First Half Study Notes

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16 Apr 2012
Emotions Study Notes
Functions: social groups, relationship priorities, relationship to environment, signals states to others
Moods: last for a long time and are not attached to specific cause (more diffuse)
Emotions: reactions to an external stimulus (specific event)
- Require cognitive appraisal
- Normal, non-pathological transient states
- Internal phenomena that can make themselves observable through expression and behaviour
Accessible and able to articulate (how people are feeling)
- Physiological reactions and feedback from peripheral nervous system
Does not require consciousness, test heart rate, muscle movement, etc.
- Collection of cognitive evaluation and labeling processes
Self reports of evaluation, attribution, and judgment
Component process: emotions as episodic, relatively short-term, biologically-based patterns of perception,
experience, physiology, action, and communication that occur in response to specific physical and social challenges
- Subjective feelings, expressive motor behaviour, cognitive appraisal, physiological arousal, action ready
- Social norms can dictate expression of certain emotions
- Some bold researchers say emotions are more like prototypes; disgust, surprise, etc. don’t count
Theories: testable statements about the causes, processes, order, and interaction of emotions
Evolutionary: emotions as biologically based providing adaptive advantage, i.e. procreation
- Event Feeling Behaviour
- Darwin: emotions aid in solving environmental problems through activating adaptive bodily response
Humans and animals exhibit similar emotional reactions
Aid in communication within the species
- Critique: some emotions can be disruptive, i.e. panic
We can’t define these recognizable/adaptive problems (too broad)
Doesn’t account for what causes the emotion to occur, only accounts for stimuli
People don’t always react the same way to similar situations
Cognitive Appraisal: link emotions to immediate cognitive processes of evaluation of meaning, causal attribution,
and assessment of coping capabilities
- Appraisals: psychological representations of emotional significance
- James-Lange Theory: emotions are labels for bodily reactions to certain situations
Event Appraisal Behaviour Feeling
- Cognitive interpretation of the stimulus matters in determining emotional significance of stimuli
- Cannon-Bard Theory: emotional cognitions are causally independent of physiological arousal
Event Appraisal / Feelings / Physiological Change & Behaviour
- Schachter-Singer Theory: we label our emotions using basic level of physiological arousal and cognitive
interpretation of the label (later found to be a negative default)
Arousal determines strength of emotion but does not identify it
Assumes all emotions evoke similar physiological responses
Experiment: epinephrine or placebo, one group was told about arousing effects, confederates acted euphoric or
- Placebos reported same ratio of happiness to anger in either condition
- Not warned of effects, confederates affected participants’ behaviour
- Warned showed more contrast to confederate behaviour
- We sometimes become aroused without knowing why reasonable explanation cognitive
labeling emotion (cognitive appraisal determines emotion differences, not physiology)
Social Constructionist: different cultures talk about and express emotions in different ways (learned)
- Reject biological roots for emotions (nativism)
- Societal goals are responsible for most human states
- Component process with subjective experience, expressive & psychological reactions, coping responses
- No single response or subset of responses essential to emotional syndrome
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Manipulating Emotions
- Cannot ethically make people feel worse than they would on a typical day
- Films, photographs, music, scenarios, memories
- Bower’s Associative Network Model: emotions are stored as nodes in memory that link to other information
associated with the emotion (other memories, verbal labels, physiological reactions)
- Critique: people aren’t behaving naturally, memories can be altered
- Correlational research: study naturally experienced emotions
Ask about moods, diaries, compare emotional people to neutral
- Critique: does not allow for causal claims, does not account for people’s natural disposition
- Self reports: everyone has different standards
- Physiological measurements: unemotional events like movement can trigger similar reactions, vary
- Behaviours: we can fake or conceal our emotions, costly
Structure: basic elements of emotional life
- Irreducible: how items hang together to form underlying theme
Basic (Discrete) Emotions: universal, distinct & physiological ways of expression, evident in early life
- Joy, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, and sometimes surprise
- Get other emotions by combining basic ones
- Everyone should be able to experience these unless they have brain damage
- Appraisals, feelings, physiology, and behaviours are equally important and consistent to each other
Experiential and Linguistic Data
- Independent, monopolar (not opposites)
- Rosch: hierarchies (superordinate, basic, subordinate), basic is most spontaneous
- Shaver: had participants put emotion words written on cards into piles of similar meaning
Basic emotions are irreducible, superordinate are positive/negative, subordinate are fine gradations
Component Process Data
- Facial expression
Categorical perception: on a continuum, emotional facial expressions are perceived to be the same up to a
category line where there is a change in perception
Etcoff and Magee: continuum of emotional photographs, had people categorize
- Vocal affect: changes in speech corresponding to certain emotions
Scherer: nonsensical voices conveying emotions, people could identify emotions
Acoustic parameters: frequency, intensity, pitch
- Physiological arousal
Autonomic nervous system activity (James-Lange)
Dutton and Aron: young woman on bridge
Crucian: heartbeats and sports illustrated
Misattributions only work when attraction is already present
Dimensional Accounts: combinations of core dimensions lead to the structure of specific emotions
- Categories don’t matter; core affect does (feeling aspect) continuous dimensions
- Pleasant vs. unpleasant, activated vs. deactivated (blend of please and activation)
- Circumplex structure: items are intercorrelated and distributed around the dimensions
- Bipolarity: presence of one endpoint implies the absence of the other (not always true)
- Independence: one aspect of emotion structure does not affect another aspect systematically
- Component Process Theory: pleasantness, arousal, control, unpredictability + appraisals at each stage
One emotion as a compound of several appraisal components developing in sequence
Functional Accounts: history, environment, and adaptive functions of emotion development
- Help individuals with adjustment
- Tooby and Cosmide’s Evolutionary Theory: emotions are coordinators in processing all programs to accomplish
goals efficiently
Emotions as superordinate mental/neural programs that prioritize mental programs
Subroutines will resolve situation and inhibit other interfering subroutines (discrete approach)
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