- Emotions are private so they are inferred
- Emotional states = emotions (physiological changes in body) and feelings (cognitive
experience of emotions)
Basic emotional states
- Charles Darwin’s “The expression of the emotions in man and animals” suggested
emotions occur innately and not learnt. Theorized it is similar in nonhuman animals and
o But he didn’t perform cross-cultural observations and didn’t suggest it was
localized in brain
- Ekman studied Fore tribe in New Guinea. Found they were accurate in matching faces
with stories and attributing emotional states to expressions in photographs
- There are universal basics. But can’t agree on which emotions are basic. Researchers
suggest happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust
- Some say they aren’t emotions but reflexes
- Ekman’s 7 elements of emotional state:
o Distinctive facial expression
o Distinctive physiological state
o Facial expressions and physiological states that occur together and are relatively
difficult to separate
o Almost instaneous onset of facial expressions and physiological state, lasts for
o Distinctive eliciting stimuli
o Automatic appraisal of eliciting stimuli, not a result of deliberate cognitive
appraisal . not desired or deliberate, automatic
o Similar expressions of emotional states in related primates
- There might be additional basic emotiona states – awe, contempt, emabarssment,
excitement, guilt, interest, shame and surprise
- Difficuly attirbtuing emotional states to nonverbal individuals like other primates and
The adaptive value of emotional states
- Some emotions are learned responses to situations
- Phobias and fears elicited by stimuli relevant to survival. Eg. Fear of snakes and spider
- Social anxiety adaptive because there’s desire to be liked by other members of group
- Some emotions less salient. Eg. Jealousy. Because it’s not adaptive to signal to people
- Individuals examining emotional faces tend to experience similar emotions and mimic
face observing. Therefore emotional faces act as signals to observer
- Same goes with animals Theories of emotional states
- A valid theory should be able to describe neural substrates of cognitive, affective and
physiological copnoents of emotional states as well as how these areas of brain interact
- No one theory emphasizes same relationships between emotions and feelings.
- Cognitive emotional states secondary to physiological response
- Stimulus physiological response cognitive experience or feeling
- Eg. When particiaptsn make emotional facial expression they tend to interpret neutral
events as happy. Those who can’t consciously monitor their autonomic responses
experience decrease intensity of emotions
o However, spinal cord not only way of information from periphery to reach CNS.
Vagus nerve also sends information to brain.
- Cognitive aspects appear to quick to be result from monitoring physiological responses
- Cognitive aspects of affect could be when individuals could not sense physiological
- Animals who had spinal cord severed could not experience physiological changes in
periphery but still produced emotional expressions with faces and vocalization
- Patient with bilateral facial paralysis can recognize emotional states in others and shows
ordinary emotional responses even without absence of facial expressions
- Physiological states that accompanied emotional states also accompnanied other
physiological states. Fear and illness produce nausea and sweating but people with flu
don’t think they’re afraid
- Stimulus activation of thalamus both cognitive experience and physiological
- Brain constructs emotion similarly to other experienced sensations
- Take signals from periphery and interprets and translates them into emotional states.
Similar emotions produce different feelings depending on context.
- Injected half participants with adrenaline, half with placebo. Told them it was vitamin.
Either warned them of arousal or not. Those who were warned should not experience
emotion. Those who weren’t warned experienced emotions.
- When individual experienced arousal in situation, would label and experience the
feeling to be congruent with the cognitive appraisal of the situation. Same arousal can
be different emotions dependent on situation
- Cognitive processes important in producing emotional states - Degree of arousal correlated with degree to which individual experiences emotional
- Many say this is inconclusive. Placebo did not report any less emotion than aroused
group. Also physiological arousal without absence of stimulus is rare. Replication
attempts have been unsuccessful
- Similar study is the bridge study with the attractive young woman.
Somatic marker theory (Damasio)
- Based on case of Elliot. Had tumor removed from frontal lobes. But changed his ability
to experience emotional states. Unable to use feelings to guide him on tasks and
decvisions. Couldn’t feel arousal or experience emotions but can describe them
- Emotion is represented by brain similarity to how sense are represented. Brain
synthesizes all information in body into unified perception of emotional state.
Association between emotional state and bodily change is the somatic marker.
- Product of implicit learning. Not mediated consciously
- Elliot was unable to access somatic markers or use information provided by somatic
- Stimulus physiological arousal + implicit appraisal somatic marker feeling
Appraisal theory (Arnold)
- Dominant theory
- Attempts to explain how emotions are generated
- Emotional states process of cost-benefit analysis of situations.
- Physiological response is product of unconscious evaluation of situations based on
potential for organism to benefit or be damaged by situation
- Affective physiological responses include tendency to make specific responses to
- Suggests emotional states are action tendencies. Alert and provide possibilities for
- Follow own rules, different from processes involved in explicit or implicit learning
- Stimulus implicit and explicit appraisal feeling and action
- Strengths: explains relationship between physiological and cognitive aspects of
emotional states and why emotional states exist
o Explains how they’re generated
o But criticized fo being too cognitively heavy
No single theory is right. No consensus
Laterality of emotion
- Production of emotional behaviours o Assymteries of facial expression due to differesn in contraction of muscles
o 2 main pathways: voluntary facial expression (mediated by precentral gyrus).
Or involuntary facial expressions (controlled by thalamus)
o Right hemisphere controles left side of lower face, left hemisphere controls
right lower side of face
o Expressions have greater change on left side. Left side more prominent
o Therefore right hemisphere speciailizatined in emotional expression
o Left handed individuals have leftward bias
o Women express less asymmetry than men because of increased bilateral
involvement of brain
o Negative emotions expressed more by left side of face
o More positive emotions less lateralized because of linguistic properties byut
negative emotions inked with survival and less with linguistic area so
o Positive emotions engage approach behaviours, negative engages avoidance.
Therefore negative = right hemisphere because it specializes in automated
movements. Approach behaviours in left hemisphere specialized for fine-motor
o Propositional prosody: cues question
o Affective prosodody: convey emotional content
o Productions of both prosodic speech and singing have right hemisphere activity.
Hemisphere. Even though its both aspect of language and emotion.
o Therefore right hemisphere specializes in emotions.
- Perception of emotional stimuli
o There is left ear advantage for emotional tone in dichotomy listening. (right
o Perception of prosody therefore mediated by right hemisphere
o Same with nonspeech sounds like crying and laughing
o Depends on target, right ear advantage when asked to detect specific words.
But asked to detect emotional tones = left ear advantage, even when same
o Chimeric faces: 2 different hemifaces fused.
Demonstrate individuals better at identifying emotion when face is
presented in left visual fie