PSYC14H3 Chapter Notes -Facial Feedback Hypothesis, Autonomic Nervous System, Walter Bradford Cannon

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31 Oct 2013
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Ch14: emotions
What is an emotion?
The james-lange theory of emotions
- our emotions are the physiological responses or “bodily reverberations” to stimuli
- changes in HR, breathing, pupil dilation, tear secretion, blood flow to the skin, stomach contractions
- our bodies prepare us to react in a survival-facilitating way (running away from the bear)
- emotions tell us how to react/behave
The two-factor theory of emotions
- Walter Cannon thinks differently, he criticized james-lange theory and said that our autonomic
nervous system cannot be accountable for the emotions we feel
- This view, (named for the factors of the physiological signals and the interpretation of those
signals), redirected the focus of emotions away from the physical body and into the mind
- P. 533 (Schacter and Singer)
- James-lange theory suggests an evolutionary origin
Does emotional experience vary across cultures?
Emotions and facial expressions
- facial expressions are part of our biological makeup, and should be the same worldwide
Evidence for cultural universals in facial expressions
- tendencies for humans and chimpanzees to express emotions in similar ways due to common
ancestor
- this has been criticized bc these cultures are not all that diff, they may have learned to express these
emotions so Ekman’s soln was to find a culture that had least possible exposures to Western ways
- emotion universality was strengthened when Fore made the same facial expressions that Westerners
did
- 6 basic emotions: anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise and disgust
Evidence for cultural variability in facial expressions
- ppl find it easier to identify emotions of persons from their own culture
- Japanese ppl find it easier to identify emotions by looking at the top half of the photos (focusing on
the eyes) whereas americans find it easier to look at the bottom half of the photos (focusing on
the mouth)
Cultural display rules
o Rules that govern what facial expressions are appropriate in a given situation and how
intensely they should be exhibited
o Ritualized displays: voluntarily produced emotional expressions such as tongue bite suggest
the existence of cultural display rules that lead ppl to express idiosyncractic facial expressions
Facial feedback hypothesis
o How are emotional experiences and expressions related?
o American culture is one in which ppl are encouraged to express their emotions, whereas
Japanese culture is encouraged to exert control over their emotions
Cultural variation in intensity of emotional experience
o European-canadians express anger openly whereas chinese-canadians minimized their anger
response and felt less angry
o After being angered, chinese-canadians’ blood pressure returns to its baseline level more
quickly than European-canadian’s blood pressure does – suggesting that the chinese-
canadians experienced their anger less intensely than European-canadians
Emotion and language
Cultural variation in kinds of emotional experiences
o Japanese were more likely than americans to discuss abt their relationships when describing
emotions
o Japanese who reported feeling a great deal of positive interpersonally engaged emotions reported a
lot more positive feelings whereas, americans who reported feeling a great deal of positive
interpersonally disengaged emotions reported much more positive feelings in general
Cultural variation in subjective well-being and happiness
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