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PSYC18H3 (300)
Lecture

PSYC18H3 Lecture Notes - Angular Gyrus, Medial Frontal Gyrus, Sad Movie


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC18H3
Professor
G Cupchik

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Chapter 10 – Emotions and Cognition
- Case of Eadward Muybridge and his lack of a functioning orbitofrontal cortex, resulting in
lack of judgement and was no longer rational.
- People with these kinds of damages do not appreciate or abide by morals, norms and
conventions
- Most striking qualities of emotions is how they influence our reasoning. Philosopher Jean
Paul Sartre referred to this as magical transformation by the emotions of how we see the
world. “jaundiced eyes” or “rose-coloured glasses”
Historical perspectives on the interplay between passion and reason
- Third century BCE (Epicureans and Stoics) was that to lead a good life, emotions should be
extirpated altogether
- Philosophers have assumed that emotions are lower, less sophisticated, more primitive ways
of perceiving the world especially when juxtaposed with loftier forms of reason
- Literature on emotion-related appraisal suggests that emotions are often the product of
rather complex beliefs about real events in the world
- 1) Are emotions based on substantive beliefs? 2) Do emotions help individuals function
effectively in the social world? 3)Do emotions guide cognitive processes like perception,
attention, memory and judgment in principled, organized and constructive ways? Or do they
interfere and disrupt cognitive processes?
Emotions as prioritizers of thoughts, goals, and actions
- Idea that emotions guide cognitive processes in rational, adaptive fashion emerged as
cognitive science in 1960s
- Simon (1967) argued that emotions would be necessary in any intelligent being because
emotions set priorities among the many different goals
- E.g. Ticks do not need emotions as they function on reflexes
- E.g. Gods do not need emotions because they can anticipate everything, no need for
priorities
- Our world is different and complex. We act with purposes but our actions don’t always
produce what we anticipate. We have limitations to resources and knowledge. Sometimes
we need encouragement, to switch goals. Emotions signal for us: what to do next? Prompt
us, create and urge and a readiness.
- It is not so much that emotions are irrational, rather that when we have no fully rational
solution because we do not know enough, they offer bridges toward rationality
- Oatley and Johnson-Laird (1987, 1996) proposed that emotions have 2 kinds of signaling in
the nervous system
o1) Primary appraisal, organizational, because it rather simply sets the brain into a
ready state

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Chapter 10 – Emotions and Cognition
o2) Secondary appraisal, informational, info carried enables us to make mental models
of events and their possible causes and implications
oThe two can be dissociated: accounts for why we can have emotions with no objects
or know something but not care about it
oE.g. Fear as it spreads through the brain and body. Organizational part interrupts
ongoing action and readies physiological mechanisms. Directs attention to
environment for any sign of danger or safety. The informational part of fear is about
the thing we are frightened of
Three perspectives on the effects of emotions on cognitive functioning
- How do emotions guide thought processes?
- Emotion congruence
oGordon Bower (1981): moods and emotions are associative networks in the mind. In
memory, there are pathways devoted to each emotion, storing past experiences,
images, related concepts, labels and interpretations. When emotion is felt, all the
associations become more accessible for use. We should be better able to learn
material that is congruent with our current emotion.
oBower (1981): Participants hypnotized to feel happy or sad and then read two stories
about two students doing well and doing poorly. After calling them the next day, the
students that were happy remembered more about the student that did well and the
students that were sad remembered more about the student that did poorly
oMood-dependent effects do occur in memory and other cognitive functions, but not in
terms of a mechanism that affects all processes of percept ion and memory in the
same way. Effects depend on the tasks that participants perform, on the moods that
are induced and on who the participants are (e.g. identifying a rose will not be mood
dependent but asking participants to remember an event based on the rose may
evoke emotions)
oAffect Infusion Model of Joseph Forgas (1995): emotions infuse into a cognitive task,
and influence memory and judgement depending on the extent to which the tasks
depends on complex and constructive processing or on matters that depart from
prototypes
- Feelings as Information
oThis perspective assumes that emotions themselves are informative when we make
judgments.
oTwo assumptions:
1) Emotions provide us with a rapid signal triggered by something in the
environment
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Chapter 10 – Emotions and Cognition
2) Many judgments we make are often too complex to review all the relevant
evidence (one can seldom act with full rationality. Seldom can we fully think
through all relevant evidence and principles to arrive at justified position.
oEmotions are heuristics: guesses that work better than chance, short cuts to making
judgments or taking action
oSchwarz and Clore (1983): effects of bright sunny days and gloomy overcast days on
emotional lives
1 condition: participants simply rated their life satisfaction
2 condition: how’s the weather down there
People will use their emotions as heuristics in making judgments, except when
they attribute those feelings to a specific source. However, once again, effects
are not uniform and depend strongly on the nature of the task being performed
- Processing Style
oDifferent emotions promote different processing styles. This perspective would
suggest that when you feel guilty or angry, grateful or enthusiastic, that you are
engaging in qualitatively different forms of reasoning
oPositive mood facilitates use of already existing knowledge structures, such as
heuristics & stereotypes
oNegative moods (esp. sadness) facilitates more analytical thought and attention to
situational details
If people feel sad, less likely (than angry)to rely on stereotypes when making
social judgments
Stereotypes are automatic, effort-saving tools for judging others
oAlice Isen (1987) suggested that happiness prompts people to think in ways that are
flexible and creative
Priming participants to be in happy or neutral mood and then having them
solve a problem
Happy mood seems to enable the imagination to explore further with fewer
constraints and assumptions.
oHappiness has been found to prompt people to aim for higher goal
oBarbara Frederickson has argued that the overarching function of positive emotions is
to broaden and build our resources. Positive emotions broaden our thought
repertoires, enabling more creative and flexible thought
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