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PSYC18H3 Understanding Emotions Textbook Notes.pdf


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC18H3
Professor
G Cupchik

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PSYC18H3 S Emotion
Chapter 1 Approaches to Understanding Emotions
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-Emotion: A psychological state that mediates between our concerns and the events
of our world.
At any one time an emotion gives priority to one concern over others.
Emotions are Locally Rational: Emotion is local to the concern that has achieved
priority. Emotion is rational in that it helps us deal adaptively with concerns
specific to our current context.
Emotions are the source of our values.
Emotions help us form and engage in relationships.
Interpersonal equivalent of an emotion giving priority to a concern is that an
emotion is a kind of commitment to another.
-19th Century Founders of Emotion
Charles Darwin: The Evolutionary Approach
-How are emotions expressed in humans and other animals? !
Refer to Table 1.1 Emotional expressions discussed by Darwin (1872), the bodily
systems used, and the type of emotion that was expressed on p 6.
-Where do our emotions come from?!
Emotional expressions derive from habits (reflex) that in our evolutionary or
individual past had once been useful. They can be triggered involuntarily in
circumstances analogous to those that had triggered the original habits.
-Emotions’ Function: Help us navigate our social interactions.
William James: The Physiological Approach
-James-Lange Theory: Physiological arousal instigates the experience of a
specific emotion. Emotion is the perception of bodily changes as we react to a
situation.
-Emotions give colour and warmth to experience.
-Emotions guide and influence our perceptions.
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PSYC18H3 S Emotion
Sigmund Freud: The Psychotherapeutic Approach
-Certain events can be so damaging that they leave emotional scars that can
shape the rest of our lives.
-Emotions are at the core of mental illnesses.
-The emotional life of adulthood derives from relationships in childhood.
-Developed psychoanalysis.
-Aristotle and the Ethics of Emotions
-Emotions depend on what we believe in - we are responsible for our emotions
because we are responsible for our beliefs.
-Different judgements and different evaluations give rise to different emotions.
-Effects of Tragic Drama
The audience are moved emotionally: We feel sympathy for the protagonist
who is being tortured by consequences to which he has unintentionally
contributed to and we feel fear for ourselves because we know that the
protagonist is also ourself.
We experience catharsis (clearing away of obstacles to understanding) of our
emotions: By seeing predicaments of human action at the theatre we may
come to understand the relationship between emotions and consequences of
human action in a world that can only be known imperfectly.
-Ethical Philosophies (The members of these schools did not only have the goal
of understanding how emotions work, but also the goal of understanding how
one could shape one’s life for the better):
Epicureanism: One should live in a simple way and enjoy simple pleasures,
like food and friendship, rather than chasing after things that make one
anxious, like wealth, or are unnatural, like luxuries, or are ephemeral, like
fame. To allow ourselves to have such goals can only lead to painful
emotions: greed at wanting more or envy at someone having something we do
not. Human beings have a right to the pursuit of happiness and we should
live naturally and in harmony with the environment in which we are stewards.
Stoicism: Emotions derive from desires, therefore, in order to free oneself
from crippling and destructive emotions one should extirpate almost all
desires. Live in such a way that rationality is the highest virtue.
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PSYC18H3 S Emotion
-Rene Descartes: Philosophically Speaking
The 6 Fundamental Emotions: Wonder, desire, joy, love, hatred, and sadness occur
in the thinking aspect of ourselves, which he called the soul. At the same time,
they are closely connected to our bodies in the form of blushing or tears.
Emotions arise in the mind, functionally enable our plans, and affect our bodies.
Emotions can be regulated by thoughts.
The 4 Humours: It was thought that disease was caused by an imbalance amongst
the humours, with an increase of each humour giving rise to a distinct emotional
state. Blood gives rise to hope and vigour; Phlegm gives rise to placidity; Yellow
Bile gives rise to anger; and Black Bile gives rise to despair.
-George Eliot: The World of the Arts
Emotions can act as a sort of compass in life and it is also the principal means by
which we affect other people.
-John Harlow, Tania Singer: New Brain Science
Harlow: Damage to the frontal lobes led to the loss in ability to conduct
relationships.
Singer: Brain activity was assessed while participants experienced a painful
electric shock and compared it to that elicited when they observed a signal
indicating that their loved one was receiving a similar shock. Although some areas
of the brain were activated only when the participants experienced pain through
their own senses, other regions, including the anterior insula and parts of the
anterior cingulate cortex, were activated both when subjects received pain and
when they were signalled. There is an emotional aspect of pain that is shared.
Empathy is defined as having an emotion, which is in some way similar to that of
another person, which is elicited by observation or imagination of the other’s
emotion, and that involves knowing that the other is the source of one’s own
emotion.
-Magda Arnold, Sylvan Tomkins: New Psychological Theories
Arnold: Emotions are based on appraisals (evaluations) of events. Appraisals
involve at first attraction to, or repulsion from, some object, and they determine
whether the emotion is positive or negative. Then come further distinctions,
depending on whether the object of the emotion is present or not, and whether
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