Second Half Study Notes

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16 Apr 2012
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Psychology of Emotions Study Notes
Regulation of Emotions
Emotion regulation: strategies to control which emotions we have, when and how strongly we
experience and express
- Discrepancy between how we want to feel and how we do feel
Emotion knowledge: awareness of current emotional state (causes and bodily sensations), how it
might affect us and others
Hedonic motivation: avoid unpleasant feelings, seek out pleasant ones
- Enhance or inhibit emotions to help us perform on tasks
- Pro-social motives: protect another’s feelings
- Self-protection motives: one’s safety or get help from others
- Impression management motive: avoid being judged negatively by others
Emotion norms: knowledge of which emotions are appropriate to context
Emotional intelligence: regulate emotions by conforming to emotion norms, taking into
account feelings of others
Display and feeling rules: what we should show and experience, cultural/job differences
Gender-specific: men more powerful, self-protective emotions, women more relational, pro-
social (times are changing, Western cultures are starting to drop these norms)
Gross’s Emotional Regulation model
- Antecedent-focused: before emotion is elicited, modifies emotional impact
Actively select and influence situations to prevent unwanted emotions and enhance desired
Situation selection: people who create pleasant events are more resilient to stress, but can
limit opportunities, bad idea
Situation modification: active coping, perception of control decreases stress
Attention deployment: distraction, requires cognitive energy
Cognitive reappraisal: James-Lange; emotional response depends on appraisal
- Successful
- Reduced amygdala, increased orbitofrontal prefrontal cortex
- Sometimes seeing things stressfully can motivate though
- Jokes, taking role of another, forgiveness
- Response-focused: after elicited emotion, modifies experience, expression, physiology
Regulation of physiological arousal: medication, do not replace constructive problem-solving
- Catharsis often increases the emotion
Regulation of expressive behaviour: suppression vs. enhancement
- Facial feedback: suppression works with pain only, reduces positive feelings only
- Suppression increases sympathetic physiological arousal
- Requires constant regulation, impairs memory and confidence in recall (not the same for
cognitive reappraisal)
Regulatory depletion: regulation efforts eat up our limited cognitive resources
- Make people focus on internal rather than external, constant self-monitoring of success
Bad for social interactions; bad interpretation/attending to others
- Butler et al: suppression-instruction participants showed reduced responsiveness,
increased distraction, partners felt stress and decreased closeness
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Regulation of experience: rumination makes things worse (rebound effect)
Ironic process of mental control model: suppression requires automatic monitoring (effortless,
searches mind for unwanted thought and finds distracters) and controlled operating (effortful)
- Association explanation: distracter thoughts become associated with unwanted ones and
so they become cues
- Accessibility explanation: automatic monitoring keeps looking for thought even after
suppression
- Cognitive load explanation: thought comes back when lacking energy for distracters
(possibility for outside go-to distracters that don’t apply in lab, as well as novel thoughts)
- Defensive suppression mechanism: thinking about emotional thought goes against our
tendency to suppress so we might continue to do so in lab
Emotional reactions may decrease after suppression, but physiological reactions increase
when suppressed thoughts surface (rebound occurs with neutral thoughts, physiological rebound
occurs for emotional thoughts)
Challenge and threat theory: challenge response (can cope) or threat response (can’t cope)
- Suppression strains resources, strong threat arousal)
Social sharing of emotions: puts things in order, gains comfort, builds relationships
- Amount of social sharing was positively correlated with intensity of facial reaction
- Does not aid in emotional recovery, reactivates emotional arousal, long-term benefits
(social comparison, support, integration, approval)
Processing emotional information: negative emotions = mean world syndrome
- Verbalizing allows for assimilation or accommodation into understanding of world
Inhibition theory: adverse health effects are due to physiological arousal from suppression
Emotion in Social Cognition
- Emotions influence what we notice and remember, reason, make decisions, and process info
- Emotional stimuli capture attention at the expense of other stimuli
- Emotional arousal epinephrine + cortisol vagus nerve amygdale memory storage
- Weakened arousal weakens memory (amygdala damage dissociates emotion with memory)
Mood congruence hypothesis: in affective states, perceptions and thoughts with same emotional
tone are increased
- Associative network models of memory: memory as a web of interconnected nodes of semantic
knowledge, related thoughts come to mind when node is triggered (spreading activation)
Visual perception: things that emotionally match affective state are better perceived
Affective states facilitate the perception of words within that state, not valence (pos/neg)
- Mood state-dependent memory: better able to retrieve info that was encoded in same affective
state (serves as cue)
Better when info is self-generated rather than by other (attention on external not internal cues)
- Mood-congruent memory: better able to retrieve info that matches in meaning to current mood
because incoming info is encoded to be mood congruent or retrieved as such
Also effects judgment of probabilities and of others, again affect more important than valence
- Angry people blame others, sad people blame circumstances
- Effect can be subliminal
Appraisals of control can influence eliciting emotion
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