I agree with various philosophers, psychologists, and neurologists who suggest that there are three factors, dimensions, or what I prefer to call domains of the mind:
Affective Domain (emotions) is part of our transgenerational guidance system of ancient knowledge, our daily interactions as we respond emotionally to our environment, and those painful past buried emotional experiences. There are different writers who will categorize emotions differently. However, for this writer I recognize the five core human emotions of fear, anger, sadness, jealousy, and happiness. I indicate that there is an evolutionary nature to our emotions. Daniel Goleman said, “evolution has given emotions such a central role in the human psyche.” (1995) Viewed from an evolutionary perspective, emotions link us to the Animal Kingdom, especially as they relate to our Mammalian Brain. Evolution has given our emotions a role to help us realize if our motivational needs are being met or not being met. Emotional experiences can help us move towards satisfying unmet needs. This emotional guidance role includes the deeper motivational need of emotions themselves —> i. e. are we truly experiencing, understanding, and accurately expressing our emotions as they surface? Emotions are a quintessential element for any experience we have, and they are a major part of the way we perceive reality.
Cognitive Domain (thinking) is important for human development, but it is our emotions that set the stage for cognitive development. Heart-predates-head! The Neocortex has brought us the Atomic Age, but our emotional brain vastly precedes the new brain and is still functioning at a Stone Age safety/survival reaction. It is by way of the Stone Age brain we initially experience the reality of the world around us. It is by way of the Neocortex we attempt to interpret the world of these experiences. Neuroscience research indicates that it is the orbitofrontal cortex of our brain (frontal lobe) that attempts to cognitively interpret emotions into feelings. The Cognitive Domain is complex because there are various levels of thinking, perceiving, and interacting with the world we inhabit.
Conative Domain comes from the Latin conatus meaning natural impulse, desire, or need. The Conative Domain really has three components: 1.) motivational component concerns our instinctual desires or needs, 2.) volitional component involves a striving that is energizing and is goal-directed towards satisfying our needs, enhancing balance, and bringing meaning to life, and 3.) behavioral component is the intentional actions we take to fulfill our desires and needs. The behavioral component acts on one’s vision and mission. The Conative Domain components of motivation, volition, and behavior are major ingredients and play crucial roles in my Theory of Balanceology and the Balancetherapy Treatment Model.
Domain Interactions – What I have most tried to keep in mind and get a handle on is the interactive ingredient and the significant neuro-interconnections of all three domains. That is, none of the domains completely stand alone. For example, the Affective Domain interacts with the Conative Domain by sending signals when certain needs are not being satisfied. And, the Cognitive Domain attempts to interpret the emotions coming from the Affective Domain into feelings. I have methodically taken a great amount of time, real effort, and practice to directly experience these domains and try to understand how and where they interact. I have tried to experience and understand where the three domainsoverlap and complement one another.