Chapter 9- Emotion

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10 Apr 2012

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Chapter 9 - Emotion
Module 9.1 Emotion
o Plato: thought head was for reason, liver for desire and heart for anger
o Aristotle: changes in heart temperature were changes in emotional state; passion is instinctive
emotion is with intellect too
What is Emotion?
A Definition of Emotion
o Emotional states: the physical sensation of emotion and the cognitive experience or feeling of
emotion itself
Emotions: the physiological changes in the body
Feelings: the cognitive experience of emotions
Both processed in distinct neural circuit which work together
Perceived by monitoring physiological change in bodies and self monitor subjective cognitive
Emotional states produce internal and external behaviours and can provoke emotional
states in others
Basic Emotional States
o Darwin: expression of emotions in man and animals: suggested there are universal emotional
states, evolved from similar expression in non humans and have adaptive value however, he did
not do cross cultural studies and did not suggest it was localized in the brain
o Ekman and Friesen: tested the Fore people and found they were accurate in matching faces with
stories and attributing emotional states to photographs and made similar expressions to
Has been replicated; babies as young as 4 months appear to evaluate emotional expression
of others
o Basic Emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust
Seven elements of basic emotional state
Distinctive facial expression
Distinctive physiological state
Facial expression and physiological state occur together and are hard to separate
Instantaneous onset of both which lasts only for brief duration
Distinctive eliciting stimuli
Automatic appraisal of eliciting stimuli
Similar expression of emotional states in the related primates
However there are some valid emotions without facial expression ex. Jealousy greed ; may
be as these states are better kept private
Other possibilities: awe, contempt, embarrassment, excitement, guilt, interest, shame, and
The Adaptive Value of Emotional States
o Common phobias and fears are elicited by stimuli that are relevant to survival ex. Snakes
o Emotions may motivate us to perform adaptive behaviours ex. Fear of speaking in public
o Act as signals to ensure that behaviours do or do not occur appropriately ex. In social situations
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o Detecting emotions in others and the self serves a predictive function to help organism avoid
negative situations and take advantage of positive ones
o Also see emotions in other species
Theories of Emotional States
o Valid theory should be able to describe the neural substrates of the cognitive, affective and
physiological components of emotional state as well as describing the areas of the brain that
interact to produce the emotional state
o Emotional state can include verbal response, expressive behaviour, physical response,
physiological response
James-Lange Theory
o Stimulus-> physiological response (emotion) -> cognitive experience (feeling)
o Emotional stimuli automatically and unconsciously evoke physiological responses that are then
interpreted as conscious thought that matches the experience
o Evidence
Some specific states are associated with specific autonomic, endocrine, and behavioural
When make a facial expression you interpret events on the basis of the expression
People who cant consciously monitor their emotions have decreased intensity of emotions
Cannon-Bard Theory
o Stimulus-> activation of thalamus -> cognitive experience (feeling) + physiological response
o An emotion inducing stimulus activates the thalamus which activates both the cortex for
cognitions and hypothalamus for releasing hormones for autonomic physiological emotional
People who cant experience physiological changes can still express and experience emotion
Physiological states are also not unique ex. Sweating nausea for fear and flu
Schachter-Singer Theory
o Stimulus-> physiological arousal -> cognitive appraisal of situation -> feeling
o Emotionally provocative stimulus results in physiological arousal which results in cognitive
appraisal of situation and then feeling
Degree of arousal is correlated with degree to which individual experiences emotional state
Did experiment to determine whether same state of arousal could be affected by situational
Experiment is inconclusive because control group did not report being less emotionally
aroused and doesnt have good replication
Theory is supported by the bridge experiment
The Somatic Marker Theory
o Emotionally provocative stimulus-> Physiological arousal + implicit appraisal Somatic marker> feeling ->
o Antonio Damasio
o Somatic markers: means by which our brain evaluates novel situations on the basis of previous
experiences; implicit
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