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Chapter 11 detailed textbook notes.docx

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Eileen Wood

Chapter 11: Emotion, Stress and Health The Nature of Emotion Emotion: a state of arousal involving facial and bodily changes (face, brain, body), brain activation, cognitive appraisals (such as interpretation of events), subjective feelings and tendencies toward actions  Emotion as a tree: biological capacity for emotion is the trunk & root system; thoughts and explanations create the many branches; and culture is the gardener that shapes the tree Emotion & The Body Primary emotions: emotions that are considered to be universal and biologically-based – fear, sadness, joy, anger, surprise, disgust & contempt  These emotions have distinctive physiological patterns & corresponding facial expressions & situations that evoke them are the same everywhere Secondary emotions: emotions that are specific to certain cultures Facial Expressions Charles Darwin said that human facial expressions are innate & were develop because they allowed our ancestors to tell between a friendly stranger & a hostile one  Some researchers have argued that pride is a basic human emotion; its adaptive function is to motivate people to achieve and excel thereby increasing their attractiveness Facial feedback: the process by which the facial muscles send messages to the brain about the basic emotion being expressed – facial expressions influence our feelings  Babies (at the end of their first year) begin to alter their own behaviour in reaction to their parents’ facial expressions  e.g. In visual cliff study, if the parents looked scared, no baby would cross the cliff, but if they had a happy expression, 74% did  People are better at identifying emotions expressed by others in their own ethnic/national/regional group than of foreigners The Brain  Various parts involved with recognizing a person’s emotion, feeling a specific emotion, expressing an emotion & acting on an emotion  People who’ve had a stroke & damaged brain are unable to feel some emotions  Emotions motivate a response: to embrace person that makes you happy, attack a person who makes you angry, withdraw from food that disgusts you, etc o Prefrontal regions involved in these impulses  RIGHT prefrontal region specialized to withdraw or escape (disgust or fear)  LEFT specialized for the motivation to approach others (happiness, and anger)  People with greater-than-avg activation of left areas have more positive feelings, quicker ability to recover from and suppress negative emotions  Prefrontal cortex also involved in regulation of emotion, helping us modify & control feelings & responding appropriately to others – damage in this area blunts the sufferers ability to respond to emotions of others o Amygdala: responsible for evaluating sensory info, determining emotional importance & making decision to approach/withdraw from a person/situation (e.g. getting startled when you feel a hand on your back in a dark alley) o Cerebral cortex generates more complete picture – can override signals sent by amygdala (e.g. fear evaporates when you realize its your friend) o If damaged, people can’t recognize fear in others & may have difficulty turning off their own fear responses Neurons Mirror neurons: brain cells that fire when a person or animal observes others carrying out an action; they are involved in empathy, imitation & reading emotions – respond only when action is intentional  Enable us to identify with what others are feeling, understand others’ intentions & imitate actions/gestures (e.g. feeling empathy when you see someone in pain)  Mirror neurons are the underlying mechanism for human empathy, nonverbal rapport & mood contagion  Happiness is like a collective phenomenon The Energy of Emotion  Once brain areas associated with emotions are activated, next stage is the release of hormones to enable you to respond quickly  When under stress/feeling intense emotion  sympathetic division of autonomic nervous system tells adrenal glands to release epinephrine & norepinephrine (produce arousal & alertness)  pupils dilate, blood pressure increases, breathing speeds up  Different emotions account for different physiological patterns of brain activity & autonomic nervous system activity (heart rate, electrical conductivity of the skin & finger temperature) Lie Detecting: invalid  No physiological patterns of autonomic arousal are specific to lying – can only sense things that identify an emotion of fear, anger, excitement, other signs of stress  Lie detector MRIs: not accurate because part of brain that lights up when lying also light up in memory, self-awareness and self-monitoring Emotion & The Brain “people do not become angry or sad or ecstatic because of actual events, but because of their explanations of those events” – Stoic philosophers  We often think ourselves into an emotional state  Schachter-Singer theory: males crossed a scary bridge & a stable not-scary bridge – males on scary bridge found the woman more attractive & more of them called her for a second date  they associated the arousal with the woman, but if she wasn’t there, they would’ve associated it with fear  Third place medalists are happier than silver medalists because they think “Wow look at how many people I beat! I’m glad I got a medal” whereas silver medalists think “I could’ve gotten first”  Cognitions & physiology are inextricably linked to the experience of emotion. Thoughts  affect emotion  emotions influence thoughts Emotion & Culture How Culture Shapes Emotions  Difference between primary emotions & more complex cultural variations is reflected in language all over the world  Primary emotions are prototypes of “emotion”, they are what children first learn when they learn of emotions  Other psychologists say there is NO aspect of any emotion that is not influenced by culture or context, that clearly separates one emotion from another o Anger may be universal, but the way it is experienced (good or bad, useful or destructive) varies from culture to culture  Cultures determine what people feel emotional ABOUT Communicating Emotions Display rules: social and cultural rules that regulate when, how and where a person may express or suppress emotions (e.g. Germans smile less than Americans in business meetings)  Display rules govern body language: nonverbal signals of body movement, posture, gesture  They tells us how and when to show an emotion we do not feel (e.g. sadness at funerals, happiness at weddings, affection with relatives) Emotion work: acting out an emotion we do not really feel because we believe it is socially appropriate (e.g. flight attendants must seem happy even when annoyed) Gender and Emotion  No evidence to suggest that one sex feels any of the everyday emotions more often than the other  Major difference between sexes has to do with how and when their emotions are expressed & how they are perceived by others  Males associated with anger; females associated with happy  affects how they are perceived in business situations  Females on average smile more than men, gaze at listeners more, have more emotionally expressive faces, touch others more, etc  Females are more likely to express emotions that reveal vulnerability and weakness (e.g. fear, sadness, loneliness, shame, guilt)  Both sexes do similar emotional work when the situation requires it  Which sex is more emotional? Sometimes men, sometimes women, and sometimes neither, depending on the circumstances & cultural context The Nature of Stress Stress and The Body General adaptation syndrome: according to Hans Selye, a series of physiological reactions to stress occ
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