes a hypothesis in which the existing relation between affective variables and cognitive variables is clearly appreciated. In one of the best-known experiments of this author (Bower, Monteiro and Gilligan, 1978), the researchers make up two groups of people-sad and cheerful-to learn word lists. Then, when he wants to verify the effects of mood or mood on memory, Bower finds that, if people are in the same state or mood-sad or happy-as when they carried out the learning, the performance -remember of words- it was much better than if people tried to remember those words in a different state or mood than they experienced when learning occurred.

In the model proposed by Bower called, generically, associative network theory establishes that affective state or mood play a relevant role in the type and depth of cognitive processing that the person performs in each case. The emotional states are represented as nodes in the semantic memory that would make it possible to organize the information contents when they are acquired (learning), and which would influence the recovery processes of that information from the memory systems (memory). Thus, the activation of a specific emotional node would result in greater accessibility to all that material stored in memory that is congruent with the emotional quality of the activated node.

The infusion of affect can be defined as a process through which affective information influences and is incorporated into the constructive processing carried out by a person, selectively impacting the learning, memory, attention processes, etc. ., and even sifting the result of the deliberative and decision-making processes. One of the principles defended in the MiA is that the nature and degree of influence of the affect on the cognitive processes depend on the particular type of processing strategy used in the resolution of a task. For this, as proposed by those who have tested the model (Petty, Gleicher and Baker, 1991, Fiedler, 1991, Forgas, 1995 a, 1999), it is necessary to assume a kind of parsimony principle, by virtue of which each person tends to minimize the cognitive effort when carrying out a certain activity, provided that with this minimum effort it is possible to give full account of the particular demands implied by the task in question. Thus, processing strategies can be of four types: direct access, motivated processing, heuristic processing (knowledge of sources), and substantive processing. The first two strategies are the simplest, the most closed and those that least allow the influence on the part of the affect on the processing strategy itself. The other two strategies are more open and flexible, allowing the possibility that affection can exercise its influence on processing.

As regards the strategy based on direct access, it can be considered as the simplest method of performing a cognitive task, and it is solidly based on the recovery of already stored cognitive contents. The performance of this type of strategy is more likely when the task to be performed is fairly familiar or routine, requires a response that is practically already elaborated and stored, there is little or no personal involvement, and there are no other cognitive, affective connotations. or motivational that require another type of processing strategy. The strategy related to motivated processing occurs when the processing of information is guided by a strong objective already existing, so that, also in this processing strategy.

In the strategy of heuristic processing (knowledge of the sources), it usually occurs when there is no already elaborated response and there is no clear objective that motivates the achievement on the part of the person. In these cases, although the constructive cognitive activity is greater than in the strategy of motivated processing, the strategy of carrying out a response that means the least possible effort is imposed. As indicated by Clore, Schwarz and Conway (1994), the strategy of heuristic processing occurs when the task is relatively simple or typical, has low relevance or personal significance, there are no motivational objectives, the cognitive capacity is limited, and the situation does not require a delimited or exhaustive processing.

With regard to the strategy of substantive processing, it is the one that implies a greater constructive processing of the information, with which the probability that the affect influences the processing is significantly increased, that is, there is a high probability that it has place the infusion of affection. It is the strategy that requires greater cognitive effort, since it occurs only when the three previous strategies are not viable, which, as we have pointed out, are usually those that require less effort. As a consequence, the strategy of substantive processing is usually the one that comes into play when the task is extremely complex or atypical, when it represents a great personal implication or significance, and the person in question has sufficient cognitive capacity to carry it out. , without there being a motivational goal that guides your activity. In this type of strategy is when the affect can exert its greatest influence on cognitive activity.

In short, as some authors point out (Bodenhausen, 1993, Forgas and Fiedler, 1996, Forgas, 1999), what allows to speak of a greater or lesser participation of the affect in cognitive activity has to do, essentially, with the type of task to be made and with the contents that the organism in question possesses. When the activity is not very creative, unconstructive, there is also little that the person can contribute of itself, with which the affect has little or no influence on cognition. Now, when the task is more open, it lends itself more to speculation, allows the construction of sequences of information and allows the person to fill in gaps or gaps with contents that, although in principle have not been assigned to that activity. .

The complex relationship between cognitive processes and affective processes has contributed to consider a system of multiple levels of processing that allows us to explain, logically, how information is processed and what are the repercussions on the emotional dimension. Generically, these study and research approaches have been called multilevel formulations or models. To a certain extent, multilevel theories are essentially cognitive models that, defending the existence of a hierarchically organized structure, try to include the affective processes in their theoretical organization.

Thus, the study of Interactive Cognitive Subsystems (Teasdale, 1997, 1999), from a clinical orientation, tries to explain how affective processes are susceptible to inclusion within a general model of information processing. The clearest repercussion of the affective processes seems to take place in the memory systems. This repercussion is much more marked in the samples of depressed people (Teasdale and Barnard, 1993) -to a certain extent, recalls the classic arguments of Bower (1981).

The most recent of the multilevel models is the one proposed by Scherer (2001). Thus, from the already classic formulation that Leventhal and Scherer would make, referring to the sensorial-motor, schematic and conceptual levels, to explain how emotional processes could be explained from a cognitivist approach (Leventhal, 1980, 1984; Leventhal; and Scherer, 1987), there are many and great efforts made at the present time to congruently make an aseptically cognitivist plan- tation with emotional processes. In that first formulation, the authors proposed that, at the sensory-motor level, the evaluation would be rudimentary, functioning as a kind of innate mechanism of detection that allows the automatic response through the activation of some specialized systems in the processing of specific patterns of stimuli. At the schematic level, the assessment is carried out through the activation of information modules that are the result of that person's experience, of the apprenticeships made throughout his life, allowing the formation of specific associations between concrete stimuli and particular answers. At this level of processing, the social factor of learning is important, allowing us to understand the frequent occurrence of quasi-automatic responses, which occur below the thresholds of consciousness. At the conceptual level, the valuation is carried out thanks to the operation of a set of rules and criteria that are applied consciously and deliberately each time the person faces a situation or event. At this level of processing, superior cortical functioning acquires a fundamental relevance, with conscious connotations and with broad cultural significance (Leventhal and Scherer, 1987).

In its recent formulation, Scherer (2001) proposes that in the assessment process there are four decisive moments or phases:

This idea has recently been extended by Bonanno (2001), who has specified the role of negative feedback, an essential mechanism to talk about adaptation, in a hierarchical system of organization of emotional regulation processes. There are three basic categories of emotional self-regulation: the regulation of control, which occurs at the moment of the occurrence of an emotion, the anticipatory regulation, which occurs immediately before an emotion is triggered (when the person notices that emotion will occur) , and exploratory regulation, which is a way of exercising control strategies in the absence of emotion, even in the absence of the suspicion that an emotion may occur. Ultimately, the following figure 1 succinctly illustrates Scherer's idea. who has specified the role of negative feedback, an essential mechanism to talk about adaptation, in a hierarchical system of organization of emotional regulation processes. There are three basic categories of emotional self-regulation: the regulation of control, which occurs at the moment of the occurrence of an emotion, the anticipatory regulation, which occurs immediately before an emotion is triggered (when the person notices that emotion will occur) , and exploratory regulation, which is a way of exercising control strategies in the absence of emotion, even in the absence of the suspicion that an emotion may occur. Ultimately, the following figure 1 succinctly illustrates Scherer's idea. who has specified the role of negative feedback, an essential mechanism to talk about adaptation, in a hierarchical system of organization of emotional regulation processes. There are three basic categories of emotional self-regulation: the regulation of control, which occurs at the moment of the occurrence of an emotion, the anticipatory regulation, which occurs immediately before an emotion is triggered (when the person notices that emotion will occur) , and exploratory regulation, which is a way of exercising control strategies in the absence of emotion, even in the absence of the suspicion that an emotion may occur. Ultimately, the following figure 1 succinctly illustrates Scherer's idea. in a hierarchical system of organization of emotional regulation processes. There are three basic categories of emotional self-regulation: the regulation of control, which occurs at the moment of the occurrence of an emotion, the anticipatory regulation, which occurs immediately before an emotion is triggered (when the person notices that emotion will occur) , and exploratory regulation, which is a way of exercising control strategies in the absence of emotion, even in the absence of the suspicion that an emotion may occur. Ultimately, the following figure 1 succinctly illustrates Scherer's idea. in a hierarchical system of organization of emotional regulation processes. There are three basic categories of emotional self-regulation: the regulation of control, which occurs at the moment of the occurrence of an emotion, the anticipatory regulation, which occurs immediately before an emotion is triggered (when the person notices that emotion will occur) , and exploratory regulation, which is a way of exercising control strategies in the absence of emotion, even in the absence of the suspicion that an emotion may occur. Ultimately, the following figure 1 succinctly illustrates Scherer's idea. what happens at the moment of the occurrence of an emotion, the anticipatory regulation, which occurs immediately before an emotion is triggered (when the person notices that this emotion is going to occur), and exploratory regulation, which is a way of exercising the control strategies in the absence of an emotion, even in the absence of the suspicion that an emotion may occur. Ultimately, the following figure 1 succinctly illustrates Scherer's idea. what happens at the moment of the occurrence of an emotion, the anticipatory regulation, which occurs immediately before an emotion is triggered (when the person notices that this emotion is going to occur), and exploratory regulation, which is a way of exercising the control strategies in the absence of an emotion, even in the absence of the suspicion that an emotion may occur. Ultimately, the following figure 1 succinctly illustrates Scherer's idea.

