Chapter 12- Emotion

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A response of the whole organism, involving (1) physiological arousal, (2) expressive behaviors, and (3) conscious experience.

James- Lange Theory

the theory that our experience of emotion is our awareness of our physiological responses to emotion-arousing stimuli

Cannon Bard Theory

the theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers (1) physiological responses and (2) the subjective experience of emotion

two-factor theory

Schachter’s theory that to experience emotion one must (1) be physically aroused and (2) cognitively label the arousal

Identify the three components of emtoins, and contrast the James- Lange, Cannon-Bard, and two factor theories of emotion.

The three components of emotion are (1) physiological arousal, (2) expressive behaviors, and (3) conscious experience. William James and Carl Lange proposed that we feel emotion after we notice our physiological responses. Walter Cannon and Philip Bard believed that we feel emotion at the same time that our bodies respond. Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer’s two factor theory of emotion focused on the interplay of thinking and feeling, not on the timing of feelings. They proposed that emotions have two components, physical arousal and a cognitive label.

arousal and performance

performance peaks at lower levels of arousal for difficult tasks, and a higher levels for easy or well learned tasks. Teaching students how to relax before exams to peak for performance.

emotional arousal

elated excitement and panicky fear involve similar physiological arousal, that allows us to flop rapidly between that two emotions

spillover effect

arousal from a soccer match or a protest can fuel anger, which can descend into rioting or other violent confrontations.

the brains shortcut for emotions

sensory input may be routed directly to the amygdala via the thalamus or an instant emotional reaction and to the cortex for analysis.

two routes of emotion

Zajonc and LeDoux emphasize that some emotional responses are immediate, before any conscious appraisal. Lazarus, Schachter, and Singer emphasized that our appraisal and labeling of events also determines our emotional responses.

The role of ANS during emotional arousal

The ANS controls arousal. Its sympathetic division mobilizes us for action by directing adrenals to release stress hormones, which in turn increase heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, and by triggering other defensive physical reactions. The parasympathetic division calms us after a crisis has passed, though arousal diminished gradually.

Relationship between arousal and performance

Very high or very low arousal can be disruptive. We perform best when arousal is moderate, though this varies with the difficulty of the task. For easy or well-learned tasks, best performance is linked to high arousal. For difficult tasks, performance peaks at lower levels.

Three emotions that involve similar physiological arousal

We display similar physiological arousal during fear, anger, and sexual arousal. Observers would have trouble discerning these states from measuring physiological responses alone, but our emotional experiences (and sometimes our facial expressions) differ during these three states.

Describe some physiological and brain pattern indicators of specific emotions

there is a link between some emotions and minute movements of muscles in the brow (during fear) and cheeks (during joy) and under the eyes during joy. Brain scans also show increased activity in the amygdala during fear. Differences also appear in the brain’s corticol areas. Negative emotions (disgust, for example) trigger more activity in the right PFC, whereas positive moods (enthusiasm, for example) register in the left frontal lobe, which has a rich supply of dopamine receptors.

How the spillover effect influences our experience of emotions

The spillover effect occurs when our arousal from one event influences our response to other events. Arousal feuls emotion; cognition channels it.

Distinguish the two alternative pathways that sensory stimuli may travel when triggering an emotional response

Emotional responses are immediate when sensory input goes directly to the amygdala via the thalamus, bypassing the cortex, triggering a rapid reaction that is often outside our concious awareness. Responses to complex emotions such as guilt happiness and love require interpretation and are routed along the slower route to the cortex for analysis.

radar for threats- an angry face pops out

people more readily spotted images of threat-relevant snakes than of flowers

Experience influences how we perceive emotions

physically abused children were more likely than nonabused children to perceive the face as angry

gender and expressiveness

women show much more emotions on their faces even though both genders report the same amount of emotion

Gender differences in perceiving and communicating emotions

Women generally are better than men at reading people’s emotinal cues, including those displayed during deception. Women also give more detailed descriptions of their emotional reactions, more readily describe themselves as emotional, and express empathy more often, in words and in their facial expressions. Women surpass men in conveying happiness, but men communicate anger better.

Discuss the culture specific and culturally universal aspects of emotional expressions, and explain how emotional expressions could enhance survival

the meaning of gestures varies with culture, but many facial expressions, such as those of happiness and fear, are found all over the world (an among children blind from birth), indicating that these expressions are culturally universal aspects of emotion. Cultures differ in the amount of emotional expression they consider acceptable. In prelinguistic, prehistoric times, emotional expressions could have enhanced survival by enabling emotional communication or threats, greetings, and submission.

discuss the facial feedback and behavior feedback phenomena, and give an example of each

The facial feedback hypothesis proposes that expressions amplify our emotions by activating muscles associated with specifice states, and the muscles signal the body to respond as though we were experiencing those states. Thus, when we stimulate the facial expressions normally associated with happiness, we feel happier. Similarly, the behavior feedback hypothesis assumes that if we move our body as we would when experiencing some emotion (shuffling down with downcast eyes, as when sad) we are likely to feel that emotion to some degree.


emotional release. the catharsis hypothesis maintains that releasing aggressive energy (through action or fantasy) relieves aggressive urges.

Feel good do good phenomenon

people’s tendency to be helpful when already in a good mood.

subjective well being

self-perceived happiness or satisfaction with life. Used along with measures of objective well-being (for example, physical and economic indicators) to evaluate people’s quality of life.

adaptive level phenomenon

our tendency to form judgements relative to a neutral level defined by our prior experience

relative deprivation

the perception that one is worse off relative to those with whom one compares oneself

Name several basic emotions, and describe two dimensions psychologists use to differentiate emotions

Carroll Izard’s research found the 10 basic emotions of joy, interest- excitement, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shame, and guilt. Some psychologists believe that pride and love may also be basic emotions. Emotions can be placed along two dimensions :arousal (high vs.low) and valence (pleasant, or positive, versus unpleasant, or negative).

State two ways we learn our fears

What we learn through experience best explains the variety of human fears. We learn specific fears through conditioning and through observational learning

Identify some common triggers and consequences of anger, and assess the catharis hypothesis

Frustrating or insulting actions we interpret as willful, unjustified, and andavoidable may evoke anger. Research does not support the catharsis hypothesis. Venting rage may calm us temporarily, but in the long run it does not reduce anger and may actually amplify it. Anger is better handled by waiting until the level of physical arousal diminishes, calming oneself, and expressing grievances in way that promote reconciliation rather than retaliation. When reconciliation fails, forgiveness can reduce one’s anger and its physical symptoms.

Discuss some of the daily and longer term variations in the duration of emotions

Negative emotion is highest just after we wake up and before we go to sleep. Positive emotion rises gradually, peaking about seven hours after we rise, then falls gradually. The moods triggered by the day’s good or bad events seldom last beyond that day. Even significant bad events dont ruin our happiness for long.

Relationship between affluence and happiness

At a basic level money helps us avoid pain by enabling better nutrition, health care, education, and science, and these in turn increase happiness. Increases in wealth can also increase happiness in the short term. But in the longer term, research does not show an increase in happiness accompanying affluence at either the individual or national level.

Describe how adaptation and relative deprivation affect our appraisals of our achievements.

the adaptation-level phenomenon is our tendency to assess stimuli (including material possessions) by contrasting them with a neutral level that changes with our experience. The relative deprivation principle is our perception that we are less well off than others that we compare ourselves to. Thus, happiness is relative to our past experiences and comparing ourselves to others.

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