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General Psychology: Emotion

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Emotion
Chapter 11
William G. Huitt
Last revised: May 2005
Summary
• A human being is inherently
– biological.
– conditioned by the environment.
– gathering data about the world through the
senses and organizing that data
What and Why of Emotions
• A subjective sensation experienced as a
type of psycho-physiological arousal
• Result from the interaction of
– perception of environmental stimuli
– neural & hormonal responses to perceptions
(feelings)
– a cognitive appraisal of the situation
arousing the state
– an outward expression of the state
What is the Value of Emotion?
Emotions
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
determine personal viability
prepare us for action
shape our behavior (emotions are reinforcing)
regulate social interaction
facilitate communication nonverbally
facilitate adult-child relations and thus development
make life worth living by adding value to experience
allow us to respond flexibly to our environment
(approaching good, avoiding bad)
What is the Value of Emotion?
Emotions
–
–
–
–
–
largely a conscious phenomena
involve more bodily manifestations than other
conscious states
vary along a number of dimensions: intensity, type,
origin, arousal, value, self-regulation, etc.
are reputed to be “antagonists of rationality.”
have a central place in moral education and moral
life through conscience, empathy, and many specific
moral emotions such as shame, guilt, and remorse;
inextrictably linked to moral virtues
See de Sousa, R. (2003). Emotion. The Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/emotion/
Theories of Emotions
• Theories of emotion
– James-Lange theory of emotion
• The theory that emotional feelings result when
an individual becomes aware of a physiological
response to an emotion-provoking stimulus
Theories of Emotions
Theories of Emotions
• Theories of emotion
– James-Lange theory of emotion
• The theory that emotional feelings result when
an individual becomes aware of a physiological
response to an emotion-provoking stimulus
• Requires separate and distinct physiological
activity for each emotion
Theories of Emotions
• Theories of emotion
– Cannon-Bard theory of emotion
• The theory that an emotion-provoking
stimulus is transmitted simultaneously to the
cortex, providing the feeling of emotion, and
to the sympathetic nervous system, causing
the physiological arousal
Theories of Emotions
Theories of Emotions
• Theories of emotion
– Cannon-Bard theory of emotion
• The theory that an emotion-provoking
stimulus is transmitted simultaneously to the
cortex, providing the feeling of emotion, and
to the sympathetic nervous system, causing
the physiological arousal
• Cognitive labeling and action would follow
consciousness of feeling and physiological
arousal
Theories of Emotions
• Theories of emotion
– Schachter-Singer theory of emotion
• A two-stage theory stating that for an emotion to
occur, there must be (1) physiological arousal
and (2) an explanation for the arousal
Theories of Emotions
Theories of Emotions
• Theories of emotion
– Schachter-Singer theory of emotion
• A two-stage theory stating that for an emotion to
occur, there must be (1) physiological arousal
and (2) an explanation for the arousal
• Accounts for subjective interpretation
• Does not account for specific physiological states
associated with some emotions
Theories of Emotions
• Theories of emotion
– Lazarus theory of emotion
• The theory that an emotion-provoking stimulus
triggers a cognitive appraisal, which is followed
by the emotion and the physiological arousal
• Three aspects of appraisal
– Primary (relevance)
– Secondary (options)
– Reappraisal (anything changed)
Three Ways to Measure Emotion
• Body/Physical
– blood pressure
– heart rate
– adrenaline levels
– muscle activity when smiling, frowning, etc.
– neural images
– posture
– tears,
– perspiration
– lie detector readings
Three Ways to Measure Emotion
• Thoughts (observed indirectly through)
– spoken and written words on rating scales
– answers to open-ended questions on surveys and
during interviews
– responses to projective instruments, sentence
stems, etc.