Probably, one of the weaknesses of this type of current studies has to do with the desire to shred the processed information to the limit. Furthermore, as Teasdale (1999) points out, although it seems good to continue opening lines of work, these kinds of attempts provide more questions and doubts than answers, explaining very little of the true relationship between cognition and emotion (or affection, in general).

Conclusions

The diversity of models cited gives a vision of the interest in knowing the mechanisms of the different psychological processes. Not only independently, but how they interact and change. At present, there is little doubt that affection influences cognitive processes (attention, memory, evaluation, assessment, decision making, etc.), while cognitive processes have a great relevance to the time to understand how, and of what kind, is the response, affective in general, and emotional in particular, that a person executes, according to the evaluation process that is performed on the stimulus or situation that affects them.

Some aspects can be established that, to a certain extent, indicate what the future has to be in the study of emotion. On the one hand, it is convenient to suppress, or at least reduce, the ambiguity that surrounds the objectives of the theories based on the valuation; and, on the other hand, it is necessary to define exactly the meaning of the terms cognition and valuation, at least in the field of emotion.

More than the stimulus, more than the eventual response that may appear as a consequence of said stimulus, the process of evaluation and evaluation that we carry out on the stimulus will determine if one emotion or another, or none at all, is produced. The relevance of the evaluation in the emotions is such that, as a consequence of this process, the organism responds in a joint and synchronized way, activating all those systems and subsystems necessary to control the situation or stimulus that was valued.

A substantial part of the valuation processes that take place in a human being occurs below the thresholds of consciousness, probably from the activity that takes place in the subcortical structures. As Scherer (1999) indicates, depending on the relevance of the stimulus or situation, depending on the level of processing in which the assessment is carried out, it will have access to consciousness or not. While it seems completely assumed that a conscious process of valuation does not admit any kind of doubt, it must also be admitted that, on occasion, a fully automatic reflex reaction of defense may occur, in which some form of evaluation has also occurred, valuation and response adjusted to the result of that evaluation and valuation. It is true that there is a possibility that, After this form of assessment, a complete emotion does not occur, an emotion as such. However, this analysis of the significance of the stimulus involved is already in itself a process of evaluation. Appraisal is essential for an emotion to occur: an emotion is the result of a meaningful appraisal, and although not all significant appraisals trigger an emotional process, each emotional process is always the result of a meaningful appraisal.

Any dividing line between emotion and cognition, if it exists, depends on how we define cognition. If we consider that cognition is conscious thought, posture with clear philosophical origins and great repercussion in psychology (Griffiths, 1997), the result is that many emotional events do not involve cognition. We probably have to refer to the principle of reciprocal causality, proposed by Bandura (1978), to refer to the possibility that a single event can be considered as a response to the previous event and as a stimulus to the next response.

In short, as has been highlighted in the works of recent years, both the cognitive system and the affective (emotional) system can be considered as two phylogenetically appropriate adaptation systems to guarantee the survival of the species. The emotional system is considered as an emergency mechanism, capable of interrupting the actions in progress, leading the body to the selection of a response pattern different from that which existed at the time of the irruption. On the other hand, the cognitive system can be considered as a more complex and advanced mechanism, capable of exhaustively processing all the information of the most complex situations, allowing, in addition, the planning of strategies and concrete forms of behavior with which to do in front of the situation. The emotional system has a form of automatic action, in which the processing is carried out restrictively only with those signs or signals of the situation that seem relevant; the result is a quick, immediate response. The cognitive system has a more elaborate, more controlled and more detailed form of action, allowing the selection of those strategies that are, or at least seem to be, the most appropriate to each situation faced by the individual. .

Stress process

Introduction

When studying the stress process we find something common in the field of psychology, namely: everyone knows what stress is, but it is rarely found that two people define stress in the same terms.

Stress is a term that comes from physics. In this area, stress means pressure, used to explain the effects that occur on a body when it is subjected to pressure. Stress has, then, connotations of pressure. Thus, when a weight is placed on a body, it puts pressure on it. The body will resist pressure if the weight is available to its resistance and endurance capacity. Let's see the premises implicit in this postulate, assuming that we do it from the frame of reference of physics.

First premise: if we progressively increase the weight on the body, that is, if we gradually increase the pressure on that body, we will observe how, after a moment, it begins to suffer, until, if we continue to increase the weight, the body will break. In this first premise, the weight has been higher than the capacity of resistance of the body and has destroyed it.

Second premise: if we are progressively increasing the weight or pressure on a body, but we never reach beyond its capacity for resistance, we will observe that the body remains unscathed, without breaking.

Third premise: every body has a point that is the weakest to resist the eventual pressure to which it can be subjected.

To these three basic premises we could add some corollaries that, in our opinion, outline the real relationship between a body and the pressures to which it may eventually be subjected.

Corollaries to the first premise

For the body to break, the weight has to exceed its capacity of resistance, since any body is prepared to resist over its possibilities for short periods of time, as long as the excess is not very large (there are particular differences for each body as to the excess that they can resist over their possibilities).

The greater the excess pressure or weight on the capacity of the body, the greater the likelihood that it will break, and the greater the probability that it will break earlier.

The greater the frequency with which we subject a body to pressures that exceed its capacity for resistance, although the excesses are not very high, the greater will be the probability that the body will break, and the greater the probability of that breaks before.

The combination of corollaries 2 and 3 exponentially increases the risk of breakage. That is to say, the greater the frequency with which we subject a body to the pressures more distant above its capacity of resistance, the greater is the probability that the body is broken, and the greater the probability of that it is broken before .

Corollaries to the second premise

All pressure has negative effects in the medium and / or long term. Even the pressures that are within the margins of resistance of a body exert an effect that, although probably never be perceptible, affect the integrity of that body (there are particular differences for each body in terms of the eventual vulnerability that they can show over time).

The greater the proximity of the weight or pressure to the maximum capacity of the body (as we ascend from the absence of weight or pressure to the maximum weight or maximum pressure that a body can withstand), the greater the the probability that this body manifests deformations and / or dysfunctions, and the greater the probability that it manifests them before.

The greater the frequency with which we subject a body to pressures, although these are within the possibilities of resistance of the body, the greater the probability of the appearance of deformations and / or dysfunctions in that body, and the greater the probability that they appear earlier.

combination of corollaries 2 and 3 exponentially increases the risk of deformations and / or dysfunctions. That is, the greater the frequency with which we subject a body to the pressures closest to (although below) its capacity for resistance, the greater the probability of the appearance of deformations and / or dysfunctions in that body, and the greater the probability that they appear earlier.

Corollaries to the third premise

In all the cases commented on in the previous corollaries, the probability that the body breaks, as well as that it manifests deformations and / or dysfunctions, is greater when the pressure is exerted on the weakest point of that body.

With these arguments exposed, the difficulty of studying a phenomenon such as stress in a field as relatively aseptic and objective as that of physics is clearly appreciated. The company is much more complex when trying to study the term from disciplines that are not as objective and aseptic, as it is when it comes from the field of health sciences and behavior. In any case, the term seemed relevant to see its application in the field of medical sciences and psychology itself, a fact that has been noted over the years.

Stress in psychology

The use of the term stress in psychology is quite extensive. If we had to sketch a brief review of this history, we should emphasize the contributions of some researchers, who, from the fields of physiology and psychology, have laid the foundations to know how a variable with psychological and behavioral connotations. it can have such dramatic consequences on the integrity of an organism.

Stress from the field of physiology

The first attempts in this type of research predecessors of the current study in the field of stress should be attributed to Claude Bernard (1813-1878), disciple and assistant of François Magendie (1783-1855), who, together with Charles Bell ( 1774-1842), although independently, he discovered the distinction between sensory nerves and motor nerves. Bernard coined the term internal means to argue that the most evolved organisms are those capable of maintaining a certain independence from the influences of their external environment. That is, the integrity of organisms depends to a large extent on the integrity of their internal environment; how- ever, the continuous disturbances of the external environment in which this organism develops can affect in an important way its internal environment, the most evolved organisms are provided with a complex set of physiological systems whose mission is to cushion the possible harmful effects of the external environment on the internal environment. As can be seen, Bernard is making implicit reference to the concept of homeostasis, which Cannon will subsequently coin.

Indeed, Walter Cannon (1871-1945) directs his initial work towards the adaptive nature of the stress response to give full account of the threats and challenges to the internal environment of organisms; that is, of the threats and challenges to the homeostasis of organisms. The stress response, or fight-flight response, seemed a logical and effective mechanism. In some of his more classic works (Cannon, 1929, 1935), he argues that the presence of a stimulus, situation, or disturbing agent in the external environment can provoke, when the subject perceives those situations as threats, challenges or danger. , a general mobilization in the organism. This mobilization or generalized activation has the purpose of preparing the organism to achieve a basic objective: the defense of their physical integrity before an eventual aggression to their homeostasis or internal balance. For this, the agency will deploy all its resources by executing one of the two possibilities of adaptive action: fight or flee. The consequences of either of these two behaviors are related to the disappearance of the disturbing agent or situation. However, as it has been known at present, there are at least two important gaps in Cannon's formulation. On the one hand, it does not explain what happens when a subject can not fight against the stress situation -because its demands far exceed its own abilities, resources and availability-, nor can it flee from the situation -because for other reasons maybe more powerful have to stay in it. On the other hand, it does not explain what happens when, Regardless of the resources of a subject, the response offered by this does not succeed in making the stress situation disappear, causing this situation to persist and become chronic. That is, with Cannon's formulation only the first response of an organism to a dangerous situation is explained, assuming that when this response appears, the dangerous situation will disappear. The first of these two questions responds to the current students of stress by stating that in the stress situation there are several coping possibilities, among which, in fact, are to flee and fight, but there is also the possibility of resisting in the situation trying to mitigate or reduce the negative effects of the stress situation on the health of the person involved. Selye responded to the second question, using the resistance phase within his stress model, and they continue to provide answers to a situation so common in our society, in which the good is not always the best. However, it should be noted that Cannon's argument focuses on the response of an organism to a situation of acute stress, while Selye's argument (which will be discussed below) focuses on the body's response to situations of chronic stress or persistent.

