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Chapter 8

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Steve Joordens

Emotional Experience: The Feeling Machine What Is Emotion? - multidimensional scaling: a technique used by psychologists asking people to rate the similarity of dozens of emotional experiences - generate a map of the emotional landscape - assigning smaller distances to those that feel similar and larger distances to those that feel dissimilar - emotion - A positive or negative experience that is associated with a particular pattern or physiological activity. The Emotional Body - William James suggested that the events that produce an emotion might actually happen in the opposite order: First you see the bear, then your heart starts pounding and your leg muscles contract, and then you experience fear, which is nothing more or less than your experience of your physiological response - James-Lange theory - A theory in which asserts stimuli trigger activity in the autonomc nervous system, which in turn produces an emotional experience in the brain. - emotional experience is the consequence—and not the cause—of our physiological reactions to objects and events in the world - Cannon-Bard theory - A theory in which asserts that a stimulus simultaneously triggers activity in the autonomic nervous system and emotional experience in the brain - Canon favoured his own theory over the James-Lange theory - first, the autonomic nervous system reacts too slowly to account for the rapid onset of emotional experience - second, people often have difficulty accurately detecting changes in their own autonomic activity, such as heart rate - third, if non-emotional stimuli- such as temperature- can cause the same pattern of autonomic activity that emotional stimuli do - finally, Cannon argued that there simply weren't enough unique patterns of autonomic activity to account for all the unique emotional experiences people have. - James and Lange were right, they claimed, to equate emotion with the perception of one’s bodily reactions - Cannon and Bard were right, they claimed, to note that there are not nearly enough distinct bodily reactions to account for the wide variety of emotions that human beings can experience - two-factor theory - A theory which asserts emotions are inferences about the causes of physiological arousal. The Emotional Brain - Heinrich Kluver and Paul Bucy were studying the effects of hallucinogenic drugs in rhesus monkeys - before an animal can feel fear, its brain must first decide that there is something t be afraid of - appraisal - An evaluation of the emotional-relevant aspects of a stimulus. - amygdala is critical to making these appraisals - if visual information doesn’t reach the amygdala, then its emotional significance cannon be assessed - amygdala is an extremely fast and sensitive “threat detector” that is activated even when potentially threatening stimuli - it goes through the brain and found that it is transmitted simultaneously along two distinct routes: the “fast pathway,” which goes from the thalamus to the amygdala - in the “slow pathway”, which goes from the thalamus to the cortex and then to the amygdala - when experimental subjects are instructed to experience emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, and anger, they show increased activity in the amygdala and decreased activity in the cortex, but when they are asked to inhibit these emotions, they show increased cortical activity and decreased amygdala activity - the amygdala presses the emotional gas pedal and the cortex then hits the brakes The Regulation of Emotion - emotion regulation - The use of cognitive and behavioral strategies to influence one’s emotional experience. - attempt to cheer up – to turn negative emotions into positive ones - some are behavioural strategies and some are cognitive strategies - reappraisal - Changing one’s emotional experience by changing the meaning of the emotional-eliciting stimulus. - reappraisal can activate key areas of the cortex and amygdala can be deactivated Emotional Communication: Msgs w/o Wrds - emotional expression - Any observable sign of an emotional state. - emotional states influence just about everything we do - observers can also estimate our emotional states from the direction of our gaze, out gait, our posture, and even from a brief touch on the arm Communicative Expression - Darwin noticed that human and nonhuman animals share certain facial and postural expressions, and he suggested that these expressions were meant to communicate information about internal states - emotional expressions are a convenient way for one animal to let another animal know how it is feeling and hence how it is prepared to act The Universality of Expression - universality hypothesis - The hypothesis that emotional expessions have the same meaning for everyone. - two lines of evidence suggest that Darwin was largely correct - first, people are quite accurate at judging the emotional expressions of members of other cultures - second, people who have never seen a human face make the same facial expressions as those who have - the facial displays of at least 6 emotions – anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise – are universal The Cause and Effect of Expression - words are symbols, but facial expressions are signs - symbols are arbitrary designations that have no casual relationship with the things they symbolize - facial expressions are not arbitrary symbols of emotion - they are signs of emotion because signs are caused by the things they signify - facial feedback hypothesis - The hypothesis that emotional expressions can cause the emotional experiences they signify. - people unconsciously mimic other people’s body postures and facial expressions - main function of mimicry is to help us figure out what others are feeling - the expression-causes-emotion effect, when we mimic someone’s facial expression, we also feel their emotions Deceptive Expression - your expressions are moderated by your knowledge that it is permissible to show contempt for your peers but not for your superiors - display rules - Norms for the control of emotional expression. - display rules requires several techniques: - intensification: involves exaggeration the expression of one’s emotion, as when a person pretends to be more surprised by a gift than she really is - deintensification: involves muting the expression of one’s emotion, as when the loser of a contest tries to look less distressed than he really is - masking: involves expressing one emotion while feeling another, as when a poker player tries to look distressed rather than delighted as she examines a hand with 4 aces - neutralizing: involves feeling an emotion but displaying no expression, as when a judge tries not to betray his leanings while lawyers ar making their arguments - morphology: certain facial muscles tend to resist conscious control, and for a trained observer, these so-called reliable muscles are quite revealing; but only a genuine, spontaneous smile engages the obicularis oculi, which crinkles the corners of the eyes - symmetry: sincere expressions are a bit more symmetrical than insincere expressions; a slightly lopsided smile is less likely to be genuine than is a perfectly even one - duration: sincere expressions tend to last between a half second and 5 seconds, and expressions that last for shorter or longer periods are more likely to be insincere - temporal patterning: sincere expressions appear and disappear smoothly over a few seconds, whereas insincere expressions tend to have more abrupt onsets and offsets - many aspects of our verbal and nonverbal behavior are altered when we tell a lie - the most widely used lie detection machine is the polygraph, which measures a variety of physiological responses that are associated with stress, which people often feel when they are afraid of being caught in a lie Motivation: Getting Moved - motivation - The purpose for or psychological cause of an action. - emotions provide people with information about the world and emotions are the objectives toward which people strive The Function of Emotion - Capgras syndrome are people who believe that one or more of their family members are imposters - people with Capgras syndrome use their emotional experience as information about the world - the first function of emotions, then, is to provide us with information - the second function is to give us something to do with that information - hedonic principle - The notion that all people are motivated to experience pleasure and avoid pain. The Conceptualization of Motivation Instincts - nature endows us with certain motivations and that experience endows us with others - William James called the natural tendency to seek a particular goal an instinct, which he defined as “the faculty of acting in such a way as to produce certain ends, without foresight of the ends, and without previous education in the performance” - behaviourists rejected the concept of instinct - they believed that behavior should be explained by the external stimuli that evoke it and not by the hypothetical internal states on which it depends - behaviourists wanted nothing to do with the notion of inherited behavior because they believed that all complex behavior was learned Drives - homeostasis - The tendency for a system
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