– self-assessments or perceptions regarding the
behavior and intentions of others
– other cognitive operations such as rational/logical
thinking
Three Ways to Measure Emotion
• Behavior
– facial expressions
– aggression
– activity level
– approach/avoidance
– alertness
– attention/distraction
– screaming
– insomnia
– laughing
– anhedonia
– smiling
Emotion and the Brain
• Emotion associated with
the limbic system
• The brain structure most
closely associated with
fear is the amygdala
• When the emotion of fear
first materializes, much of
the brain’s processing is
nonconscious
Emotion and the Brain
• Researchers using electroencephalographs to track mood changes
have found that reductions in both
anxiety and depression are associated
with a shift in electrical activity from the
left to the right side of the brain
Basic Emotions
• Paul Ekman and Carroll Izard
– Insist that there are a limited number of basic emotions
• Basic emotions
– Emotions that are found in all cultures, that are reflected in the
same facial expressions across cultures, and that emerge in
children according to their biological timetable
• Ekman
– Suggested considering emotions as families
– The anger family might range from annoyed to irritated, angry,
livid, and, finally, enraged
– If perceived as a family, anger should also include various
forms of its expression
Plutchik
Three-dimensional Circumplex Model
Protypical Behavior
Expression of Emotion
• Range of emotion
– Ekman and Friesen
• Claim there are subtle distinctions in the facial expression
of a single emotion that convey its intensity
• Development of facial expressions
– Like the motor skills of crawling and walking, facial
expressions of emotions develop according to a
biological timetable of maturation
– Consistency of emotional development across
individual infants and across cultures supports the
idea that emotional expression is inborn
Expression of Emotion
• Universality of facial expressions
– Charles Darwin
• First to study the relationship between emotions and facial
expressions
• Believed that the facial expression of emotion was an aid to
survival because it enabled people to communicate their
internal states and react to emergencies before they
developed language
• Maintained that most emotions, and the facial expressions
that convey them, are genetically inherited and
characteristic of the entire human species
• Concluded that facial expressions were similar across
cultures
Expression of Emotion
• Universality of facial expressions
– Scherer and Wallbott
• Found very extensive overlap in the patterns of emotional
experiences reported across cultures in 37 different
counties on 5 continents
• Also found important cultural differences in the ways
emotions are elicited and regulated and in how they are
shared socially
Expression of Emotion
• Cultural rules for displaying emotion
– Display rule
• Cultural rules that dictate how emotions should be
expressed and when and where their expression is
appropriate
– Often, a society’s display rules require people to
give evidence of certain emotions that they may not
actually feel or to disguise their true feelings
– Cole
• Found that 3-year-old girls, when given an unattractive gift,
smiled nevertheless
• They had already learned a display rule and signaled an
emotion they very likely did not feel
Expression of Emotion
• Cultural rules for displaying emotion
– Davis
• Found that among first to third graders, girls were better
able to hide disappointment than boys were
– Not only can emotions be displayed but not felt, they
can also be felt but not displayed
– Most of us learn display rules very early and abide
by them most of the time
Experiencing Emotion
• Facial-feedback hypothesis
– Sylvan Tomkins
• Claimed that the facial expression itself – that is, the
movement of the facial muscles producing the expression –
triggers both the physiological arousal and the conscious
feeling associated with the emotion
– Facial-feedback hypothesis
• The idea that the muscular movements involved in certain
facial expressions trigger the corresponding emotions
Experiencing Emotion
• Facial-feedback hypothesis
– Ekman and colleagues
• Documented the effects of facial expressions on
physiological indicators of emotion using 16 participants
• Reported that a distinctive physiological response pattern
emerged for the emotions of fear, sadness, anger, and
disgust, whether the participants relived one of their
emotional experiences or simply made the corresponding
facial expression
• Researcher found that both anger and fear accelerate
heart rate, but fear produces colder fingers than does
anger
Experiencing Emotion
• Facial-feedback hypothesis
– Izard
• Believes that learning to self-regulate emotional expression
can help in controlling emotions
• Proposes that this approach to the regulation of emotion
might be a useful adjunct to psychotherapy
• Gender differences in experiencing emotion
– David Buss
• Has reported that women are far more likely to feel anger
when their partner is sexually aggressive
• Men experience greater anger than women when their
partner withholds sex
Experiencing Emotion
• Gender differences in experiencing emotion
– Research by evolutionary psychologists also
suggests clear and consistent differences between
the sexes concerning feelings of jealousy
• Men, more than women, experience jealousy over
evidence or suspicions of sexual infidelity
• A women is more likely than a man to be jealous of her
partner’s emotional attachment and commitment to another
and over the attention, time, and resources diverted from
the relationship
Experiencing Emotion
• Emotion and cognition
– Emotion allows us to detect risk more quickly than
we could with rational thought alone
– It is possible that the anger-optimism link arises
from confidence, whether justified or not, in concrete
measures directed towards people who are
perceived as potentially threatening
Fostering Emotional Functioning
• Emotional understanding
– discern one’s own emotional states
– discern other’s emotional states
– properly use emotional vocabulary.
Fostering Emotional Functioning
• Emotional expression
– use of gestures to display emotional
messages nonverbally
– demonstrate empathy by connecting one’s
emotions to those of others
– display both self-conscious as well as
complex social emotions
– Distinguishing between experiencing an
emotion and action
Fostering Emotional Functioning
• Emotional regulation and management
– coping with both pleasurable and
aversive/distressing emotions
– regulation of those situations that elicit
emotions
– ability to use an experience to strategically
organize the experience in terms of setting
goals and learning to motivate oneself and
others
Triangular Theory of Love
• Robert Sternberg’s theory that three
components – intimacy, passion, and
decision/commitment – singly and in various
combinations produce seven different kinds of
love:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Liking (I)
Infatuated love (P)
Empty love (C)
Romantic love (I, P)
Fatuous love (C, P)
Companionate love (C, I)
Consummate love (I, C, P)
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