Chapter 5.docx

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27 Apr 2012

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Chapter 5 Bodily Changes and Emotion
Until 1884 with William James, most argued that experience of emotion follows perception of emotionally exciting event and
emotional experience generates emotion related bodily changes emotion originates in mind
o James said origins of emotional experience is in body
o James contended that emotionally exciting fact provokes bodily responses, which lead to experience of emotion
o Emotion is the perception of bodily changes
o “thesis is that bodily changes follow directly perception of exciting fact, and that feeling of same changes as they occur is
If took away physiological sensations like heart palpitations, tensions, warmth, churning, argued that be left with purely
intellectual state, emotion absent
James’ counterintuitive analysis points to 5 questions
o Is there emotion specific activation in autonomic nervous system?
o Do bodily changes of heart rate, breathing and like support specific kinds of action such as fight of flight?
o To what extent is experience of emotion based on activation of autonomic nervous system?
o Do bodily changes produce experience of emotion?
o Is bodily really primary organ of emotional experience?
Autonomic Nervous System (cortex limbic system + hypothalamus)
Neural signals from cortex communicate with limbic system and hypothalamus
Brain regions send signals through clusters of neurons of autonomic nervous system to target organs, glands muscles and blood
Structures send signals back via autonomic nervous system to hypothalamus, limbic system, and cortex
Most general function is to maintain internal condition of body
Parasympathetic branch: helps with restorative processes, reducing heart rate and blood pressure and increases digestive
Sympathetic branch: increases heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output and shuts down digestive processes to help engage in
physically demanding actions
ANS maintains inner environment of body, to enable individual’s adaptive response to varying external environmental events
does it in several ways
o Controls processes like digestion, body fluids, blood flow, and temperature
Two branches originate in different parts of spinal cord and are controlled by different neurotransmitters
Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Branches (outside body)
Parasympathetic autonomic nervous system incorporates nerves that originate in 2 different parts of spinal cord vagus nerves at
top of spinal cord and sacral region near bottom of spinal cord
Parasympathetic system decreases heart rate and blood pressure.
o In few places it facilitates blood flow by dilating certain arteries increases blood flow to erectile tissue in penis and
clitoris, essential to sexual response
o Increases digestive processes by moving digested food through gastrointestinal tract
o Constricts pupil and bronchioles
o Stimulates secretion of variation fluids throughout body, including those in digestive glands, salivation, and tears
Sympathetic system has over dozen different neural pathways originating at several sites on spinal cod and acts opposite way
from parasympathetic system
o Increases heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output
o Produces vasoconstriction in most veins and arteries
o Shuts down digestive processes
o Associated with contractions in reproductive organs that are part of orgasm
o Leads to contraction of piloerector muscles
o Increases processes that provide energy for body, including glycogenolysis and freeing of fatty acids
o Reduces activity of natural killer cells
o Helps prepare body for fight or flight responses
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Measure activity of ANS in several ways
o Measure heart rate, assess sweat response (galvanic skin response), measure vasoconstriction in arteries and veins,
measure blood flow, measure finger and facial temperature
2 kinds of potential support for James’ claims regarding autonomic specificity and emotion
o There are over a dozen distinct autonomic pathways that activate different regions of body, so different emotions
could potentially be involved with distinct pathways in autonomic nervous system
o One can imagine different ways in which components of autonomic system could combine
Cannon’s Critique of Autonomic Specificity
Cannon was student of James at Harvard and was unconvinced by James’
Argued against James bodily changes are produced by brain + similar during different emotions
Proposed: different emotions involved exactly same general activation of sympathetic nervous system
Arousal response: release of hormone adrenaline. Effects of sympathetic adrenal response are shift of bodily resources to
prepare for action, including what have been known as 3 Fs fight, flight and fuck!
Criticized autonomic specificity thesis by arguing
o Responses of autonomic nervous system, changes in heart rate, breathing, sweat responses, and so on, are too diffuse
and nonspecific to account for distinct. Specificity and nuance of emotions found in brain
o Autonomic responses are too slow to account for rapidity with which we experience emotion, or move from one
emotion to another. Autonomic nervous system produces measurable responses within 15-30 seconds after perceived
stimulus, but people’s emotional experiences can occur more quickly. Contended that experience of emotion arises
quickly than autonomic activity
o Main actions of autonomic nervous system, which James contended were specific to emotion, occur in variety of other
states. Cannon implied that one might find that love and fevers have same autonomic patterning.
o whether sensitivity to change in autonomic nervous system is refined enough to result in many emotional states we
experience. Argued that for most part we are insensitive to autonomic sensations too inaccessible to give rise to
emotional experience. Even if autonomic nervous system generated emotional specific responses, not clear that they
would translate to distinct emotional experience
SINGER’S 2 Factor Theory of Emotion
Singer proposed 2 factor theory of emotion that helps shift emphasis from bodily responses to how people construe emotional
situations as source of different emotional experiences
Important component of emotional experience within Schachter and Singer’s theory is undifferentiated physiological arousal
o Convinced by Cannon’s critiques of physiological specificity and assumed that single type of general arousal is
associated with very different emotions
Experiment of Schacter and Singer hadn’t been replicated in full, theory had 2 lasting influences upon field of emotion
o Because it became so well known, theory added interest in appraisal
Appraisal: evaluation of event according to number of criteria. Set of appraisals determines what emotion is
produced by event
o Finding that has been replicated, that when physiological arousal or anxiety state doesn’t have an obvious source, people
tend to label experience arousal according to what’s happening in situation
Idea of misattribution of arousal has been pursued in many experiments exploring how arousal from one source can be attributed
to some other, salient source can be attributed to some other, salient source in environment
o Misattribution: attribution of mood to object other than which caused it
o Major finding is that people who engage in arousing physical exercise have greater emotional responses to stimuli
presented few moments later when participants think arousal has subsided
o General finding is that arousal, physiological or emotional can transfer to other situations and have effects on
emotional experience of social world
Evidence of Autonomic Specificity in Emotion
Researchers tended to assume that there was little physiological specificity to different emotions, that all emotions were
associated with elevated sympathetic arousal changed due to Ekman inadvertently noticed and suggested greater specificity
to emotion
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