Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Sometimes a trigger will create an emotion one day, but later the same stimuli will not
evoke the same emotion. Mental constructions also has a significant impact. For example, if
you are pushed over you feel angry. But if you then see the person who pushed you was a
stumbling person on crutches, your anger dissipates.
Example of the video clip of the girl getting rejected.
Slide with 6 different facial expressions (not in power point)
It is thought that there are 6 emotions that are basic in the sense that they are associated
with recognizable facial displays. These facial displays are cross-cultural.
These emotions are fear, surprise, happiness, anger, disgust and sadness.
In emotion theory, pain is not considered to be an emotion.
Aside: sadness seems to trigger pro-social behaviour; people often approach people who are
Interesting is that out of 6 basic emotions, only one of them is positive. The repertoire of
negative emotions that people experience seem to be greater than positive ones.
What is emotion?
These three words have overlapping meaning. At one point mood and emotion were used
for the same thing, but now they are distinguished. Emotions are things that you are clearly
aware of; when you have a conscious experience of a distinct emotion or feeling. Moods are
not as specific in terms of their feeling state and the degree to which they are linked to a
certain event. It is positive or negative; a general feeling state, and you will often not really
be aware exactly where it came from. Affect refers to the automatic response that
something is good or bad (eg: meeting someone for the first time and something about them
turns you right off; the feeling was instantaneous). These things occur very rapidly in ways
that we might not even be aware of.
What is emotion (2)
Emotions are what we will call conscious experience.
How people have tried to make sense of emotion. The first comprehensive model was
James-Lange’s theory. Their theory says that your body reacts to a stimulus, your body
makes sense of it, and then what the body decides is the emotion that you will experience.
Each emotion has a distinct physiological stimulus. When this theory was proposed, it was
impossible to show that they were not right (it was during the early 1900s, and we did not
have the technology needed to look at physiological responses from one emotion to the
next). In the 20th century, we have better brain imaging, and it was shown that, for example, anger and fear looks the same physiologically. Because of this, people suggested
that maybe there were other factors involved in the experience of emotion that did not have
to do with the signature of physiological responses.
Researchers began to argue that one of the things different between fear and anger is facial
configuration. So maybe it is not just physiological feedback that is important, but different
facial muscles, etc. So this facial configuration could feed back on you and give you a sense
of the emotion that you are experiencing.
Slide with picture of girl
Asked people to hold a pen in your teeth, or wrap your lips around it. This assumes facial
configurations close to happiness or sadness. Just having facial configurations in this way,
this was enough to evoke emotions. Therefore we use feedback from our body to infer the
emotion we are experiencing.
Slide that starts “My theory…” (quote)
Basically suggesting that the emotion is the final cognitive reflection in what has already
occurred physiologically to you.
James-Langue hypothesis. This was considered the dominant model by which emotions
were experienced until it became clear that we would not be likely to find physiological
signals for emotions.
Same as James-Lange, instead they changed the order of things you experience. They
suggested that the thalamus (experiencing the stimulus) sends information simultaneously
to different parts of your system so that you will produce a physiological arousal and
emotional experience at the same time.
Thalamus hypothalamus gives rise to the physiological cues, and thalamus cortex gives
rise to the experience of the emotion.
New hypothesis. Emphasized is the stimulus reactivity of emotion. Looking at other species,
you can be fairly specific when describing the nature of the stimulus important to create an
emotional reaction. With humans, it is more difficult to do this. Certain things will explain
the emotions of some human beings, while others will not react that way at all.
Brought more cognition into the arousal of emotion. These are more mechanistic and tied to
certain stimuli or environmental cues that develops homogeneity with what people
experience. They looked at in what ways did cognition play roles in how we experience
certain situations (to explain away differences between people). They claim that people look to the environment around them for clues about what kind of emotion they are
experiencing (unlike James-Lange, who said that you look inside for physiological cues).
Their experiments: they give you adrenaline (where you thought you took vitamins), and
then they put either a pleasant or annoying person with you. They showed that you can
have the same physiological state, but depending on your environment you will be labell