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35- Introduction to Emotion.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 1000
Benjamin Giguere

INTRODUCTION TO EMOTION Cognition and Emotion  Emotion: a response of the whole organism involving (1) physiological arousal (heart pounding) (2) expressive behaviours (quickened pace), and (3) conscious experience (thoughts, and panicked feelings) Historical Emotion Theories  James-Lange theory: Arousal before Emotion  The theory that our experience of emotion is our awareness of our physiological responses to emotion- arousing stimuli  Cannon-Bard Theory: Arousal and Emotion Occur Simultaneously  The theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers (1) physiological responses and (2) the subjective experience of emotion.  The emotion-triggering stimulus traveled to my sympathetic nervous system, causing body’s arousal  At same time it traveled to the brains cortex, causing awareness of emotion  But most researchers now agree that our emotions also involve cognition Cognition Can Define Emotion: Schachter and Singer  An emotional experience requires a conscious interpretation of arousal: our physical reactions and our thoughts (perceptions, memories, and interpretations) together create emotion  Two-factor theory: to experience emotion one must (1) be physically aroused and (2) cognitively label the arousal  Spillover effect: arousal spills over from one event to the next  Arousal fuels emotion; cognition channels it Cognition May Not Precede Emotion: Zajonc, LeDoux, and Lazarus  Robert Zajonc contended that we actually have many emotional reactions apart from, or even before, our interpretation of a situation  We have an acutely sensitive automatic radar for emotionally significant information, such that even a subliminally flashed stimulus can prime us to feel better or worse about a follow-up stimulus  Neuroscientists are charting the neural pathways of both bottom-up and top-down emotions  Our emotional responses can follow 2 different brain pathways  Some emotions (especially more complex emotions like hatred and love) travel a high road  a stimulus would travel by thalamus to the brains cortex. There it would be analyzed and labeled before the command it sent out, via the amygdala (emotion-control center) to respond  Ledoux: But sometimes emotions (especially likes, dislikes, and fears) take the low road  a neural shortcut that by passes the cortex. A fear-provoking stimulus would travel from the eye or ear (via thalamus) directly to the amygdala. The amygdala sends moral neural projections up to the cortex than it receives back which makes it easier for our feelings to hijack out thinking than for our thinking to rule our feelings.  Lazarus: conceded that our brains process vast amounts of information without our conscious awareness, and that some emotional responses do not require conscious thinking  Much of emotional life operations low road, but how would we know what we are reacting to if we did not in some way appraise the situation?  The appraisal may be effortless, and we may not be conscious of it, but it is still a mental function  To know whether stimulus is good or bad the brain must have some idea of what it is  Emotions arise when we appraise an ev
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