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Lecture 4

PSYC18 - Lecture 4.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michelle Hilscher

PSYC18 – Lecture 4 Prof’s Speech - Purple Slide 2 - Natural selection – anatomical and psychological characteristics change over time - Natural selection happens when: o There is within species competition o There is within species differences – physically/anatomically, essentially the phenotype o Phenotype tied to genotype – the physical is related to genetics - Environment favours some heritable variations over others - Emotional expressions are adaptations o They are actions that helped our ancestors survive  i.e. crying is form of communication that we use now, it is a way of asking for help, also when we cry – tears coat our eyes, which protects them (biological aspect)  i.e. disgust – facial actions today are socially useful, it communicates that something is distasteful, unpleasant, unsanitary  i.e. lip biting – communicates social conflict between individuals, regret, desire to appease, in the past – it aided with grooming o They coincided with emotions that our ancestors felt - Evolution and culture o Primitive urges shape culture  We need to maintain social bonds o E.g. language o Culture controls primitive urges  Culture controls social bonding o Culture changes but sometimes our bodies and minds can‟t keep up – there are limits to evolutionary adaptation  Culture changes quickly – we are not equipped to keep up  Ex. Hardwired to want sugar – even though culture tells us to cut back o Overcrowding on subway – makes us uncomfortable but culture is changing and overcrowding is a new norm Slide 5 - Undeniably, emotions are evolutionarily significant - Evolutionary psychologists: o Emotions help us survive o If we feel fear, we avoid direct threat  Disgust: we avoid disease/contamination  Sadness: we feel motivated to replace a partner who passes away  Anger: felt when goals are threatened  Happiness: felt when things are going to plan, aids in social bonding  Surprise: felt when there is something novel or unexpected - 6 basic emotions o Fear o Disgust o Sadness o Anger o Happiness o Surprise - Complex emotions that promote social bonding o Complex emotions: guilt, love, jealousy o Complex emotions are reliant on other people being present o Evolutionary perspective:  Complex emotions are accounted for not because they aid with survival, but because they aid with reproductive urges and propagating genes Slide 6 - An evolutionary perspective implies: o Emotions are the same across generations o Emotions are the same across cultures o There is universality in what triggers emotions, how they are experienced, and how they are recognized - Yet, a wealth of evidence shows that emotions, emotional expressions, and emotional disorders differ by generation and by culture o Certain emotions happen in one culture and not others o Differences in emotional disorders cross-culturally - Perspective is limiting in terms of how emotion is defined - Emphasis on valence – good vs. bad emotions, positive vs. negative Slide 7 – An evolutionary perspective is limiting - A broader definition of emotion suggests that o Emotions are not so clear-cut - There are shades of different emotions, i.e. sadness – there are different ways of feeling emotions, but they receive the same label - Contradictory emotions – i.e. bittersweet o Evolutionary perspective assumes that we are passive – emotions happen to us  Emotions bring about certain things  We are the authors of our emotions  We make active choices to emphasize emotions Slide 8 – What is Culture? - Andre Malraux (French Novelist): o “…the sum of all the forms of art, of love, and of thought, which in the course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved”  * sum of forms of art - Matsumoto and Juang (psychology version): o “a unique meaning and information system , shared by a group and transmitted across generations, that allows the group to meet basic needs of survival, pursue happiness, and well-being, and derive meaning from life”  *shared by a group, pursuing happiness and well-being Slide 9 – Culture involves… - 1. Objective, explicit elements o i.e. architecture, clothes, food, art o concrete elements, palpable o products of culture - 2. Subjective, implicit elements o i.e. ideas, theories, psychological processes, thoughts and beliefs Slide 10 – Psychological processes can be… - Etics o Consistent cross-culturally – universal o General emotionality o Basic felt emotions – similar across cultures and generations - Emics o Culturally-specific, context dependent o Emotions: different antecedents, intensity, expression  Antecedent conditions lead us to feel emotional  Intensity can also vary between cultures  Some may hypercognize certain emotions over others (emphasize)  Some may hypocognize certain emotions (ignore, not talked about)  How emotions are expressed is variable  How you choose to let others know is culturally contingent o Some emotions are specific to some cultures Slide 11 – Western Attitude Towards Emotions? - Keltner, et al. – assessment of Western culture reveals an implicit ambivalent attitude about emotions o implicit ambivalent attitude – it is under the surface, not thought about consciously  ambivalent – we are undecided about emotions  sometimes we trust emotions, sometimes we distrust them - “We make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where is accords with our emotions.” o We make errors because we feel emotional o Emotions are the best guide to ourselves - “There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours.” - Reasoning is something you should idealize - Emotions are in our thoughts Slide 13 – Non-Western Attitudes towards Emotions - Are attitudes in other countries like ours? - Separation between emotion and cognition? - Idealizing of one over the other? - Presumably – there is cross-cultural difference - However, first we will look at universality more closely Slide 14 – Ekman, Sorenson and Friesen (1969): - Testing the reliability between cultures to recognize emotions - Preliterate tribes of New Guinea o No experience with Western media o Shown pictures of Americans showing emotions o Successfully recognized American facial expressions underlying six basic emotions o Tribes were able to label the emotions correctly - Vice-versa: Photographed New Guinean expressions o Americans successfully recognize New Guinean facial expressions underlying six basic emotions - There is continuity in emotional recognition for 6 basics Slide 15 – Apart from Facial Expression Recognition - Universality in Emotion Antecedents? - What triggers emotion? Same triggers cross-culturally? - Do similar events = similar emotions? - Boucher and Brandt (1981) o United States and Malaysia o Describe what elicits the 6 basics o i.e. what scares you? What disgusts you? o Looked for patterns in conditions that triggered emotions – i.e. losing someone would trigger sadness, snakes trigger fear o Subsequent labelling showed… - Antecedents lead to certain emotions – continuity is seen - Continuity in antecedent conditions for 6 basics Slide 16 – Psychological themes that Elicit Universal Emotions - There are particular things that bring to mind basic themes/things that bring emotional experiences regardless of culture - 1. Accomplishing a goal o Leads to happiness o Culture dependency: whether happiness is accompanied with pride or guilt - 2. Failing to accomplish a goal o Causes negative emotions o Culture dependency: intensity of negative emotion and type (anger vs. sadness) - 3. Being kept from something you desire or want o Negative emotion o Culture dependency: intensity of frustration or anger, how you choose to express (could keep it inside, or project) - 4. Being sickened or repulsed by something o Causes disgust - 5. Sensing danger caused by the unexpected o Causes fear - 6. Acknowledging something new or novel o Causes surprise
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