As indicated by some authors (Sapolsky, 1992), referring to the behavior observed in a subject facing an acute stress situation, this stress response, generally intense, is directly related to the activation of the sympathetic branch of the system. nervous self It involves a complex series of changes and functions in the systems of the organism. The most significant are the following: a) there is a significant increase in the secretion of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla-mainly epinephrine and norepinephrine; b) there is a significant increase in the secretion of glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex; c) there is also a remarkable secretion of hypophyseal? -endorphins, prolactin and vasopressin; d) there is a remarkable secretion of glucagon from the pancreas;

These important changes allow the organism to give an adaptive response to the situation of acute stress. The ways in which they achieve this adaptive response are the following: a) mobilization of energy; b) increased cardiovascular and pulmonary activity; c) suppression of the anabolic processes of synthesis and assimilation; d) suppression of the inflammatory response and occurrence of stress-induced analgesia; e) selective alteration in cognitive functioning, which will selectively address those events related to the production of stress. However, although it is well known at present that these changes are essential to increase the probability of adaptation, With such precedents, the next step in this brief review is placed in the work of Hans Selye (1907-1982). Selye can be considered one of the first researchers to consider the negative effects of the stress response. That is, Selye opens the way to research that considers that stress responses, although positive at a specific moment and brief, can become clearly negative if their recurrence is excessive.

As we mentioned earlier, Selye's argument offers a response to Cannon's approach in those situations in which the stress response, considered intense, rapid and adaptive by Cannon, is not enough to make the stress situation disappear. . We want to defend, however, that both formulations are not mutually exclusive or contradictory; rather, they should be considered as complementary, because, although both authors talk about the stress response, Cannon refers to situations of acute stress and Selye to situations of sustained or chronic stress.

Selye's classic approach (1956) focuses on the so-called General Adaptation Syndrome, which refers to a non-specific pattern of response, and involves an effort by the organism to adapt and survive. The General Adaptation Syndrome consists of three phases: alarm, resistance and exhaustion. In any situation perceived as stressful by the subject, the organism reacts with the initial alarm reaction. This phase refers to the moment in which the presence of the stimulus or stressor event is detected, and which could be considered as a form of orientation response. Now, if it does not have the appropriate response for that situation, it is evident that it will remain, threatening the physical and psychic integrity of the organism. Thus, when these stressful conditions are maintained over time, the resistance phase appears, which refers to the body's reaction to overcome the stress situation, and which, to a certain extent, becomes similar to the fight-flight response posed by Cannon, that is, the initial consideration of the stress response This phase consists in the maintenance of the initial activation while the organism tries to find the appropriate response to the situation. If, for any reason, the organism still does not find the appropriate response to the situation, it enters into a dynamic of progressive fatigue and weakening, with the exhaustion phase appearing, which refers to the situation in which the organism can no longer respond to the situation, it comes to be similar to the fight-flight response posed by Cannon, that is, the initial consideration of the stress response. This phase consists in the maintenance of the initial activation while the organism tries to find the appropriate response to the situation. If, for any reason, the organism still does not find the appropriate response to the situation, it enters into a dynamic of progressive fatigue and weakening, with the exhaustion phase appearing, which refers to the situation in which the organism can no longer respond to the situation, it comes to be similar to the fight-flight response posed by Cannon, that is, the initial consideration of the stress response. This phase consists in the maintenance of the initial activation while the organism tries to find the appropriate response to the situation. If, for any reason, the organism still does not find the appropriate response to the situation, it enters into a dynamic of progressive fatigue and weakening, with the exhaustion phase appearing, which refers to the situation in which the organism can no longer respond to the situation, and that it would have the connotations of the beginning of the serious risk of disease. In this phase, a loss of the precarious equilibrium maintained during the resistance phase is observed. It is observed that in this situation the organism experiences a significant decrease in the reserve of energy and adaptive resources, so that in this subject the probability of suffering imbalances, imbalances, dysfunctions, illness and even death increases.

Specifically, Selye thinks that the disease occurs because the stressor produces damage to the organism when it has exhausted its reserves and is unable to respond more or less adaptively. Following the physiological argument raised above, the disease occurs because in the body the reserves of glucocorticoids, catecholamines, etc., have been exhausted in order to respond appropriately. However, as Sapolsky (1992) points out, it is unlikely that the disease caused by stress will occur in this way. Rather, it seems that the damage, injury or disorder comes from the organism itself, in such a way that: a) the same secreted substances to cope with the stress situation become harmful if they remain in blood longer than advisable;
b) intense responses that are adaptive at a precise moment (for example, momentary hypertension) become dangerous and harmful when they are chronicled; c) as the anabolic processes are suppressed while the organism is immersed in a situation of stress, the organic actions directed to the recovery and repair have to take place when the organism has overcome this situation; But if the stress situation is extremely long-lasting, it is possible that the postponement of recovery processes is excessive and lesions and dysfunctions begin to appear.

In short, the fact that a dysfunction occurs, and even a disease, as a consequence of stress may be, on the one hand, the inability of the organism to initiate an appropriate response to a situation of acute stress considered as danger or threat. or, on the other hand, in the inability of the organism to appropriately complete a response in a situation of chronic or lasting stress, that is, in a situation that extends beyond the resources of the organism. In the first case, the consequences can be dramatic and instantaneous, while, in the second case, the consequences can be diverse, diffuse, but in any case negative.

Stress from the field of psychology 

The different works carried out also have as reference point the initial investigations of Hans Selye. In this regard, the use of the term stress in psychology, being of great utility, as has been proven over the years, has certain peculiarities that can not be ignored. On the one hand, as is evident, it is not the same to talk about stress in the field of physics than to do it in the field of psychology. Specifically, in the field of physics the pressure is exerted on a physical body without life, while in the field of psychology the pressure is exerted on a body that, although also

He has the physical characteristics, he is alive. This is an essential difference, since the subject who is receiving the pressure can communicate what he experiences in those moments, can face the situation that causes the stress, can directly confront the stressful stimulus, can flee from the situation in which the stressful stimulus is produced, and, when the flight and the confrontation are unfeasible, it can protect itself to mitigate, reduce or diminish the negative effects of the stressor. On the other hand, in the field of psychology stress does not always have negative connotations, since it depends on the perception of each person. Thus, when this person perceives stress or pressure as something positive, stress becomes motivation to achieve goals.

Although it is with Selye's works when the relevance of stress in the field of behavioral sciences begins to be considered, there have been some previous contributions, such as those coming from the psychoanalytic orientation. Specifically, in the 1940s it was argued that some disorders, such as asthma, ulcers, hypertension, migraine, etc., generically referred to as psychosomatics, were considered to be the physical manifestations of a excessive accumulated psychological tension.

As a result of the appearance of Selye's theory, works focusing on the influence of stress on health begin to proliferate. One of the most scientifically recognized models in the psychological field has to do with the approach of Professor Lazarus, who, since his early work (Lazarus, 1966), has come to emphasize the importance of psychological factors in the process of stress, to get to establish that in this process the following variables intervene:

the demands, demands, challenges and threats of the external environment in which the subject develops; b) the demands and demands imposed by the internal environment of the subject; c) the baggage of resources available to the subject, that is, the skills, domains, strategies, and responses that that subject may have to give full account of the pressure that is being received; the degree of satisfaction experienced by that subject in the stress-producing situation.

With regard to external demands or demands, they refer to a series of variables, among which are the multiple daily situations, for which the individual has an associated response that is generally useful and adaptive. These are situations arising from the social regulations themselves, which implicitly contain prohibitions, recommendations, demands, etc., for which appropriate responses are required. That is, although they are situations that the person can consider as more or less expensive, he knows how to solve them. They may involve a certain risk, but, under normal conditions, the person controls that risk. From a physiological point of view, rapid and intense reactivity is observed, but there is also a rapid recovery of previous levels.

The demands or external demands can also come from new situations for which the person does not have any previously assigned answer. These are demands that tend to come from situations of social interaction,

should include among them those that originate as a result of work conditions, social overcrowding, excessive cold or heat, intense noise, time pressures, and all those events that, in general, pose a threat to the self-esteem and the security of the person. Apparently, these situations are insurmountable, because the person does not know how to respond to solve them. They may involve a risk, which becomes greater to the extent that a satisfactory response is not found. From a physiological point of view, rapid and intense reactivity is observed, but in this case the recovery is not as fast as in everyday situations, because now the person has to find a satisfactory response. Accordingly, Recovery takes a time equivalent to the time the person uses to find the right answer. The longer the person takes to recover the previous values, the greater the risk and the potential damage. They probably have consequences on the integrity of the person if those situations are very intense or are repeated frequently and without appropriate response.

