Emotions are a mix of bodily arousal (heart pounding), expressive behaviors (quickened pace),
and conscious experience including thoughts (is this a kidnapping) and feelings (fear, joy).
2 big questions: Does bodily arousal come before or after emotional feelings? and How do
thinking and feeling interact – does cognition come before emotion?
James Lange Theory: Arousal comes before emotion.
Cannon Bard Theory: Arousal and emotion occur simultaneously. He said bodily responses are
too similar and too slow to change to cause different emotions. So for example, the pounding
heart does not cause fear, nor does fear cause a pounding heart, they occur together.
Cannon Bard theory challenged by the fact that spinal cord injuries in lower region don’t exhibit
changes, but injuries in higher areas patients report less intense emotion but greater
physiological emotional intensity in the face region.
Researchers now agree emotion also involves cognition.
Schachter and Singer believed physical reactions combined with thoughts create emotion.
Two factor theory: emotion consists of physical arousal and cognitive appraisal.
Spillover effect: arousal carries on from one event to the next.
Point to remember: arousal fuels emotion, and cognition channels it.
Robert Zajonc says we can have emotional reactions without actually full interpreting a
High road emotions travel by thalamus to cortex (love and hatred – more complex) then
command sent out via amygdala.
Low road emotions (simple likes, dislikes, fears) travel via thalamus straight to the amygdala
(such as a fear stimulus). This was said by LeDoux.
This allows a quick response before even full interpretation of the situation.
Amygdala sends more neural connections to cortex then it gets back, thus its easier for feeling
to hijack thinking than vice versa.
** Richard lazarus said we operate mostly on emotional low road but some degree of cognitive
appraisal still occurs. We make quick distinctions on whether something is safe or harmful, and
later we determine what it was and whether or not it was in fact harmful or safe.
For example, we may fear a spider even if we know it is harmless because its hard to alter
automatic emotional responses.
Highly emotional people personalize events and generalize experiences.
Autonomic nervous system controls physical arousal emotional responses.
Sympathetic nervous system controls physical reactions during stress/crisis.
Epinephrine and norepinephrine released from adrenal glands, digestion slows, salivation
decrease and immune response decreases.
Parasympathetic calms the body, decreases stress hormones, increasing digestion, increasing
salivation, and increase immune response.
High arousal good for easy tasks, and low arousal good for hard tasks.
Physical responses remain similar among emotions, such as between fear, anger and sexual
Things like heart rate and perspiration same among emotions, but facial expressions and brain
Positive emotions trigger left frontal lobe, negative emotions right frontal lobe.
Polygraph: a machine, primarily for detecting lies, that measures physiological response with
accompanying emotion. Ask you a control question first, the measures physiological response of critical question in
One problem is physiological reactions same among emotions.
Secondly these tests generally induce anxiety.
Guilty knowledge test better idea, as it assess physiological response to details only perpetrator
People are very good at detecting non verbal threats
Experience can sensitize us to certain emotions, for example abused children better spot angry
Hard to discern between lying and telling truth
Introverts and females better at reading others, and extroverts easy to read.
Females better at communicating their emotions.
Females are also more emotional generally
Anger more associated to males
Women more empathetic
Facial expressions are universal across cultures and with blind people
Same goes for musical expression
Emotional expressions helped us survive as a species
Emotion also depends on the context
Cultures, like north American, that support individuality display more emotion than those that
don’t, such as china.
Expressions regulate and amplify emotion, so if you are sad, smiling can make you happy.
This is called the facial feedback effect.
Behavior feedback phenomenon: more likely to feel happy if you walk with long strides and
arms swinging etc.
Carroll Izard says there are 10 distinct emotions mostly present in infants
Izard argues thinks like love and pride are mixtures of the 10 basic emotions
Low arousal + positive valence = relaxed
High arousal + positive valence = elated or enthusiastic
Low arousal + negative valence = sluggish or sad
High arousal + negative valence = fearful or angry
Chronic hostility linked to heart disease
Venting rage encouraged in independent cultures, not interdependent cultures.
Catharsis: emotional release. The hypothesis states that releasing aggressive energy rids of
This can be temporarily calming if it does not leave us guilty or anxious.
Generally though, expressing angers breeds more anger – behavior feedback effect.
Doing so also formed anger releasing bad habits.
Best strategies to relieve anger are waiting, and doing something that does not rehearse the
Forgiveness also reduces anger.
Feel good – do good phenomenon applies to happiness and vice versa.
Subjective well being – self perceived happiness.
Happiest days of the week Friday and Saturday Over long run, positive and negative moods balance out, positive rises early to middle day, then
Usually people rebound from bad days, to better than usual days
Handicapped people on average happier than those with depression
In general we overestimate the duration of our sadness, and undermine our ability to bounce
Being financially well off has increased, and having a good life philosophy has decreased.
Money good for happiness at basic food and shelter needs level, but once sufficient, does not
Diminishing returns phenomenon states experiencing luxury reduces pleasure in simple
Adaptation level phenomenon: we adjust our neutral levels based on our experiences, for
example, suddenly becoming rich one day would create a surge of happiness, but then that
would become the neutral and something even more grand would be required.
Relative deprivation: sense that we are worse off compared to others.
As we climb the success later, we compare ourselves those near our level, so millionaires will
not feel superior as they don’t compare to beggars, but feel inferior when they compare to
Genes, personal history and culture influence happiness.
Social psychology: study of how people influence, relate to, and think about one another.
Social psychologists study how the same person will act in different situations.
Fritz Heider: attribute behavior to the person themselves (dispositional attribution) or to the
situation (positional attribution).
Fundamental attribution error: tendency for outside observes to attribute behavior more to
disposition and less to position.
Westerners focus more on the person, and east Asian more on the situation.
When we explain our own behavior, we attribute good admirable behavior with dispositional
But generally, we attribute ourselves position wise.
With people we know well – situational and with strangers – dispositional.
Attitudes: feelings, often influences by our beliefs that predispose our reactions to certain
For example, if we believe someone to be threatening, we feel afraid and act defensively.
Peripheral route persuasion: when people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speakers
Central route persuasion: offering evidence and arguments to trigger favorable thought.
Social pressures can weaken attitude behavior connection
Attitude follows behavior and vice versa.
Foot in the door phenomenon: make people comply with smaller request and gradual they will
do larger requests. This is what the Koreans did in the Korean war.
Role: set of expectations for a social position.
The role can alter your attitude by immersing yourself into it. Stanford prison experiment.
Cognitive dissonance theory: we feel tension when our actions and attitudes don’t line, so we
change our attitudes.
Module 44 People naturally, unconsciously mimic one another.
This is called the chameleon effect.
Automatic mimicry helps us empathize because we copy others emotions.
Conformity: adjusting behavior or thinking towards a group standard. (mimicry and
Normative social influence: conformity for social approval or avoidance of social disapproval.
Informational social influence: conformity for accepting others views on reality.
Conformity less in individualistic cultures such as American.
Obedience is highest when person is legit authority figure, comes from prestigious institution,
victim is depersonalized, no role models for defiance.
Social facilitation: better performance for easy tasks in the presence of others.
^opposite occurs for complex tasks however
Opposite effect occurs because the MOST LIKELY response is strengthened, whether it right or
Social loafting: people give less effort when they know they are in a group
Deindividuation: loss of self awareness and self restraint in group situations that promote
arousal and anonymity. Good example is internet trolls.
Group polarization: enhancement of initial group inclinations upon discussion with