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Lecture 11

Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Paul Ekman, False Smiles, Botulinum Toxin

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Lynda Hutchinson

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Psychologists focus on three components of emotion:
o Physiological changes in the face, brain, and body
o Cognitive processes such as appraisals and interpretations of events
o Action tendencies that spur us to fight or flee, embrace or withdraw, and subjective feeling
Culture and social context influence both the inner experience and the outward expression of emotion.
Emotions and the Body
Primary emotions: emotions considered to be universal and biologically based. Generally include fear, anger,
sadness, joy, surprise, disgust, and contempt
Secondary emotion: emotions that develop with cognitive maturity and vary across individuals and cultures
(often result from thinking about the emotions that ou’e eperieed ad eliefs e hae aout eperieig
those emotions)
The Face of Emotion
Most obvious place to look for emotion is on the face
Charles Darwin argued that human facial expressions the smile, the frown, the grimace, the glare are as
innate as the wing flutter of a bird
Evolutionary explanations say that emotions are hard-wired and have survival functions
Paul Ekman and his colleagues have evidence for the universality of 7 facial expressions of emotion
o Anger, happiness, fear, surprise, disgust, sadness, and contempt
They developed a coding system to analyze and identify each of the nearly 80 muscles of the face, as well as the
combinations of muscles associated with various emotions
Emotions are recognized cross-culturally
Genuine versus fake emotions can be distinguished; when people pretend to be sad only 15% manage to get the
eyebrows, eyelids, and forehead wrinkle exactly right and authentic smiles last only two seconds vs false smiles
last 10 seconds
The Functions of Facial Expressions
Facial expressions reflect our internal feelings, but can also influence them
Facial feedback: the process by which the facial muscles send messages to the brain about the basic emotion
being expressed
Emotions help us communicate emotional states and signal others (survival value)
Begins in infancy, babies convey emotions and can interpret parental expressions
If you put on an angry face, your heart rate will rise faster than if you put on a happy face
What happens when facial feedback is blocked say, due to use of Botox, which paralyzes the facial muscles
used in frowning? Botox hindered the oe’s ability to process the sentences evoking sadness and anger
Botoxed women were significantly less accurate than other women at recognizing both positive and negative
emotions in photographs of human eyes or even in writing
As Darwin suggested, facial expressions evolved to help us communicate our emotional states to others and
provoke a response from them
By the age of 6 to 7 months, babies reveal special sensitivity to adults fearful expressions and soon begin to alter
their own behaviour in reaction to their parents facial expressions of emotion
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1 year old babies were put on a more ambiguous cliff that did not drop off sharply and thus did not
automatically evoke fears, as the original cliff did
In this case, the babies behaviour depended on their mothers expressions: 74% crossed the cliff when their
mothers put on a happy, reassuring expression, but not a single infant crossed when the mother showed an
expression of fear
Facial Expressions in Context
When you perceive aother perso’s facial expression, you are being influenced by what else is happening in the
situation, by your own emotional state, and by the cultural context
People are better at identifying emotions expressed by others in their own ethnic, national, or regional group
than they are at recognizing the emotions of foreigners
Emotion and the Brain
Various parts of the brain are involved in the different components of emotional experience: recognizing
aother perso’s emotion, feeling a specific emotion, expressing an emotion, and acting on an emotion
o E.g. people who have a stroke are often unable to feel disgusted
Most emotions motivate a response (an action tendency) of some sort: to embrace or approach the person who
instills joy in you, attack a person who makes you angry, withdraw from a food that disgusts you, or flee from a
person or situation that frightens you
The prefrontal regions of the brain are involved in these impulses to approach or withdraw
Regions of the right prefrontal region are specialized for the impulse to withdraw or escape
Regions of the left prefrontal cortex are specialized for the motivation to approach others
Parts of the prefrontal cortex are also involved in the regulation of emotion, helping us modify and control out
feelings, keeping us on an even keel and responding appropriately to others
The amygdala plays a key role in emotion, especially anger and fear
The amygdala is responsible for evaluation sensory information, determining its emotional importance, and
making the initial decision to approach or withdraw from a person or situation
The amygdala instantly assesses danger or threat
If either the amygdala or critical areas of the cortex are damaged, abnormalities result in the ability to
experience fear or recognize it in others
Mirror, Mirror, in the Brain: Neurons for Imitation and Empathy
In 1992, a team of Italian neuroscientists accidentally made an astonishing discovery.
Mirror neurons: brain cells that fire when a person or animal observes others carrying out an action; they are
involved in empathy, language comprehension, imitation and reading emotions
In humans, mirror neurons enable us to identify what others are feeling, to understand other peoples in
tensions, and to imitate their actions and gestures, even in infancy
Mirror neurons thus appear to be the underlying mechanism for human empathy, nonverbal rapport, and mood
contagion, the spreading of an emotion from one person to another
Mood contagion: a mood spreading from one person to another
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The Energy of Emotion
Once the brain areas associated with emotion are activated, the next stage of the emotional relay is the release
of hormones to enable you to respond quickly
When you are under stress or feeling an intense emotion, the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous
system spurs the adrenal glands to send out epinephrine and norepinephrine
Epinephrine in particular provides the energy of an emotion, that familiar tingle of excitement
At high leels, it a reate the sesatio of eig seized or flooded  a eotio that is out of our otrol
Review: Emotion and the Body
Facial Expressions
Reflect internal feelings, influence internal feelings (facial feedback), communicate feelings,
signal intentions, affect behaviour and feelings of others (mood contagion), conceal or pretend
an emotion (lie)
The Brain
Specific areas are involved in specific emotions (E.g. disgust) and in different aspects of
emotion (E.g. recognizing facial expressions in others, expressing an emotion oneself)
Determines emotional importance of income sensory information; is responsible for the initial
decision to approach or withdraw; is involved in learning, recognizing and expressing fear
Appraises the significance of emotional information from the amygdala. The left prefrontal
orte is assoiated ith approah eotios E.g. happiess, ager; the right prefrontal
orte ithdraal eotios e.g. fear, sadess
Mirror Neurons
Found in various parts of the brain, these cells fire in response to the actions or emotions of
another person, possibly creating synchrony, promoting empathy, and generating mood
Autonomic Nervous
Activates the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which produce energy and alertness.
Certain emotions are associated with distinctive patterns of automatic nervous system activity.
Emotion and the Mind
Experience of emotion depends on two factors: Physiological arousal and cognitive interpretation
We feel emotions when e a lael the phsiologial hages… ut a ot alas e aurate
In the first century, the Stoic philosophers suggested that people do not become angry or sad or ecstatic
because of actual events, but because of their explanations of those events
Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer, in their classic experiment, participants were told that they were being
given a vitamin but were actually given either epinephrine or saline
Participants who were told that the vitamin could have side effects consistent with epinephrine (for example,
increased heart rate) interpreted their change in physical state as being due to the injection and not due to an
emotional state
Schachter and Singer suggest that although your body may be churning away in high gear, unless you can
explain and label those changes, you will not feel a true emotion
Appraisals: A persons perceptions, beliefs, attributions, and goals, that determine which emotion he or she will
feel in a given circumstance; they are a central component of emotion and the emotional experience
Cognitions and physiology are inextricably linked in the experience of emotion
Thoughts affect emotions, and emotional states influence thoughts
Some emotions, such as shame and guilt, depend completely on the maturation of higher cognitive capacities
and do not occur until a child is two or three years old
These self-conscious emotions require the emergence of a sense of self and the ability to perceive that you have
behaved badly or let another person down
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