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Final Exam Study Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Gabriela Ilie

Chapter 8: • Emotions colour our life experiences as they inform us of who we are, what our relationships with others are like, and how to behave. Emotions give meaning to events as without emotions these events would be mere facts of our lives. • Most emotion researchers consider feelings (subjective experience) to be a part of emotion, but not emotion itself. • Emotion – Transient or temporary, neurophysiological response to a stimulus that excites a coordinated system of components; informs us about relationship to stimulus, and prepare us to deal with it. The coordinated system of components include: Expressive Behaviour – face, voice, gestures etc. Subjective Experience – feelings, sensations etc. Physiological Reactions – heart beating, breathing, sweating etc. Cognitions – thoughts, attributions etc. Motor Behaviour – running, hitting, freezing etc. • Emotions are functional because: When they occur, they tell us something important about our relationship to the emotion-eliciting stimulus, they help prepare our bodies for action, and have important social meanings (watch out the boss is angry). Thus, emotion helps us solve complex social coordination problems that occur because human social life is complex. All humans regardless of culture, have emotions; thus, the existence of emotion is a universal aspect of human functioning. Like many other psychological processes, emotions has evolved. Comparative research has demonstrated that nonhuman primates have some emotions such as anger, fear and disgust. Thus, we share some emotions with our primate ancestors. • Human emotions are also different as they are more complex and differentiated. Example: Language ability allows us to make fine distinctions among emotions such as being irritated or frustrated instead of being angry. • Humans also have self-conscious emotions and moral emotions. Self-conscious emotions are emotions that focus on the self, such as shame, guilt, pride, or embarrassment. They are important in studies of culture because we believe that humans universally have a unique knowledge of self that is different from that of other animals, thus giving rise to self-conscious emotions. • Because humans uniquely have cognitive representations of self and others as intentional agents, humans uniquely have the construct of morality, in which moral emotions such as contempt and disgust play a particularly important role. Disgust is especially interesting, because while nonhuman primates share with humans a biologically based version of disgust that helps them to avoid or expel nasty objects (vomiting), probably only humans have the interpersonal version of disgust, in which we can be disgusted at others as people (moral version of disgust). Contempt and disgust have been shown to be devastating and explosive emotions when seen in marital interactions. • Humans can also feign emotion i.e. lie about it by expressing it when they do not feel it, or expressing an emotion different from the
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