As regards internal demands or demands, they refer to all those intimate and personal needs that an individual has to satisfy periodically and recurrently. These demands or demands could be grouped into those that come from the body and those that come from the cognitive and affective sphere. Among the demands coming from the body, the most primary factors stand out, such as those that are closely related to the basic motivations (eating behavior, drinking behavior, elimination behavior, sleeping or resting behavior, sexual behavior). As a general rule, in our society, it is not a great problem to satisfy these needs, making them become routine, without actually triggering great pressures on the person. Habitually, Each and every one of the individuals in our society know how to respond to these demands, so that, from a physiological point of view, the most that can happen is a more or less rapid and intense reactivity and a quick recovery. They can also include among the demands coming from the body those related to the experience of a mishap, accident or illness. In these cases, the negative impact on the person involved is usually greater, since it can only carry out secondary actions to suppress the stress it experiences. They are usually events that are largely beyond the control of the person. From a physiological point of view, the reactivity is fast and intense, but, generally, the recovery is usually slower, with which the sequelae may be greater.

Among the demands coming from the cognitive and affective sphere, the most important ones have connotations of achievement of objectives, achievements, success, etc. Particularly, one of the characteristics associated with this type of demands has to do with the tendency to achieve successes and avoid failures. It represents an innate variable, because we all want to grow biologically, psychologically, socially and spiritually, while trying to avoid failures, because these entail negative experiences. The objectives pursued are usually quite realistic, adjusting to the real possibilities of each person. They are the result of the combination of the tendency to achieve success and the tendency to avoid failure. The objectives always have an average difficulty, slightly above the possibilities of each person to stimulate their motivation. Excessively difficult objectives do not motivate the person because they are considered unattainable. Excessively easy goals also do not motivate the person because they do not have any attraction for it.

As regards the skills or resources of the person in question, they refer to the baggage of adaptive responses that that person has at their disposal. They are based on previous experience. The answers that are useful are reinforced and maintained. The answers that are not useful are deleted from the repertoire.

The skills or resources also refer to the skill in the execution of specific behaviors, which, in the end, are acquired through repeated practice. Another ability or resource of the person has to do with their capacity for resistance, which, at the time, is the result of biological factors and previous learning. Another skill refers to the capacity for effort and persistence, which is closely related to the motivation of the person to achieve objectives: a greater motivation greater effort and persistence.

As regards the degree of satisfaction associated with the situation, it refers to that basic affective dimension that allows us to understand why a person has the tendency to move away from or approach a situation. If the situation pleases, positive affect (emotional process) occurs and satisfaction occurs (cognitive process). If the situation displeases you, there is negative affect (emotional process) and dissatisfaction occurs (cognitive process).

This factor is fundamental, since it refers to how the person perceives the situation regardless of the type of situation. That is, the situation may be objectively unpleasant, negative and unsatisfactory, but if the person does not perceive it this way, their organism will not react with the typical response of distress.

Finally, based on the perception that the person has of the situation (perception of control), and as Selye already wielded, we could establish the existence of two forms of stress: eustress and distress. In the first possibility, we talk about stress with positive connotations for the person's health. It represents a basic form of motivation, because the subject feels motivated to achieve a certain objective, and knows, can and wants to achieve it. In the second possibility, we talk about stress with negative connotations for the health of the person. In the medium and / or long term it can cause dysfunctions, disorders, illness and death. This perception of control depends to a large extent on the availability of resources, skills, etc., of that person.

Stress as a process

In our present work, we defend that stress is a necessary process for life. It is not synonymous with illness or disorder. Stress, as we said earlier, is pressure, with all that implies or may involve. Stress is stimulating. It can make people progress. It can increase the performance of people and the baggage of responses from them. But, in an eminently basic sense, stress is an adaptive process. It involves the activation of a complex system of responses, which aim to guarantee the optimal adaptation of the organism to any situation that involves a challenge, threat or danger to its physical or mental integrity.

Of the multiple definitions used to define stress we opted for the one that refers to pressure. However, we would have to make some precision. Thus, we could say, as it has happened on some occasions, that stress refers to the stimuli or potential triggers of that pressure, but the stimuli or triggers are so insofar as there is someone who perceives them. Therefore, the stimuli, internal and / or external, although necessary for the stress process, are not sufficient for it. We could say, as it has also happened on occasions, that stress refers to the response system that is activated at a specific moment, but it would be a fallacious argument, since the answers are related to some stimulus or trigger. From these considerations, we estimate that stress must include triggers, stimuli or activating agents; it must include a recipient subject or organism that perceives or becomes aware of these stimuli; it must include a response system that, following the already classic approaches of Lacey (1967), would include three forms of response: the electro-cortical dimension, the physiological-autonomic dimension, and the observable motor dimension. However, it would be possible to begin to defend the existence of a fourth response system, referred to the immune dimension. In addition, for various reasons, including the one related to knowing that the stress process becomes the trigger of emotional processes, we want to suggest that another response system would refer to the affective or emotional dimension. In any case, and at this moment is what we want to review, the response offered by the individual is related to the perception that the individual has of the situation or of the stimuli that affect him, and not with the objective characteristic of the situation or the stimuli . That is, the perception that the individual has of the situation will give him a certain degree of satisfaction or pleasure or dissatisfaction or dislike with that situation.

In addition, and here we must talk about the connection between stress and well-being, as a consequence of the perception of control, positive emotions will be produced, if the person perceives that he controls the situation, or negative emotions, in the event that the person does not perceive control over that situation. This second possibility is what is of interest to establish how stress is associated with the greater predisposition of dysfunction, of disorder, of illness, or even of death. This second possibility is the relevant one to understand the relationship of stress with well-being, with the absence of well-being, to be more exact, and it will be revised later. The following figure illustrates the idea.
The use of the term stress in the field of psychology involves the formulation of various questions. Among them, we have estimated that some of the most relevant refer to the following aspects: what are the triggers of the stress? What is the difference between the responses to stress and the consequences of stress?

Where is the threshold that defines positive stress and negative stress? What is the difference between acute stress and chronic stress?

Triggers

In fact, we could say that any stimulus or event can become a trigger for the stress process. It is logical. If we argue that the stress process refers to the pressure or response requirement when the individual feels involved in that situation, we can say that each of the stimuli that affect him has the ability to trigger the stress process in him. Any factor that poses danger, threat, challenge or possibility of achievement has the capacity to produce the stress response.

In the functional, everyday dimension, that is, those events that an individual faces on a daily basis, we find what we have just described: any stimulus has the capacity to produce the stress process.

Then, depending on the control capacity of that individual over this stimulus, we will find the possibility of positive stress or the possibility of negative stress. As a rule, these habitual events are usually under the control of individuals, giving rise to the positive aspect of stress, that is, the eustress. The situation is more shocking when the stimuli or events escape the control of the subjects.

In the dysfunctional dimension, any stimulus or event that involves a significant change, is threatening or is perceived as significant damage or loss for the individual in question is very likely to trigger the stress process in its negative side. In this frame of reference, it is now known that the triggers of this dysfunctional form of stress can be very diverse: serious illness, own or of a loved one, a discussion, intense environmental noise. These are factors that have a notable impact on the physical and mental health of individuals.

Although many classifications of stimuli or negatively stressful situations have been proposed, the best known are the so-called life events, which, in turn, can be of different magnitude. Likewise, some characteristics of environmental stressors (for example, of work) have also been studied.

Vital events

People's lives can be punctuated by events that are especially shocking and of great transcendence, such as, for example, the death of a loved one, the loss of work, marriage, motherhood and divorce.

It has been found that these events suppose a great vital change for the people who experience them as well as strong demands for adaptation. Having a child, for example, involves a drastic change in the lives of most people. If these events also overlap one another, adaptation can be complicated. There are numerous studies that show that when people experience many events of this type in a relatively short time, they increase the chances of suffering intense stress and developing diseases.

aVital events are objective experiences that disorganize or threaten to disorganize the usual activities of the person, requiring significant changes in their behavior (Dohrenwend, 2006). To measure them, several decades ago, Holmes and Rahe (196) created the first list of life events, known as the Social Readjustment Scale, which included 43 events, such as marriage, the death of the spouse and the loss of work. Table 1 lists the 43 events and the associated average life change.

bIn order to calculate the total life change experienced by a person, the units of vital change corresponding to each event experienced by person during the last year. The resulting sum is considered an indicator of the amount of stress experienced, and it is assumed that, the higher the score, the greater the risk of developing physical and mental health problems. Thus, for example, a woman who has been married in recent months, has requested an important mortgage for the purchase of the apartment and has become pregnant, would add 121 units (50 + 31 + 40). The scores for the last year of less than 150 points indicate a lower probability of 30% of developing a disease related to stress; scores between 150 and 300 indicate a probability of 50%; and scores higher than 300 points would have a risk of 80%.

Little day-to-day events

Most of the days we do not experience events as important as those described in the previous section. However, other events of much less caliber occur on a daily basis which, acting cumulatively, can also produce an intense imbalance. In this case, we talk about irritating and frustrating demands, relationships that bombard us day after day. Theoretically controllable aspects, such as losing a bus, forgetting at home something that we need, receiving a criticism for something we have done, bad weather, a traffic jam, a slight discussion, can produce an important stress response when several of them happen at the same moment, or separated by very little space of time.

