Psych 100 Emotion & Motivation November 6 , 2012
10.1 How do we experience emotions?
o Distinguish between primary and secondary emotions.
o Compare and contrast the James-Lange, Cannon-Bard, and Schachter-Singer two-factor
theories of emotion.
o Discuss the roles that the amygdala and prefrontal cortex play in emotional experience.
o Define misattribution of arousal and excitation transfer.
o Discuss common strategies that people use to regulate their emotional states.
The term emotion and mood are often used interchangeably in everyday language, but it is useful to
distinguish between them.
Emotion (affect): feelings that involve subjective evaluation, physiological processes, and
cognitive beliefs. Emotions typically interrupt whatever is happening, or trigger changes in thought and
o Subjective experience: feelings that accompany an emotion
o Physical changes: increases in heart rate, in skin temperature, and in brain activation.
o Cognitive appraisals: people’s beliefs and understandings about why they feel the way
Emotions are the spice of life, makes life worth living. You’re able to enjoy certain aspects of your life.
What is the link between emotion and motivation?
Clearly emotions will lead to motivations. Motivations arise from a strong emotion.
Mood: diffuse, long-lasting emotional states. Rather than interrupting what is happening, they
influence thought and behaviour.
can start with an emotion…
Emotions have a subjective component
We experience emotions subjectively; we know we are experiencing emotions because we feel them.
The intensity of emotional reactions varies but people who are overemotional or under emotional tend to
have psychological problems, for example:
o Mood disorders: such depression or panic attacks;
o Alexithymia: this disorder causes people to not experience the subjective components of
emotions, e.g. Elliot.
One cause of the alexithymia is that the physiological messages associated with emotions do not reach
the brain centers that interpret emotion.
Damage to certain brain regions, especially the prefrontal cortex, is associated with a loss of emotion’s
subjective component. Distinguishing between types of emotions
Distinguishing between primary and secondary emotions is conceptually similar to viewing colour as
consisting of primary and secondary hues:
o Primary emotions: emotions that are evolutionarily adaptive, shared across cultures, and
associated with specific physical states.
o Secondary emotions: blends of primary emotions. They include remorse, guilt,
submission, and anticipation.
If the emotion motivates you to do something, you’re going to do something to get away from the
What about the positive emotion?
Happiness by itself, motivation that you get from that is “keep doing what you’re doing” but that’s
differentiated but not necessitating a motivation to do something about that…. Doesn’t require you to
engage in further action.
Culture and emotional variation
Culture determines what people feel angry, sad, lonely, happy, ashamed, or disgusted about.
Some cultures have words for specific emotions unknown to other cultures.
Some cultures don’t have words for emotions that seem universal to others.
Ex. Tahitian and sadness
Differences in secondary emotions appear to be reflected in differences in languages.
The Circumplex model
At the center of the Circumplex model is the intersection of two core dimensions of affect:
Valence indicates how negative or positive emotions are; activation indicates how arousing they are.
Arousal: physiological activation (such as increased brain activity) or increased aut