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Chapter 7

PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Appraisal Theory, Robert Zajonc, Autonomic Nervous System

Course Code
G Cupchik

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PSYC18 Chapter 7 – Appraisal, Knowledge and Experience
- Split brain operation: separate left side of cortex from the right
- Gazzaniga and the patient who was a split-brain patient: could not process the horror film
- Primary appraisal: unconscious, automatic, like reflex
- Secondary appraisal: potentially conscious, thought-like, gives rise to specific emotions
Appraisal and emotion
- Historical background and definitions
oConcept of evaluation goes back to Aristotle, followed by Epicurus and Chrysippus
oChrysippus: distinguishedbetween what he called first movements of emotions
(automatic) and second movements (mental)
oMagda arnold and J.A. Gasson: reintroduced emotion as evaluation
oRichard Lazarus: researched stress. Stress produces vigilant attention and heitened
activity in the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.
In the short term, it is an adaptive process, helping people respond to
threats, dangers and likely punishments with quick, energetic efficiency.
In the long term, chronic stress is dangerous (financial problems, turbulent
periods in marriage, etc.)
Many different kinds of stress: humiliation stress, losing a loved one, starting
a new career. Each different kind of stress promotes a particular kind of
emotion, by means of a specific appraisal process.
Lazarus proposes that appraisals involve judgments of how good or bad an
event is, and that appraisals concern the individual’s goals and aspirations.
Appraisals relate the outer world and the inner self
oStein, Trabasso and Liwag propose that appraisals that give rise to emotions also
involve beliefs, inferences and plans:
1. An event, usually unexpected, is perceived that changes the status of a
valued goal
2. Beliefs are often challenged; this can cause bodily changes and
expressions to occur
3. Plans are formed about what to do about the event to reinstate or modify
goal and likely results of plans are considered
What happened? What can I do about it and what might happen next?
- Automatic appraisals of good and bad
oRobert Zajonc: proposed that we process stimuli through several different appraisal
One system provides immediate, unconscious evaluation of whether
stimulus is good or bad (primary appraisal), probably involves the amygdala
Other systems: secondary, provide more deliberate conscious, complex
To study automatic evaluations, in suboptimal subliminal condition,
participants viewed photos of people for four milliseconds (happy or angry?
they don’t know). In optimal condition, participants viewed same foaces for
one second (aware of which faces they viewed). The subliminal pictures had
a priming effect on participants to like the ideographs
oUlf Dimberg and Arne Ohman: those who subliminally saw angry faces became
slightly angry as well
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