Emotion 1: Emotional cause and effect

Emotional cause and effect

Looping loops

In an emotion-behaviour loop, a trigger causes an emotion which causes a behaviour... which often creates a new trigger.

In this way, loops create a chain of cause and effect.

If you think about your own experiences in life, you will probably see these chained loops happening all the time, whether or not you’re aware of them in the moment.

How does it look in a story when one loop leads to the next?

What are the emotion-behaviour loops?


Let’s return to our scene from Usagi Yojimbo.

Depending on how you count them, there are 2 or 3 loops in this spread. 

Can you find them, and can you identify the trigger, emotion, and behaviour for each one?

(Remember you don't need to write an essay—study the spread, find the loops, and then jot down some notes.)

Spread from Usagi Yojimbo comic in which Susan-o leaves to find a serpent is startled by it in the woods is terrified but then fights back

Your turn
Discussing your answers

You can see how each loop leads to the next.

This is life in general and story in particular: a continual series of cause and effect loops. 

One thing about an action scene like this: the loops can happen fast because the time between action and reaction is short.

Here’s another example from Raina Telgemeier's Drama in which the loops are more stretched out:

Panel from Drama comic in which Callie asks how Greg is doing but he blows her off because his ex-girlfriend is talking to him again

Continuation of spread in which Greg talks about his ex and Callie leaves upset

Your turn
Discussing your answers


In the last example we ran into this problem of point of view.

Let's take a closer look at this issue of point of view and understanding whose loop we are talking about at any given moment.

Like what you see?

You’re not logged in!

If you want to save your writing, login and either assign this lesson to yourself or access it via your class.