PSYB01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Facial Action Coding System, Caveat Emptor, Paul Ekman

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Published on 14 Aug 2012
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PSYB01 Chapter 2 - The Foundations of Psychological Research
Facial Expressions of Emotion
- On an experimental design allows for testing of cause-and-effect relationships
The Goals of Science
Paul Ekman: study of facial expressions of emotion (1960s)
-Traced to Charles Darwin’s 1872 book “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals”
- Went to places like Japan, Brazil and Argentina, then to jungles of Papua New Guinea
-Discovery that facial expressions of emotions were not socially learned but rather products of
evolution
- 7 Basic Emotions: Fear, Anger, Happiness, Contempt, Surprise, Disgust and Sadness
- Description:
oPrinciple objective of research is to provide a scientific understanding of the topic
oResearchers describe and define terms both conceptually and operationally
Conceptual Definition: provides the meaning, often rather broad in scope, of an
abstract term
Operational Definition: follow from conceptual, indicates how a concept is coded,
measured or quantified.
Ekman: Facial Action Coding System: Defines specific combinations of facial
muscle movements that are universally generated when certain emotions are
elicited
Important aspect of a scientific description and explanation is establishing
predictive relationships between two events or occurrences
Coding system is transparent so it can be replicated in another study
- Explanation
oCan include both prediction as well as establishing cause and effect
oCausality (requires 3 kinds of evidence as described by Cook and Campbell (1979))
Temporal Precedence: Cause precedes the effect
Covariation of the cause and effect: When the cause is present, the effect occurs, when
the cause is absent, the effect does not occur
Alternative Explanations: Must show that nothing other than a causal variable could be
responsible for the observed effect
oIt is impossible for humans to control for all extraneous confounding or so-called third
variables that could account for the observed effect
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PSYB01 Chapter 2 - The Foundations of Psychological Research
oEven if we can’t identify causality, a scientific explanation can provide highly useful
information that helps specify rules under which a certain phenomenon occurs
- Practical Knowledge
oBasic Research: Addresses fundamental questions about the nature of abstract psychological
processes and ideas such as emotion, intelligence, reasoning and social behaviour
oApplied Research: addresses important questions that are thought to be of immediate
relevance in solving practical problems
Program Evaluation: studies effects on behaviour of large-scale policy changes, social
reforms and innovations occurring in government, schools, courts, prisons, businesses,
health care, housing and so on
Sources of Research Ideas
- Starting with Observation
oObservation can serve as a source of both evidence and ideas
oOften in research, our observations will need to be broken down into simpler units that allow
for more precise quantification and measurement
oSerendipity effect: Prepared yet open mind increases chance of accidentally discovering
something good
- Starting with Theory
oResearch question flow directly from theory
oDarwin, William James, Carl Lange All theorized that emotions are feelings that come about
as a result of physiological changes such as perspiration, rapid heartbeat, muscular tension,
dryness of mouth, etc. All created by the autonomic nervous system (regulates body
reactions to stress) *James-Lange Theory
oWalter Cannon and Philip Bard Cannon-Bard Theory: emotions come first, followed by bodily
changes
oNiedenthal (2007) Embodiment Theory of Emotion: Perceptual, somatovisceral and motoric
re-experiencing of the relevant emotion
When people adopt emotion-specific body postures, they experience the associated
emotions
When people make facial expression or emotional gestures, their perception and
impressions are affected
Inhibiting people’s motor movements can interfere with their experience of emotion
- Literature
oScientific Journals: Empirical articles and review articles
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Document Summary

On an experimental design allows for testing of cause-and-effect relationships. Paul ekman: study of facial expressions of emotion (1960s) Traced to charles darwin"s 1872 book the expression of the emotions in man and animals . Went to places like japan, brazil and argentina, then to jungles of papua new guinea. Discovery that facial expressions of emotions were not socially learned but rather products of evolution. 7 basic emotions: fear, anger, happiness, contempt, surprise, disgust and sadness. Description: principle objective of research is to provide a scientific understanding of the topic, researchers describe and define terms both conceptually and operationally. Conceptual definition: provides the meaning, often rather broad in scope, of an abstract term. Operational definition: follow from conceptual, indicates how a concept is coded, measured or quantified. Ekman: facial action coding system: defines specific combinations of facial muscle movements that are universally generated when certain emotions are elicited.

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