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TEXTBOOK NOTES FOR CH.2


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC18H3
Professor
Gerald Cupchik

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Emotion chapter 2 ± Evolution of Emotions
Darwin
- 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.
Recently
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
compassion.
Adaptation
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
environment.
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
harmed
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
upon.
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.
Communication
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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