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Gerald Cupchik

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Emotion chapter 2 ± Evolution of Emotions
- Similarity of human emotional expressions to lower animals
- Human emotional experience have some primitive aspects
- Hypothesized: emotional expressions are behavioural vestiges.
- Specific analysis of facial expression gave birth to modern study of emotional expression.
Elements of an evolutionary approach to emotions
3 parts that drive evolution
1) Superabundance; more offspring than necessary is reproduced.
2) Variation; each offspring is somewhat different than others / differences passed through heredity
3) Natural selection; characteristics that allow one to adapt to the environment are selected for;
disadvantageous characteristics are selected against.
Selection Pressures
x Selection pressures; features of the physical and social environment that determined whether or
not individuals survived and reproduced.
x 2 kinds of selection pressures that determine who reproduces:
x Intrasexual competition; occurs within sex for access to mates; most pronounced among males.
x Intersexual competition: process by which one sex selects specific kinds of traits in the other sex. ;
preference for males of higher status by women. Males seek out mates who are fertile and of
optimal reproductive age. ; preference for youth and beauty.
x Our capacity to cooperate is a powerful determinant of who reproduces and who survives.
o we accomplish survival and reproduction within relationships, groups, and communities.
We are more likely to succeed at these endeavors when we behave in
cooperative fashion
x accounts for evolution of moral emotions ; gratitude, anger, and
x Adaptation; genetically based traits that allow the organism to respond well to specific selection
pressure, and to survive and reproduce
x People find symmetrical faces more attractive than asymmetrical faces.
x Genes provide potentialities for behavior
x Emotions serve functions
x View only recently accepted in western thought.
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x More typical to portray emotions as disruptive, and harmful influences resulting in destructive
behavior to be mastered by rational thought.
x Accounts influenced by theory of evolution, tend to describe emotions in terms of functions in
ways that increase the chances of survival and reproduction.
x Emotions are adaptations
x 1st aspect of adaptation ; emotions enable rapid orientation to events in the environment.
o They interrupt ongoing processes and direct attention to significant threats and
opportunities. Æ advantage in survival and reproduction.
o Emotions like fear & anger also shut down basic physiological processes.
x 2nd general function is organization.
o Emotions coordinate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, muscle groups, facial
expression and experience. Æ enables more adaptive response to events in the
o Functions of different emotions
o Anger : set of coordinated responses taht help restore just relations with others
o Embarassement: form of appeasement
o Compassion: enhances the welfare of vulnerable individuals, esp when they have been
Functional analysis of different facets of emotion
Why do we experience our emotional states as powerful and overwhelming?
Emotion- related feelings are informative about specific social events or conditions that need to be acted
Î Challenges assumption that emotions have no rational basis.
Î Hypothesis instead: reflect important functional relationships with the environment.
Emotion related physiology
Emotions are states of readiness to act. The autonomic physiology associated with diff. emotions prepres
for specific kinds of action; fighting or flight.
x Emotions are communicated in facial expression, the voice, gaze, posture and touch.
x Emotional communication coordinates social interactions.
x Communication info about current emotions, intentions and dispositions
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