Textbook Notes (270,000)
CA (160,000)
UTSC (20,000)
Psychology (10,000)
PSYC18H3 (200)
Chapter 1

PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Tania Singer, Stoicism, Autonomic Nervous System


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC18H3
Professor
G Cupchik
Chapter
1

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Chapter 1 – Approaches to Understanding Emotions
Emotion: psychological state or process that mediates between our concerns (or goals) and
events of our world.
An emotion gives priority to one concern over others (Sylvan Tomkins)
oEmotion is a kind of commitment to another – in interpersonal terms
Emotions are no longer considered irrational  thought to be locally rational
They are local to the concern that has achieved priority and the emotion makes it urgent
What else are our emotions?
The source of our values
Help us form and engage in our relationships
oMediate our relationships
Nineteenth-Century Founders
Charles Darwin: the Evolutionary Approach
Asked 2 broad questions about emotion:
1. How are emotions expressed in humans and other animals
a. Expression  Bodily System  Emotion examples
b. Blushing  Blood Vessels  Shame, modesty
2. Where do our emotions come from?
a. Proposed that emotional expressions derive largely from habits that in our
evolutionary or individual past had once been useful.
b. Emotional expressions are based on reflex-like mechanisms
Some human emotional expressions are kind of like fossils that allow us to trace the
evolutionary ancestry of species  we are descended from pre-human ancestors for whom
emotional expressions had a use
Other expressions come from our infancy: screaming as a child turns to crying as an
adult
Our emotions link us to the past
Argued that there is a universality of some of our expressions
William James: the Physiological Approach
Emotion is the perception of changes of our body as we react to a fact
The bear example  James Lange Theory

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oWe feel a bunch of physiological changes at the sight of the bear and those
changes are what make us run
The core of emotion is a pattern of bodily responses
1. James concentrated on experience  experience is embodied
a. Physiological changes
2. Emotions give ‘color and warmth’ to experience
a. Without these, life would be very boring
Sigmund Freud: The Psychotherapeutic Approach
First to argue that emotions are at the core of many mental illnesses
Freud thought an emotion in the present could derive from one in the past
His developed method of psychoanalysis demonstrated this:
oThe telling by a patient of her or his life story, which is found to have gaps  filling
of the gaps by ‘interpretations’ of the therapist and the insights of the person
receiving the therapy, who realizes something of which he or she had been
unconscious
Freud’s work suggests that the emotional life of adulthood derives from relationships we
had in childhood with parents or other caregivers
Richard Lazarus emotions derive from how we evaluate events in the environment in relation to
our goals
Philosophical and Literary Approaches
Aristotle and the Ethics of Emotions
Most fundamental insight: many assume that emotions happen to us outside our control, really
they depend on what we believe
Drama is about human action and what can happen when human actions can miscarry and
have effects that were unforeseen  we are responsible for our actions
Two effects of tragic drama
1. People are moved emotionally
2. Katharsis – clarification (the clearing away of obstacles to understanding)
Could be said that the Epicureans and Stoics were the first emotion researchers in the West
Idea that human beings have a right to the pursuit of happiness
Idea of living naturally, in harmony with an environment of which we are stewards
Taught that one should live in a simple way and enjoy simple pleasures rather than
chasing after things that make us anxious
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