Emotion Appears To Be Generated in REM Sleep in the Absence of Sensory Input. How Does This Finding Fit with Your Stimulus-Response Model of Emotion?
Emotions are generally thought of as states of the brain and body elicited by specific stimuli. Fear occurs when we encounter something threatening or dangerous. Rotten food elicits disgust. Sexual arousal occurs in the presence of appropriate partners. Stimuli that elicit emotions are said to have emotional potency or emotional competence. While it is easiest to study emotions elicited by stimuli in the external environment, emotions can also be elicited internally by thoughts and images, and presumably by such internal stimulation during dreams as well.