Catastrophes

At the other extreme of small life events are major catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes. These stressors have particular that affect many people at once, causing major consequences in their health and life circumstances, and even causing many deaths.

There are numerous studies that show the important consequences for mental health of people who survive a catastrophe. Not only do direct victims experience health problems, but family members are also greatly affected, groups of people involved in rescue tasks (firefighters, health personnel, police, etc.) and the population in general. Among the most frequent psychological problems are post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, panic disorder and behaviors related to the consumption of alcohol and substances.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes are joined by disasters caused by human beings themselves. These can take the form of radioactive contamination, terrorist attacks and armed conflicts, among others. Apparently, its impact can be more traumatizing than that of natural disasters, causing more psychological sequelae. For example, after the terrorist attacks of 11 March 2004 in Madrid that caused 191 deaths and around 1800 wounded, it was found that among the victims and their families 45.3% experienced panic attacks, 31.3% developed depression and 35.9% post-traumatic stress disorder.

The human environments

Finally, the characteristics of the environment or context where we live can also be sources of stress. In this sense, work and family environments, due to their importance in our lives, are especially relevant. Human environments, like people, have a series of features or dimensions that define their own personality. Some of these characteristics, such as conflict, or lack of clarity and cohesion, can affect the well-being and health of the people who live in these environments.

In recent years stress in work environments has received a great deal of attention and is currently considered one of the most important psychosocial risks for people at work. Table 2 shows some sources of work stress.

Some professions, due to their characteristics and the context in which they are exercised, are more likely to be stressful. For example, the teaching staff and health personnel are professional groups that have aroused great interest. When the experience of work stress continues over time, it can trigger what is known as Burnout Syndrome (or burn syndrome). The pattern of reactions described as burnout seriously damages the ability of the person in his work. Their feelings become negative, they develop a cynical attitude, they lose their involvement with others, they increase physical and mental illnesses and absenteeism and, sometimes, the consumption of drugs and alcohol.

Response and consequences

One of the issues that most strikes us concerns the relevance of subjectivity in the perception of stress. In effect, the same stimulus can be perceived differently by different individuals. But, in addition, that same stimulus can be perceived differently by the same individual at different times. Things are not as they are, but as one perceives them. Such a sentence, in the purest Aristotelian style, highlights the importance of subjectivity: for an individual, the world, things are as they perceive them, as they are interpreted, as they are valued. However, it is an incontrovertible fact that, regardless of how we perceive and value things, things are the way they are, things are what they are. This last assessment allows us to emphasize the objectivity of events.

Ultimately, we have a (false) counterposition between subjectivity and objectivity. This detail has sometimes led some to confuse what is the stress response with what are the consequences of stress (Palmero, Breva and Espinosa, 1994).

The stress response is a reaction directly associated with the evaluation and assessment that an individual makes about a stimulus or event: if a tiger appears at the door, but the individual perceives, evaluates and evaluates that it is a cat, his or her answers will be concordant with those cognitive processes that he has just carried out; this is: it will react as if it were a cat. Or, what is the same: the responses of an individual in a stress situation depend on how that individual perceives and values ??this situation. The answers depend on subjectivity.

The consequences of stress are directly related to the nature of the stimulus that affects an individual. We could state that this is the objective capacity of the stressors to produce those effects that are inherent to them. If we take up the previous example of the tiger that is perceived as a cat, we see how, independently of the perception and assessment that the subject makes, and that determine the response it will offer, the very nature of the stimulus in question has an inherent capacity to produce certain effects or consequences. That is, the consequences of a stress situation for an individual depend on the nature of the stimulus that produces stress.

As seems obvious, the most adaptive and healthy for an individual is to perceive and assess as accurately as possible the various events: the closer the subjectivity to objectivity, the more correct the behaviors that an individual will be.

This is a fact systematically relegated, since scientific attention has been focused on the subjective variables, related to the perception and assessment that an individual performs each time he is faced with a stress situation. The consideration of the importance of the perception of the subject when it comes to understanding whether a stress-generating situation can trigger negative consequences has resulted in perception being understood as a kind of filter or modulating variable that allows understanding: a) how different Subjects subjected to the same stress situation conceptualize this in a different way, attributing to this situation different connotations of pressure; b) how, even, the same subject can consider the same situation with different pressure con- densities at different times; c) how, In the medium and / or long term, subjects who perceive this situation as stressful are more likely to become ill or develop disorders than subjects who do not perceive the situation as stressful. However, we believe that we should also consider the possible objective capacity of certain stressful situations to produce dysfunctions, injuries or disorders in the medium and / or long term, even beyond the perception that the subject has of such situations. That is, it can happen that a person does not perceive a situation as stressful, but that situation has an objective capacity to produce damage. It would be producing a dissociation of Subjects who perceive this situation as stressful have a greater probability of becoming ill or developing disorders than subjects who do not perceive the situation as stressful. However, we believe that we should also consider the possible objective capacity of certain stressful situations to produce dysfunctions, injuries or disorders in the medium and / or long term, even beyond the perception that the subject has of such situations. That is, it can happen that a person does not perceive a situation as stressful, but that situation has an objective capacity to produce damage. It would be producing a dissociation of Subjects who perceive this situation as stressful have a greater probability of becoming ill or developing disorders than subjects who do not perceive the situation as stressful. However, we believe that we should also consider the possible objective capacity of certain stressful situations to produce dysfunctions, injuries or disorders in the medium and / or long term, even beyond the perception that the subject has of such situations. That is, it can happen that a person does not perceive a situation as stressful, but that situation has an objective capacity to produce damage. It would be producing a dissociation of injuries or disorders in the medium and / or long term, even beyond the perception that the subject has of these situations. That is, it can happen that a person does not perceive a situation as stressful, but that situation has an objective capacity to produce damage. It would be producing a dissociation of injuries or disorders in the medium and / or long term, beyond even the perception that the subject has of these situations. That is, it can happen that a person does not perceive a situation as stressful, but that situation has an objective capacity to produce damage. It would be producing a dissociation of response: the subjective-cognitive reactivity of the subject would be low, but the physiological-autonomic reactivity would be high. In these situations, the subject would not be aware of the excessive physiological reactivity, and if he were aware of it, he would not attribute it to the situation that triggers this important physiological response, since, if he was aware of the physiological reactivity or attributed it to that - ation, subjective and cognitively there would also be an important reactivity. Thus, there are situations capable of producing a dissociation between cognitive-subjective response and physiological response. This fact is important from the conceptual and methodological levels, but it is also important from the point of view of balance, homeostasis, integrity and health of the person in question.

Psychological threshold of stress

It is also a matter of interest. We defend the existence of a stress threshold or psychological threshold of stress, which would allow us to understand how a certain situation is perceived as distress by a person and as eustress by another person, and even how in the same person the same situation could be perceived on one occasion as distress and on another occasion as eustress. Let's see how this circumstance is possible. By psychological threshold of stress we understand that hypothetical margin that separates the susceptible situations of control of those others that escape the control of a person. That is, the psychological stress threshold would refer to an eventual protection barrier; when the intensity of the stimulus or situation facing the subject overcomes that barrier, the subject loses control of the situation and distress occurs, whereas, if the intensity of the stimulus does not overcome that protection barrier, the subject will be able to control the situation, in this case producing eustress. From the point of view of the physical and psychic health of a subject, the ideal would be that this psychological threshold of stress would be as high as possible, since in that way greater would have to be the intensity of the stimuli to overcome that threshold.

It is important to note that the psychological threshold of stress evolves over time, so that in the first moments of life of any person said threshold is very low, because this individual has hardly any response strategies to be able to solve the multiple problems that they are presented; Consequently, any stimulus, however insignificant, is capable of overcoming the incipient psychological threshold of stress of this person, provoking distress. As the age of the individual increases, the number of response strategies acquired will be greater, so that it will be more difficult for the presented stimuli to overcome this stress threshold. Therefore, this threshold is shifted upward as the subject acquires more response strategies.

It must be emphasized that this threshold can not be located at a specific point for a specific age, but that it is particular, and depends on the experiences the subject had previously had. For example, a 20-year-old individual should have a lower threshold than another 30, since the 30-year-old is supposed to have had more time to experiment on possible adaptive responses; However,

This does not have to be the case, since the circumstances of the first subject may have caused him to acquire more response strategies than the other before the same situations, which would imply that he has a higher threshold of stress. In addition, it is necessary to take into account individual physiological differences, as well as the current situation, and not only must previous experiences be considered.

This threshold rises with the experience of the subject, but it has a moment in which it stabilizes, because this individual has many strategies and has acquired many answers, and because most of the stimuli and situations that he faces are already known and possesses the appropriate skills and resources. From this moment, the threshold decreases. This does not mean that the individual loses strategies or that he has forgotten them, but physically or biologically there is a wear and tear, leaving the individual incapacitated to give an adequate adaptive response; that is, he still has the strategies, but he is unable to use them correctly.

We could suggest that there is a psychological threshold of stress for each activity that a subject performs. These specific stress thresholds are not correlated, so that a person may have a high stress threshold for one type of activity and a very low stress threshold for other activities.

In any case, it is a personal, subjective variable. Only the individual knows how far he can get on each occasion, knows what are the limits that take him from the perception of control to the loss of that control.

