Chapter 4 Book notes on Understanding Emotions

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17 Feb 2011

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Chapter 4 ± Communication of Emotions
How people flirt
x Initial phase ± men roll their shoulders and raise their arms with exaggerated gestures allowing them to show of potential
signs of social status
x Recognition phase ± men and women intently gaze at each other, express interest with raised eyebrows, sing-song voice,
x ==
x Æ In most social interactions, like flirting, people express emotions. It is central.
Five (FOUR) kinds of nonverbal behavior
contrasting emotional connotations.
x Ex: Different smiles, different meanings
o We smile to be polite
o To hide inappropriate feelings of disgust or disapproval
o To express romantic attraction
o Etc.
x ==
x 1) Emblems ± nonverbal gestures that directly translate to words
Black Power.
x 2) Illustrator ± gesture that accompanies our speech, and often makes it vivid and visual.
o We make hand gestures most of the time when we speak.
o These gestures often precede the corresponding words we say.
x 3) Regulators ± nonverbal behaviors that we use to coordinate conversation.
o People look and point at and orient their bodies toward people whom they want to start speaking.
x 4) Self-adaptor ± refers to nervous behaviors people engage in with no seeming intention, as if to release nervous energy
o People touch their necks, tug at their hair, jiggle their legs.
x 5) Signals in the face, voice, body and touch that conveys emotion
Facial expressions of emotion
The markers of emotional expressions
x 1) Brevity
o Emotional expressions last 1-10 seconds
o However, non-verbal behaviors last 0.25 seconds or might even endure for some time, for example smiling
politely through the entire course of an unpleasant dinner party.
x 2) Involuntary muscles
o Emotional expressions involve involuntary muscle actions that people cannot produce when they feel like it, and
cannot suppress, even when instructed to do so.
o Ex: facial expression of anger involves the action of the muscle that tightens around the mouth, hard to
suppress. Feigned expressions of anger, therefore, would lack the muscle tightening around the mouth.
x These involuntary actions that accompany emotional expressions have a different neuroanatomical basis than voluntary
facial actions such as the furrowed brow or lip press.
x ÆThis suggests that affective displays, as opposed to mocked or feigned expressions, are reliable indicators of the
Studies of the universality of facial expressions
x Darwin proposed three principles to explain why emotions have the appearance they do:
o Principle of serviceable habits ± Expressive behaviors that have led to rewards will re-occur in the future
Ex: the furrowed brow, which protects the eyes from blows, and exposed teeth, which signal imminent
attack, are beneficial in aggressive encounters, and therefore they occur when you are angry.
o Principle of antithesis ± holds that opposing states will be associated with opposing expressions.
Ex: strength and confidence are expressed by expansion of chest and shoulders. Weakness is
o Principle of nervous discharge ± states that excess, undirected energy is released in random expressions, such
as face touches, leg jiggles, and the like.
x ==
x Ekman, Tomkins and Izard
o Encoding hypothesis ± if emotions are universal, the experience of different emotions should be associated with
the same distinct facial expressions in every society, worldwide.
o Decoding hypothesis ± if there are universal emotions, people of different cultures should interpret these
expressions in the same ways.
x Ekman and Friesen
o Six emotions ± Anger, Fear, Disgust, Happiness, Sadness and Surprise
o Across five cultures, participants achieved accuracy between 80-90 percent for the six emotions.
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