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Chapter 1-6

PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-6: Emotional Labor, Orbicularis Oculi Muscle, Motor Coordination

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Michelle Hilscher

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Chapter 1: Approaches To Understanding Emotions
In the recent study of human emotions, it’s viewed that emotions serve important functions,
especially in our social lives. This doesn’t mean that emotions are always rational.
What Is An Emotion? First Ideas
Psychologists now tend to think of emotions being locally rational: their rationality doesn’t
range over all possible considerations.
Emotions are rational in that they help us deal adaptively with concerns specific to our
current context.
They are local to the concern that has achieved priority, and the emotion makes it urgent
Emotions are a source of our values, including our deepest values: whom and what we love,
what we dislike, what we despise.
Emotions help us form and engage in our relationships. Who we choose to spend our lives with,
how we feel about our family members, who our friends are, why we find it difficult to be
around someone we dislike… etc.
What’s the interpersonal equivalent of an emotion giving priority to a concern?
It’s that an emotion is a kind of commitment to another.
Ex. when we love someone, even if it’s brief, and not spoken as love, we commit
ourselves to that other, at least for a while. We make the others concerns our own.
19th Century Founders
Charles Darwin: The Evolutionary Approach
Wrote The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, where he argued more to the
common sense.
Darwin asked two questions: how are emotions expressed in humans and other animals?
Where do our emotions come from?
Darwin thought that emotional expressions were vestiges of the past.
Darwin argued that sneering is a behavioral vestige of snarling and of preparing
to bite. This was functional in some distant ancestor but not anymore.
Crying is the vestige of infant screaming, he argued that for the function of
closing the eyes and secretion of tears help them.
Darwin suggested that patterns of adult affection, of taking those whom we love
in our arms, are based on patterns of parents hugging young infants.
Darwin argued for the universality of facial expressions
Darwin thought that emotions help us navigate our social interactions.
William James: The Physiological Approach
In his The Principles of Psychology, James argued against the idea that when we feel an
emotion it impels us in a certain way.
That we found feel frightened and run away if we saw a bear.
Instead, James proposed that when we see the bear, the emotion is the perception
of changes of our body as we react to that fact. When we feel frightened, what
we feel is our heart beating, our cold skin, our posture freeze, or our legs
carrying us away.
The core of emotions is the pattern of such bodily responses.

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“If we fancy some strong emotion and then try to abstract from our consciousness of it
all the feelings of its bodily symptoms, we find we have nothing left behind.”
James argued that experienced is embodied. He proposed that our experience of many
emotions, involves changes of the autonomic nervous system as well as changes from
movements of muscles and joints.
James proposed that emotions give “color and warmth” to experience. Without these
effects, everything would be pale.
Sigmund Freud: The Psychotherapeutic Approach
Freud was one of the first to argue that emotions are at the core of many mental illnesses.
Freud thought that an emotion in the present could derive from one in the past, in the patient’s
early life.
Freud’s work suggests that the emotional life of adulthood derives from relationships we had in
childhood with parents or other caregivers.
Philosophical And Literary Approaches
Aristotle And The Ethics Of Emotions
Aristotle’s fundamental insight was that emotions really depend on what we believe.
In this way, we are responsible for our emotions because we are responsible for our
Ex. Anger is defined cognitively in terms of our belief that a slight has occurred.
Ex. Affection when we’re hugged by a friend, anxiety when it’s by a stranger.
Aristotle noticed two important effects of tragic drama:
First, people are moved emotionally. We are moved to feel sympathy or pity for the
protagonist, and to fear for ourselves, because we can imagine ourselves in their place.
Second, we can experience catharsis of our emotions. Aristotle’s catharsis meant neither
purification nor purgation, it meant clarification, the clearing away of obstacles to
We can consciously understand predicaments of human actions in theatre and
their relation to the consequences of human actions in the real world.
After Aristotle’s death, two important philosophical schools developed:
Epicureanism: one should live a simple way and enjoy simple pleasures, like food and
friendship, rather than chase after wealth, luxuries or fame.
The idea that humans have a right to the pursuit of happiness, the idea of living
naturally, in harmony with an environment which we are stewards for.
Stoicism: most emotions are damaging to society, and so should be disciplined out of
daily experience.
They believe that because emotions derive from desires, to free oneself from
crippling and destructive emotions one should extirpate almost all desires.
These two philosophies are called ethical because it is about all the considerations we might
have as how to best structure our own life in relation to others.

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It’s been said that when one gets right down to it, there are only two real choices in life:
epicureanism, living in a way that is pleasurable though moderate, and stoicism, living
so that rationality is the highest virtue.
Rene Descartes: Philosophically Speaking
Descartes claimed that 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’re closely connected to our bodies – ex. rapid heartbeat,
Descartes differentiated emotions from perceptions of events that happen in the outside world
and perceptions that arise from events within the body such as hunger and pain.
Whereas perceptions tell us about the outer world, and bodily states like hunger and pain
tell us about critical events in the body, emotions tell us what is important in our souls,
in relation to our concerns and our identities.
Descartes then describes how emotions cannot be entirely controlled by thinking, but they can
be regulated by thoughts, especially thoughts that are true.
Like Aristotle, Descartes suggests that emotions depend on how we evaluate events. Descartes
was also one of the first to argue that emotions serve important functions.
But emotions can also be dysfunctional (ex. the overly worrisome girlfriend worrying
about why her boyfriend was silent most of dinner. He was probably tired)
Galen and the 4 humors:
Blood give srise to hope and vigor – sanguine.
Phlegm gives rise to placidity – phlegmatic
Yellow bile gives rise to anger – choleric
Black bile gives rise to despair – melancholy.
George Eliot: The World Of The Arts
Eliot says that emotions connect us to each other – can be extended by novelists and other kinds
of artists to people outside our usual circle of friends and acquaintances.
Eliot’s Middlemarch, is that our emotion can act as a sort of compass, it’s also the principle
means by which we affect other people.
Emotions are what relationships are made of. They have powerful effect upon how we
perceive other people and situations in which we find ourselves.
We come to understand that we experience our own emotions differently from
how people see them.
Brain Science, Psychology, Sociology
John Harlow, Tania Singer, New Brain Science
John Harlow examined Phineas Gage, injury caused him to change from being reliable to
impatient, and easily angered.
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