Acute stress and chronic stress

We could say that the essential difference between acute stress and chronic stress lies in the duration of the stressful event. Acute stress, also called phasic stress, refers to a situation of temporary pressure, of short duration, which may be very intense and capable of producing irreversible effects. For its part, chronic stress, also called tonic stress, refers to a situation of pressure that lasts over time. The degree or intensity of this pressure can also be very intense, also causing devastating effects on the individual who experiences it.

One of the most used procedures to establish the type of stress (acute or chronic) experienced by the individual is to establish the value of certain physiological parameters, specifically those related to cardiovascular functioning. In fact, the cardiac and vascular indexes are a faithful reflection of the activation, response and reactivity of the organism in situations of stress. Among the different cardiovascular parameters, it has been proven in recent times that reactivity is the one that offers the best forecasts when it comes to understanding the negative effects of stress.

So, we know today that cardiac reactivity does not present a common pattern to all organisms when they are immersed in a stressful situation, showing a variability that can be framed in three general patterns:

A first pattern in which the reactivity initially increases, producing a progressive decrease in said reactivity if the individual remains in the situation for some time.

A second pattern, in which, after an initial increase in reactivity, it is observed that it remains constant throughout the period of permanence of the individual in said situation.

A third pattern, in which the individual responds to the stressful situation with a high cardiovascular reactivity, which continues to increase gradually throughout the stressful episode.

These different patterns of cardiovascular reactivity can be associated with different probabilities of suffering disorders in general, since their repercussions for the homeostasis of the organism are different. Thus, the first of the patterns presented seems to be the most adaptive for the organism since the initial sensitization that would prepare the individual for a confrontation of the situation is followed by a gradual habituation to the latter, a necessary fact so as not to damage the organism. However, the second and third of the patterns could imply pernicious effects for the homeostasis of the organism by showing, respectively, a lack of habituation and a continuous increase of the activation (Palmero, Breva and Espinosa, 1994; Palmero, Espinosa and Breva, 1994).

In our opinion, some qualifications can be made. On the one hand, with respect to the physiological mechanism that unites certain psychosocial aspects (among them the one referred to the workplace) and cardiovascular diseases and, on the other hand, regarding stimuli or stressful situations that have been used in research.

Regarding the physiological mechanism of union between social factors and the probability of dysfunction or disease, cardiovascular reactivity seems to be the variable involved. Systematically, the investigations carried out have taken into account the magnitude of the change that occurred after the appearance of a stressor, leaving aside the relevance of the consideration of the time it takes the body to recover after the confrontation (Palmero and García-León , 1989, Palmero, Codina and Rosel, 1993). To the extent that an organism is subject to excessive activation for too long periods of time, the effects of that cardiovascular effort can be detrimental to the organism.

In addition, reactivity tends to decrease (habituation phenomenon) when the stressor is prolonged (Kelsey, 1993). However, it is also important at this point to consider the time factor. Those individuals who need a longer period of time to recover their basal levels of activation, that is, they need more time to get used to stress, they will be subjecting their cardiovascular system to a prolonged activation, and this may produce, again, negative health effects. That is, a pattern of habituation, apparently adaptive, may not be so if we take into account its duration over time (Palmero et al., 1993, Palmero, Breva et al., 1994, Palmero, Espinosa et al., 1994).

As for the type of situations used, we can not forget that the degree of perceived stress will depend on the subjective evaluation and evaluation of the individual, and these situations may be considered as harmful, threatening or challenging. In those situations that are potentially more threatening to the individual, their activation will be greater (Lazarus and Folkman, 1983). To this we must add that Type A individuals usually evaluate and assess situations as more threatening.

In the field of propensity to dysfunctions or alterations, as we have pointed out in a previous study (Palmero et al., 1993), there has been a systematic tendency to consider the greater cardiac reactivity in situations as an indicator of disease risk. of stress. Or, in other words, subjects who show greater cardiac reactivity in stress situations are those who are more likely to suffer an injury or illness.

In this frame of reference, in one of the most interesting works in the field of cardiovascular reactivity, Kelsey (1993) analyzes the different response patterns or profiles in stress situations. Taking as a starting point the theory of the dual process in which it is defended that the processes of sensitization and habituation are independent, but that they interact to determine the response of an organism in a situation of chronic stress or repeated stress, Kelsey talks about three cardiovascular response profiles: habituation, maintenance and sensitization. Recall that, in Kelsey's argument, reference is made to a situation of chronic stress, tonic, sustained stress, because what is important to appreciate is how the cardiovascular response evolves over a long period of stress.

In our modest opinion, we believe that, to determine the different patterns of cardiovascular reactivity in a stress situation, there would be two possibilities: generate a situation of acute stress, or phasic, and generate a situation of chronic stress, or tonic.

The situation of phasic stress implies the presentation of different activities to which the subject has to respond immediately. In this stress situation we present several concrete stimuli, which require a single response for each of them. The objective is for the subject to respond to each of the stimuli (the stimuli must be sufficiently separated temporarily to be able to establish the precise and concrete response of the subject to each of them). In this way, we can observe the cardiovascular response of the subject to each stimulus, which allows us to calculate the particular reactivity associated with each one of them, and establish the profile of reactivity throughout the entire task phase. 
In this particular case, we are measuring phasic reactivity.

The situation of chronic stress involves the presentation of a single activity, which requires the subject a long, elaborate response; that requires the subject a concentration and dedication sustained over a more or less extended period of time. In this type of design, we are not interested in observing or measuring the punctual and specific cardiovascular response of the subject, since the administered stimulus is unique. What we are interested in is observing and quantifying the cardiovascular response throughout the time that the task phase lasts (we assume that throughout this phase the subject will be in a situation of stress, since he is trying to solve the activity presented). We observe how the subject reacts to this sustained activity, calculating the heart rate at different times throughout the task phase, what allows us to establish the profile of this phase. In this case, we are measuring the tonic reactivity.

In both possibilities, phasic stress situation and chronic stress situation, we obtain a fundamental information to understand the subject's cardiovascular reactivity pattern when subjected to a stress situation. In both cases, we can obtain a very real information about the accommodation of the organism, of its cardiovascular system in particular, to that situation of stress. This information will be reflected in one of the following three profiles or patterns, which we already outlined at the beginning of this section.

On the one hand, a profile or pattern characterized by the progressive habituation of the cardiovascular response can occur. Specifically, it is observed that at the beginning of the task there is an increase in the cardiovascular response, as a consequence of the novelty of the stimulus, but as the task proceeds, a progressive and sustained decrease in the cardiovascular response is observed, as a consequence of the Familiarization with the stimulus.

On the other hand, a profile or pattern characterized by the maintenance, more or less constant, of the cardiovascular response can be observed. Thus, at the beginning of the task, when the stimulus appears, the usual increase occurs due to the novelty of the event. However, it is appreciated that, with small fluctuations, the cardiovascular response remains at the same levels. There is no cardiovascular habituation.

Finally, a profile or pattern may appear characterized by the progressive increase (sensitization) of the cardiovascular response. In this case, the important increase in the cardiovascular response also occurs when the stimulus occurs at the beginning of the task phase. From that moment the cardiovascular response neither diminishes (habituation) nor stabilizes (maintenance): it increases progressively. Each new stimulus (or the situation itself, if it is a chronic stress task in which there is only a stimulus for the subject to start a more or less long activity) has connotations of novelty for the subject, provoking in this cardiovascular responses become increasingly intense.

The logic, and the knowledge of the role played by catecholamines and cortisol on homeostasis and the general functioning of the organism, suggest that, of the three possible profiles or patterns of cardiovascular response, only the first of them (profile of habituation) seems healthy, because the response offered by the organism, although intense, quickly initiates a recovery of the baseline values ??prior to the stress situation. The other two profiles (maintenance and awareness) can have negative consequences for the individual's health, since the organism is subject to levels of activity that exceed its resources, causing rapid wear and tear, and increasing the likelihood that substances that are intended to protect the body become harmful.

However, there is an aspect that usually goes unnoticed. Specifically, we refer to the time it takes for an organism to recover its previous baseline values ??to the stress situation. Thus, although the cardiovascular response profile can be considered as adaptive, as there is a clear decrease in the values ??of the cardiovascular parameter studied, that is, a clear process of habituation can be seen, the variable must be taken into consideration. weather. The time it takes an organism to recover its baseline values ??prior to the stress situation is the time of action of the catecholamines and cortisol on that organism. If the recovery time is broad, the effects of these substances will also be extensive. These considerations lead us to conclude that, quite likely, The most extensive presence of these substances in the organism has potential harmful effects for the general integrity of the same; particularly, the frequent recurrence and long duration of these substances produce harmful effects on the cardiovascular system.

