Chapter 5 book notes - Understanding Emotions

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17 Feb 2011
Chapter 5 ± Bodily Changes and Emotion
x :LOOLDP-DPHV¶7KHRU\RI(PRWLRQ6WLPXOXVÆ bodily changes (ANS) Æ emotional experience
o Contended that an emotionally exciting fact provokes bodily responses, which in turn lead to the
experience of emotion.
The autonomic nervous system
x Most general function is to maintain the internal condition of the body, to enable adaptive response to
varying environmental events.
x Parasympathetic ± helps with restorative processes, reducing heart rate and bp and increasing digestive
o Constricts pupil and bronchioles
x Sympathetic ± increases heart rate, bp, cardiac output and shuts down digestive processes, to help the
individual to engage in physically demanding actions
o Reduces activity of natural killer cells, which are involved in immune responses ± may account for
chronic stress producing poor health outcomes.
Parasympathetic and sympathetic branches
x Two different parts of the spinal cord: the vagus nerve, at the top of the spinal cord, and in the sacral region
near the bottom of the spinal cord.
x Assessment of the galvanic skin response (or sweat response)
x Autonomic specificity
o Over a dozen distinct autonomic pathways that activate different regions of the body, so different
emotions could potentially be involved with distinct pathways in the ANS
o Many different ways in which components of the autonomic system could combine, including heart
rate, blood flow to the skin, sweating, etc.
x He proposed instead that bodily changes are produced by the brain and that they are similar during different
emotions such as anger and fear.
x Arousal response includes release of the hormone adrenaline. The effects of this response are a shift of
bodily resources to prepare for action, including the three Fs: fight, flight and sexual behavior (fuck).
x 4 main arguments
o 1) responses of the ANS are too diffuse and non-specific to account for distinct varieties of
emotional experience
o 2) autonomic responses are too slow to account for the rapidity with which we experience emotion,
or move from one emotion to another.
o 3) main actions of the ANS, which James contended were specific to emotion, actually occur in a
variety of other states, such as fevers
o 4) Mostly we are insensitive to autonomic responses. They are at times too inaccessible or dull to
give rise to emotional experience.
Two-factor theory of emotion (Schacter and Singer ± Physiological AND emotional responses)
x Assumed that a single type of general arousal is associated with very different emotions.
x Impacts on the field of emotion:
o 1) added to the interest in appraisal
o 2) finding replicated, that when physiological arousal or an anxiety state does not have an obvious
source, people do tend to label and experience their arousal according to what is happening in the
current situation.
Ex: drink too many cappuccinos, then later on an outing with a new group of friends you
might attribute your heightened arousal to the charm and wit of your friends
This example, where people experience specific emotion, is a result of attributing
heightened arousal or anxiety to what is happening in their immediate social environment
x Idea of misattribution of arousal
o Participants who engage in arousing physical exercise have greater emotional responses to stimuli
presented a few moments later when participants think their arousal has subsided.
o Arousal, sometimes purely physiological, and sometimes from certain emotions such as anxiety,
can transfer to other situations and have effects on our emotional experience of the social world.
Evidence for autonomic specificity in emotion
x Ekman and collaborator Friesen developed a coding system that allowed them to identify facial muscle
actions of the face.
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