Chapter 1

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9 Feb 2011
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PSYC18- Chapter 1- Approaches to understanding emotions
It has often been thought that anger is destructive to the self and to social relations
The most early theorists of emotions, the Epicureans and Stoics thought that
emotions are irrational and damaging
19th century founders
3 theorists: Darwin, James and Freud
Darwin: the evolutionary approach
Darwin did not say that we have emotions because they function in our survival
He believed that humans are descended from other species; we are not only closer to
animals but we ourselves are animals
He observed emotional expressions in nonhuman species as well as adult and infant
humans; he was interested in both normal and abnormal
He was one of the first to use questionnaires and first to use photographs of
naturalistic and posed expressions to make scientific points
Darwin asked 2 main questions in his book on emotions. First, how are emotions
expressed in humans and other animals? Second, where do our emotions come from?
He concluded that emotional expressions derive from habits that in our evolutionary
or individual past had once been useful
For Darwin, emotional expressions showed the continuity of adult human
behavioural mechanisms with those of lower animals and with those of infancy
He thought that emotions were like vestigial parts of our bodies; he believed that
sneering, an expression in which we partially uncover the teeth on one side is a
behavioural vestige of snarling, and of preparing to bite. This preparation was
functional in some distant ancestor but is so no longer
Darwin traced other expressions to infancy: crying is the vestige of screaming in
infancy, though in adulthood it is partly inhibited
One of his most interesting suggestions is that patterns of adult affection, of taking
those whom we love in our arms, are based on patterns of parents hugging young
infants
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