What we try to raise is that, although we have alluded systematically to cardiovascular reactivity as the mechanism that allows us to understand the risk of disease, we believe that, without diminishing the importance of this mechanism, we must consider another one that is also extremely important : the recovery time. In the frame of reference that involves the study of the psychophysiological dimension, the true risk of disease will be determined by the combination of the three already classical variables in psychophysiology, namely: frequency, intensity and duration. The usual thing has been to consider frequency and intensity. It has been argued that the frequent appearance of episodes of intense psychophysiological reactivity was the risk factor par excellence for the disease in general, and for cardiovascular disorders in particular. Now, although the key factor seems to be intensity, when intensity and duration are combined, the risk increases exponentially. A high intensity with a very short duration supposes a very brief moment of imbalance; but, when the imbalance diverges over time, the vulnerability of the organism is much greater. We believe that, at least in the field of cardiovascular reactivity in situations of stress, it is pertinent to consider the combination of the three above mentioned variables, that is, frequency, intensity and duration, assuming that the maximum risk occurs when the three show values elevated. The isolated consideration of any of them provides partial, biased, and even unreal information. although the key factor seems to be intensity, when intensity and duration are combined, the risk increases exponentially. A high intensity with a very short duration supposes a very brief moment of imbalance; but, when the imbalance diverges over time, the vulnerability of the organism is much greater. We believe that, at least in the field of cardiovascular reactivity in situations of stress, it is pertinent to consider the combination of the three above mentioned variables, that is, frequency, intensity and duration, assuming that the maximum risk occurs when the three show values elevated. The isolated consideration of any of them provides partial, biased, and even unreal information. although the key factor seems to be intensity, when intensity and duration are combined, the risk increases exponentially. A high intensity with a very short duration supposes a very brief moment of imbalance; but, when the imbalance diverges over time, the vulnerability of the organism is much greater. We believe that, at least in the field of cardiovascular reactivity in situations of stress, it is pertinent to consider the combination of the three above mentioned variables, that is, frequency, intensity and duration, assuming that the maximum risk occurs when the three show values elevated. The isolated consideration of any of them provides partial, biased, and even unreal information. A high intensity with a very short duration supposes a very brief moment of imbalance; but, when the imbalance diverges over time, the vulnerability of the organism is much greater. We believe that, at least in the field of cardiovascular reactivity in situations of stress, it is pertinent to consider the combination of the three above mentioned variables, that is, frequency, intensity and duration, assuming that the maximum risk occurs when the three show values elevated. The isolated consideration of any of them provides partial, biased, and even unreal information. A high intensity with a very short duration supposes a very brief moment of imbalance; but, when the imbalance diverges over time, the vulnerability of the organism is much greater. We believe that, at least in the field of cardiovascular reactivity in situations of stress, it is pertinent to consider the combination of the three above mentioned variables, that is, frequency, intensity and duration, assuming that the maximum risk occurs when the three show values elevated. The isolated consideration of any of them provides partial, biased, and even unreal information. At least in the field of cardiovascular reactivity in stress situations, it is pertinent to consider the combination of the three aforementioned variables, that is, frequency, intensity and duration, assuming that the maximum risk occurs when the three show high values. The isolated consideration of any of them provides partial, biased, and even unreal information. At least in the field of cardiovascular reactivity in stress situations, it is pertinent to consider the combination of the three aforementioned variables, that is, frequency, intensity and duration, assuming that the maximum risk occurs when the three show high values. The isolated consideration of any of them provides partial, biased, and even unreal information.

Stress and well-being

In this part of the chapter we will expose some specific applications related to the stress process, so that they can master it better, both theoretically and applied, in their daily lives, and thus recognize their presence, their triggers and their ability to manage and control it .

Stress is installed in the lives of people in different ways, also acquiring different intensities or magnitudes of expression. As we pointed out earlier, there may be some sudden stimulus of high intensity that causes stress; or it may happen that several minor and isolated events, which each of them does not have the capacity to produce stress, coincide over time and, together, achieve an intensity that exceeds the control capacity of the individual in question.

Therefore, stress may not be easily recognized, especially when its onset is slow and progressive. This is why experts classify stress at different levels.

It is essential to always remember that the accumulation of signals is an indication of the aggravation of the stress picture. That is, the more signals (even if they are small), the more intense, or the stronger the stress level. Thus, an important attitude for the control of stress is one that tries to identify the first signs, before the most serious stress is fully installed. The signs of the appearance and presence of stress can occur at various levels, as described below.

As regards the identification of stress-triggering factors, we know that, in addition to being able to identify the signs of stress, in order to face them in a more effective way, it is important to locate the source of these signals. We must look, first of all, at ourselves, and try to identify those aspects of our thoughts or our cognition that may be involved in the onset of stress.

Cognitive aspects Our own cognition can, by itself, trap us in situations of altered perception of reality and become a triggering factor for stress. For example: someone may have a perception of himself in terms of an unprepared, incompetent person, or with worse resources and / or skills than others. If this self-perception does not correspond to the reality of the situation, this person has an inadequate, improper self-perception that devalues ??him before others and before himself. If this happens, the person in question will tend to devalue their actions, to always think that what they do is not correct and that others are going to have pejorative judgments about their person. This situation will begin to generate an inappropriate, irrational cognition. Over time, This circumstance will generate stress in the person, at the beginning with less intensity, but, with the passage of time and the repetition of these perceptions, the stress will be increasing. Therefore, if we assume that our cognitions thoughts can cause us stress, the fact of identifying the cognitions we have about ourselves, as well as the evaluation we make of our capacity and our actions, becomes a very useful and important tool for the location of possible strategies of coping Affective aspects. When we are in a depressed state, without the courage to perform tasks, when we are very anxious or worried about something, when we are anxious about something that is going to happen, we are in a state of internal agitation that triggers the corporal reactions of stress . This leads us to a state of personal dissatisfaction, of discomfort, we do not find pleasure in what we do, even in things that previously gave us a lot of pleasure, we feel unmotivated: we find ourselves in a situation of stress.

Social aspects. A characteristic of the human being is that we are gregarious. We live in a group, we need the presence of other people in our lives, we want to feel loved by, and necessary for, other people in their lives. When someone has few or no social relationships, is a withdrawn person, with few friends, with little social contact. Consequently, this person will not obtain the positive consequences derived from establishing these relationships, he will feel isolated, without opportunities for social interaction, he will also have a great feeling of social isolation, which is also a generator of stress.

Our behaviors When we are stressed, our behaviors are altered, we are more active, we react more quickly and intensely to the events. That is, responses that were previously produced in a normal tone, are now more intense, more exalted. We can observe the muscles of the body and we will perceive an increase in their tonicity, there is a tendency to have them harder when we are stressed. Our verbal response is also altered: we tend to speak louder, with an altered intonation in the timbre of the voice. We also tend to do everything we usually do, but more quickly, with greater intensity. Again, we have the body prepared for the fight, and again, if this situation is maintained for a long period of time, it will cause damage to the organism.

Body functioning The next factor we have to identify is our own bodily functioning, in its physical and physiological aspects. When we are relaxed, our heart rate is slow, rhythmic, we almost do not perceive it if we do not pay attention to it. As for sweating, the same thing happens, we do not perceive it. The color of our face is also normal, no one perceives any alteration. That is, when we are not stressed, the functioning of our body is calm, normal. But, on the contrary, when we begin to feel stressed, everything changes. One of the first signs we will perceive is that the heart rate increases. We can also perceive that we sweat more than usual. The color of our face changes to a redder color. All these changes reflect what happens internally in our organism; It is a response of preparation to face the possible threats. If we were in a situation of real physical struggle, all these reactions would be very appropriate. But, in general, in our society, struggles are not physical, but are only verbal or social struggles. Although the stress reaction can be beneficial in some occasions, if it occurs chronically it can end up hurting us and becoming harmful to our health. Therefore, as a consequence of a continuous state of body preparation for the fight, we can develop generalized pains throughout the body, or more localized pains, such as neck, back, head pain, etc. All these bodily reactions increase our predisposition when it comes to suffering future physical illnesses.

Feeding. The way we feed ourselves is also an indication of whether we are in a state of stress or not. When we perceive that there has been a change in the way we eat, and in the type of food we eat, we have to investigate and ask ourselves if it is being done as a result of a state of stress. People who vary greatly in the quantity or quality of ingested food may be under the influence of a state of stress.

Dream. The number of hours we sleep and the quality of our sleep is another indication of the presence or absence of stress in our lives. If we sleep much less hours (insomnia), or many more hours, we must be attentive to it, since we may be entering a state of stress. In the same way, it is important to take into account and evaluate the quality of our sleep. A dream with nightmares, a restless sleep, the difficulties to fall asleep, the difficulties to maintain the sleep, the difficulties to get out of bed, are also signals to which we must pay attention as possible indicative of the presence of stress .

As regards the application of strategies to control stress, it is essential to act quickly, use the appropriate resources, know how to approach the solution, and protect against the potential harmful effects of the stress situation itself.

In terms of cognition, when we perceive that we have a distorted cognition of reality, that what we think about us is not compatible with what others think, that the way we evaluate ourselves is not in accordance with reality, we have that we try to get to know each other better, adequately evaluate our capabilities, our limits, establish more realistic goals in our lives, and know how to appreciate the successes we obtain. Sometimes, it is enough to do some thought exercises, directed to the concrete facts, conferring it with our habitual thoughts; other times we can try to learn to do meditation exercises, which is a good stress reliever. It may be that, for this activity, we need the help of a friend or a professional in the area.

Regarding the affective aspects, if we detect the presence of anxiety, depression or internal agitation, we must learn to use techniques of self-control and management of these disturbing variables. Several aspects can be implied here: cognitive, affective and / or behavioral. What is needed is someone, be it a friend, a relative or a professional, depending on the seriousness of what is happening to him, so that he can teach us and help us to manage self-control techniques, do relaxation exercises, meditation, etc. . As a result of proper management of such techniques, we will achieve an emotional balance and live in an internal state of tranquility.

As for the social aspects, if they are altered, to the point of provoking stress reactions, we must evaluate our social skills and, if necessary, learn new skills such as assertiveness. If we possess the necessary skills, we can seek to establish new social contacts, to receive more attention / social support, the care and affection of the people with whom we relate, and, in this way, to possess a feeling of social well-being, which reduces stress and prevents its future occurrence.

