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Lecture 16

01:830:101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Parasympathetic Nervous System, Sympathetic Nervous System, Autonomic Nervous SystemPremium


Department
Psychology
Course Code
01:830:101
Professor
Lawrence Jacobs
Lecture
16

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Emotion:
–Emotions are significant and crucial parts of our experience.
–Emotion is an elusive construct, hard to define and measure. (we would make
better decisions if we could keep our emotions in check)
Brain damaged people with impaired emotions are generally inferior
decision-makers.
Emotions are a powerful informer of our decisions, closely related to motivation,
as almost any motivation has an emotion tied to it.
Excitement and Physiological Arousal:
•The role of the autonomic nervous system
–The autonomic nervous system is the division that controls the functioning of the
internal organs.
–The ANS has
two
subdivisions, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous
systems.
Definition of Autonomic:
–It is controlled by automatic responses. It describes functions of the nervous
system not under voluntary control, e.g. the regulation of heartbeat or gland
secretions
It is without thought. It describes an action or response that occurs without
conscious control.
The Autonomic Nervous System:
•The sympathetic nervous system
–The sympathetic nervous system is comprised of two chains of neuron clusters
just to the left and right of the spinal cord.
–It
increases
the heart rate, breathing rate, production of sweat, and flow of
adrenaline.
–It prepares the body for intense activity, “fight or flightand other
stress-related behaviors. It is the “crisis management” center.
•The parasympathetic nervous system is the long-term survival center, promoting
rest by
decreasing
heart rate, digestion, and other functions that keep an
organism alive in the long-term.
•The two divisions of the ANS
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–Both systems are active, and shifting between the two systems helps to keep the
body in a balanced condition called homeostasis.
(
remember homeostatis? The balance of your body
)
–We cannot directly control autonomic responses, but we can influence them by
voluntary cognition and behavior.
•The Opponent-Process Principle of Emotions
– After sympathetic nervous system activity slows down, the body responds with
increased parasympathetic activity
–Removal of a stimulus that excites one emotion causes a swing to an opposite
emotion. The initial emotion is referred to as the “A” state, and the rebound
emotion as the “B” state.
– With repetition of the cycle, the A state becomes weaker, and the B state
becomes stronger and more prolonged.
Emotion and Perceived Arousal:
The James-Lange theory of emotions
–Two nineteenth century psychologists, working independently, came up with a
different interpretation of how emotion and physiological reactions are related.
•The James-Lange theory states that a person’s interpretation of a stimulus
evokes the autonomic changes directly.
–According to the James-Lange theory, the reactions are not enough to produce
the emotions, but you will not have the full experience of the emotions without
them.
James-Lange Theory:
William James and Carl Lange proposed an idea that was opposed to the
common-sense view. The James-Lange Theory proposes that physiological activity
precedes the emotional experience.
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