Psych Ch.8 Emotions

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PSYC 101
Bobby Fokidis

Ch.8 Emotion - Essential feature of emotions is the experience - Stimulus can have emotional impact without conscious awareness - Is a positive or negative experience that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity o Classified by two dimensions: (1) pleasant or unpleasant (2) level of activation or arousal associated with the emotion - Basic emotions are innate (inborn) and “hard-wired” - Complex emotions are a blend of many aspects of emotions - Emotional experiences are difficult to describe, but psychologists have identified their two underlying dimensions: arousal and valence William James and Carl Lange developed the James-Lange theory of emotion, which asserts that stimuli trigger activity in the autonomic nervous system, which in turn produces an emotional experience in the brain. This means that a stimulus causes a physiological reaction, which leads to an emotional experience. This meant that you would see the bear, feel your heart pounding and muscles contract, and then you experience fear. They were correct in some way because they suggested that patterns of physiological response are not the same for all emotions (i.e. blushing and fear uses different parts of body to generate reaction) Walter Cannon disagreed with the James-Lange theory so he developed the Cannon-Bard theory with his student, Philip Bard. The theory proposed that a stimulus simultaneously triggers activity in the autonomic nervous system and emotional experience in the brain. This means that a stimulus causes both an emotional experience and a physiological reaction simultaneously. They were correct in some way because they suggested that people are not perfectly sensitive to these patterns of responses, which is why people must sometimes make inferences about what they are feeling. Two-factor theory by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer claimed that emotions are inferences about the causes of physiological arousal. When you see a bear in your kitchen, your heart begins to pound. Your brain quickly scans the environment looking for a reasonable explanation for all that pounding and notices that it is a bear. Having noticed both a bear and a pounding heart, your brain puts it together, makes a logical inference, and interprets your arousal as fear. Heinrich Kluver and Paul Bucy discovered that a rhesus monkey named Aurora had no fear after her brain surgery causing her to have sex with anyone and eat anything because it had damaged the amygdala, which plays a special role in producing emotions such as fear. Brain Based Theory of Emotions The amygdala is critical to making appraisal, an evaluation of the emotion-relevant aspects of a stimulus (brain decides if there is something to be afraid of). Visual information has to reach amygdala or there will be no emotional significance. Damage to amygdalae will also prevent person from having superior memory for emotionally evocative words such as death or vomit. Damage can also cause “psychic blindness” and the inability to recognize fear in facial expressions and voice. There are 2 pathways for the brain when there is a stimulus: 1. Fast pathway, which goes from the thalamus directly to the amygdala  The amygdala registers stimulus and initiates the neural processes that produce bodily reactions and conscious experience that we call fear 2. Slow pathway, which goes from the thalamus to the cortex then to the amygdala  Cortex analyzes the stimulus then it sends signal to amygdala to maintain fear or decrease it  Damage of the cortex prevents people from inhibiting emotions  Amygdala is like the gas pedal and the cortex is the brakes Frontal lobes: Influence conscious emotions and ability to act in planned ways
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