As for body functioning, it is one of the areas where we suffer most from the consequences of stress, but also one of the areas where we can act the most. When the undesirable corporal alterations derived from the presence of stress are perceived, one can, for example, walk as a way of combating them. Walking is a simple exercise, which does not require special equipment, does not depend on other people, or on schedule. We can do it whenever we want. In addition to walking, you can also initiate and progressively increase physical activities, as another way to combat stress. A more passive but highly efficient exercise to combat and prevent stress is muscle relaxation preceded by the use of deep and rhythmic breathing techniques. The combination of these actions (rhythmic breathing, relaxation and physical exercises) has the power to modify the internal production of hormones that occur in stress states. With all this we will increase the body and immune resistance, preventing and protecting us from the damages of excessive stress.

Regarding the dimension of our own behavior, when there are situations that cause us tiredness and disorganization, we must start to combat stress with a planning of the tasks to be carried out, organizing them, establishing priorities. This new way of acting will bring us as a consequence that we are able to meet the deadlines agreed or that we had not foreseen, receiving the positive consequences for the tasks completed. These positive consequences are able to reduce stress, in addition to functioning as antidotes for future occasions. As for food, if we perceive that stress is producing an alteration of the good eating pattern, we can begin by organizing our feeding schedules. , making them more regulated, trying to have a slower rhythm in the speed of intake,

jverduras - which contain more fibers - and thus reducing the intake of food with fat and without fibers. In addition to reducing stress, these habit changes will provide regular bowel function and an increase in organic resistance, preventing the future occurrence of stress.

As for sleep, it is an obvious fact that excessive stress produces disturbances. We can combat these disorders by following a strict rule in sleeping habits. For example, do not sleep during the day, try to sleep alone in our bed -never in comfortable sofas or chairs-, plan and follow a rule that we impose on a sleeping schedule. Following these guidelines, we will observe how the associated benefits make their appearance, going on to have a restful and productive sleep. Consequently, also our waking stage will be more rewarding and productive.

l Some special manifestations of stress

In this section, we will focus on two of the manifestations or areas in which the potential devastating effects that may be associated with a stress situation are most frequently and sharply appreciated. It is evident that there are many examples, or areas of application, in which perfectly profiled situations arise as situations of stress with negative effects. We have selected the following two because they represent clear examples of frequent situations in our society.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

It is a special situation that we have to pay attention to is post-traumatic stress. In this case, we appreciate that the person does not have a progressive increase in stress in their life, nor does it have a threatening event in the immediate future that puts them on alert to prevent stress, but they have experienced a situation shocking in the recent past. A situation that, due to its extraordinary intensity and rawness, has left a mark difficult to erase, making the simple memory of that situation lead the individual, immediately, to relive these events, provoking the typical reactions of a situation intense stress That experience is called post-traumatic stress.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is actually a disease, recognized as such by the International Classification of Diseases (cie) of the World Health Organization (WHO). Occurs in some people after experiencing or witnessing a dangerous event, such as an earthquake, the death of someone special, an accident, etc. From that event, the appearance of identical or similar stimuli lead the subject to live (relive) the experiences of the past.

Think, for example, of an individual who has suffered an accident at work while driving a machine. The imprint of this shocking event can be so intense that each time the subject perceives that machine, or remembers the past event, he feels the same aversive experiences as when the accident occurred. Even that aversive feeling can be so excessive that it produces in that individual a generalized aversion towards that machine (even towards all kinds of machines), which incapacitates him in the future to develop activities in which said machine is involved. or any other.

We want to emphasize one aspect, and that is the one referred to the fact that it is not necessary that the past traumatic experience has come to cause physical damage to the person in question. The experience is traumatic for what it means for the individual, even if it does not produce the effects that it could have produced. In fact, as proposed in the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States, the causes of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder refer to "experiencing or witnessing a disturbing situation and dangerous". These causes may include the following: being a victim of violence or witnessing it, the death or serious illness of a loved one, war or combat, automobile, aerial, labor accidents, etc., hurricanes, tornadoes and fires.

The symptoms of the presence of this disease, in addition to what has already been mentioned, include manifestations and signs such as the following: nightmares, memory of the event, fear / panic to reoccur, avoidance of situations similar to that of the one in the that the shocking event occurred, worry, sadness, anger, sleep disorders, among others.

Posttraumatic stress disorder can occur both in adults and children, and the sooner such a dysfunction is identified and help is sought to solve it, the faster and more efficient the solution will be. The consequences of the awkwardness related to the adequate management and control of the stress situation can imply the appearance of alterations in the psychological state of the individual in question. Applied to the workplace, these alterations can trigger the state of burnout, or exhaustion, extreme situation in which people who have a lot of stress, work too much, and, as a result, have no motivation for work. This will induce them to make mistakes in their tasks, not to obtain, or not accept as such, the natural rewards of a completed task, to lower their threshold of tolerance in their relations with their co-workers, to explosions of temperament, thus degrading the quality of their work and their lives. It is certain that these reactions and their consequences will have an impact on this person's personal life.

Whenever we are in a state of stress, especially if this state is prolonged, we suffer certain imbalances. The repetition and continuation of the physiological reactions associated with stress can produce alterations in the functioning of the organs. All the organs of the body can suffer the influence

unegative of prolonged stress. The relationship between a prolonged stress state and cardiovascular functioning is very well known. People who are in a state of prolonged stress experience an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which can induce or aggravate cardiovascular diseases. The relationship between uncontrolled stress and diseases of the gastrointestinal system is also well known. Stomach ulcers and colic are diseases that are popularly known to be associated with stress. In a general way, the state of prolonged and undesirable stress will produce a decrease in the defensive capacity of the organism, a reduction in immunological resistance, thus promoting the occurrence of diseases.

Work stress

Work is one of the important areas of our life, since in the work environment people spend (at least, they would have to spend) a large part of their daily time. In addition to providing economic resources to workers, it is convenient that the work environment also provide consequences of personal satisfaction to workers for the activity performed. When, in their work activity, whatever it is, the worker finds the two positive consequences, said individual is in a situation of balance that provides him with well-being, health and quality of life. On the contrary, when the work does not have adequate financial consequences, within the evaluation or in the scope of the worker's needs, or, When the work and its demands surpass the worker's handling capacities, this will be in a situation of work stress, with dangerous consequences for his personal health and for his productivity, with extension of these consequences to the financial health of the company. . Thus, work-related stress is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (2010) of the United States of America as "the harmful physical and emotional reactions that occur when the demands of work do not equal the capacities, resources, or needs of the worker ».

In this regard, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work proposes that stress is one of the main problems for health and safety that we face in Europe. It is estimated that a quarter of workers suffer from stress, and that more than half of sick leave is caused by a stress situation.

In the same sense, from the Valencian Institute of Safety and Health at Work, it is stated that the mental load implicit in the performance of a work activity seems to be one of the important factors to understand the deterioration and decrease of productivity in the workplace. the company, as well as the decrease in the quality of life of the worker. Among the signs, symptoms or signs that the work may be compromising the worker's health we find the same manifestations that occur in a situation of general stress: irritability, depression, lack of energy or willingness to work, headaches, insomnia, among others.

Ultimately, almost all national or international bodies that deal with the issue of work stress use a common concept, and that is the fact that the appearance of stress in the workplace is due to an interaction between the factors of work stress. work in themselves (excessive physical exertion, inappropriate ergonomic, acoustic or postural conditions, work under strong psychological demand, administrative disorganization, excessively long work shifts, inadequate rest, etc.) and the worker's personal factors (qualification for the task, skills of personal resistance to demands, skills for interpersonal relationships, etc.).

Like any situation of excessive stress, work stress can affect the health of workers, in addition to affecting their productivity and the production of the company itself. The risks to health will result in absenteeism, which can harm the company, and physical or emotional damage, which harms the worker. Among the latter, it is worth noting the physical alterations, such as headaches, stomach, back, and emotional disturbances, such as loss of motivation for work, low morality, alteration in personal and family relationships. In extreme cases, we may even have depression and exhaustion, ulcers, cancer, suicide attempts and affected immune functions (National Institutes of Mental Health, 2010).

There are some professions that, due to the high demand that they have as a characteristic of their own development, add a high pressure on the workers, producing unfailing work stress. For example, workers in the field of health, workers in charge of safety, in any of the areas to which it may apply, workers whose job continuity depends on the performance obtained over a period of time, etc.

Currently, taking into account that the world economy is going through difficult times (especially the economy of our beloved country, Spain), bearing in mind that unemployment has increased in many countries (especially in our beloved country, Spain), an additional factor appears for the production of stress among workers. The possibility that they will be fired, the possibility that their salary will be reduced, the difficulty to find a new job by the millions of people who are unemployed, the concern for the world economy, and how this can influence their personal life, add up as stress-producing factors. The American Association of Psychology, after the start of the international economic crisis, which has also had a great impact on the American economy, He prepared a publication with suggestions on how to manage stress during difficult times in the economy. (American Psychological Association, 2010.) What seems evident is that, in situations of economic crisis like the one we are experiencing at the moment, the level of education, and education, in general, of individuals represents one of the best resources to deal with this critical situation, affecting positively all the dimensions of the vital sphere of individuals, and, among them, what doubt, is also the sphere or labor dimension.