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PSYC 2230
Pauline Charlton

 Emotions Emotion: internal conscious states that we infer in ourselves and others (also in many animals).  Emotion and the Nervous System • Sympathetic nervous system activates with emotional arousal – increased heart rate, respiration, perspiration and blood pressure – decreased digestion and blood vessel constriction – Stimulates glucocorticoid (hormone) release by adrenal glands – Parasympathetic nervous system brings you back down and restores energy  Theories of Emotion • James-Lange theory – nervous system activation occurs first and causes emotions – we fear a bear because our body reacted to seeing one • Cannon-Bard theory – nervous system responses to emotional stimuli are the same for each emotion– can't be feedback from physiological activation – We experience physiological arousal and emotion at the same time – No attention to cognition • Schachter-Singer theory – cognitive labeling of the physiological activation determines emotion experienced – physiological activation is the same for every emotion  Cognitive Aspects of Emotion* • Schachter-Singer's study (1962) – injected with epinephrine (causing sympathetic nervous system arousal) – some told actual effects of injection (informed), others uninformed – waited in room with confederate acting euphoric or angry – uninformed participants labeled their arousal congruent with confederate's apparent mood  Ethology  Innate expressions of emotional state have evolved from intentional movements.  Physical Patterns of Emotional Response* • Use of polygraph (commonly called the lie detector) has demonstrated that some emotional states indeed to have distinctive patterns of physiological response • Some investigators looking at feedback provided from facial muscles – facial expressions may lead to the experience of different emotions – are also correlated with distinctive patterns of physiological activation – facial expressions are universal (even in blind individuals)  Emotional Brain  Limbic system, forebrain areas that form a border around the brain stem, is critical for emotions  Emotion stimulates activity in cingulate cortex, hypothalamus, and parts of somatosensory cortex, and the midbrain.  damage to cingulate cortex reduces levels of tension and anger  Sites for different emotions  inactivate medial frontal cortex and lose ability to identify angry expressions  damage insular cortex and don’t experience disgust or recognize events that trigger disgust, e.g, nausea  Emotional Brain  Right hemisphere more responsive to emotional stimuli than left  especially activated by unpleasant emotions  inactivate the right hemisphere, and people do not experience strong emotions and can’t remember feeling them  crying or laughter activates right amygdala  noting emotional expression in other peoples faces activates your right temporal cortex  left hemisphere damage allows the right hemisphere to better detect emotional expressions  The Prefrontal Cortex and the Right Hemisphere • Damage to prefrontal cortex blunts emotional responding – inability to anticipate long-term consequences to their behavior • Damage to right hemisphere causes emotional suppression probably due to decreased autonomic nervous system activity – have difficulty recognizing emotional expressions – facial expressions and vocal tone – their own speech is emotionless  Stress and Health  Hans Selye advocate that there is a nonspecific response of the body to stress  Stress activates the ANS and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) cortex axis  Stress may produce psychosomatic illnesses  Rats who could run in wheel to avoid shocks developed fewer ulcers than rat who had no control.  Stress Activates the ANS and the HPA Axis  The ANS reacts quickly to acute stressors and activates the SNS  HPA Axis is slower to respond  hypothalamus causes release of ACTH from pituitary and release of cortisol from adrenal cortex  cortisol elevates blood sugar and enhances metabolism  Brief activation of SNS or HPA strengthens immune system  But, chronic stress results in high cortisol levels which is harmful to the immune system  Social and Personality Variables* • Social support lowers death rate and stress hormone levels • Hostility associated with greater cardiac risk • Depressed individuals have lower natural killer cells  Negative Effects of Stress* • Memory impairment, appetite changes, decreased sex drive and energy, and mood disruptions • Decreased B cells, T cells and natural killer cells – immunoredistribution hypothesis • Increased blood pressure potentially causing heart attack or stroke • Sudden cardiac death where sympathetic nervous system so activated it sends the heart into fibrillation • Decreased hippocampal volume and cortical tissue in brain – probably caused by the increased cortisol  Post traumatic Stress Syndrome  Occurs in some people who suffer trauma such as being severely injured, or witness traumatic events.  Common among soldiers, rape victims, kidnap victims and torture victims  frequent flashbacks and nightmares about the event  avoidance of reminders of the event  exaggerated arousal in response
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