CHAPTER 8 – EMOTION & MOTIVATION
EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE: THE FEELING MACHINE
What is Emotion?
Why do psychologists use multidimensional scaling?
Multidimensional scaling: asking people to rate the similarity of dozens of emotional experiences to
map those experiences
What good is this map? Maps don’t just show how close things are to each other: They also reveal the
dimensions on which those things vary
Emotion – a positive or negative experiences that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity
The Emotional Body
James-Lange theory of emotion – stimuli trigger activity in the autonomic nervous system, which in turn
produces an emotional experience in the brain
Emotional experience is the consequences – and not the cause – of our physiological reactions to
objects and events in the world
Cannon-Bard Theory of emotion – a stimulus simultaneously triggers activity in the autonomic system and
emotional experience in the brain
Cannon favoured his own theory over the James-Lange theory because:
1. Autonomic nervous system reacts too slowly to account for rapid onset of emotional experience
2. People often have difficulty detecting changes in theory own autonomic activity, such as their heart
3. If non-emotional stimuli – such as temperature – can cause the same patter of autonomic activity that
emotional stimuli do, then why don’t people feel afraid when they get a fever?
4. There simply aren’t enough unique patterns of autonomic activity to account for all the unique
emotional experiences people have
How did the two-factor theory of emotion expand on earlier theories?
Schachter and Singer’s two-factor theory of emotion – emotions are inferences about the causes of physiological
Suggests that stimuli trigger general physiological arousal whose cause the brain interprets, and this
interpretation leads to emotional experience
Our bodily activity and our mental activity are both the causes and the consequences of our emotional
The Emotional Brain
The amygdala of the brain plays a special role in producing emotions (such as fear) and when it is damaged the
person is no longer able to experience emotions. Before an animal can feel fear, its brain must first decide that
there is something to be afraid of.
Appraisal – an evaluation of the emotion-relevant aspects of a stimulus
Amygdala is critical in making these appraisals
If visual information doesn’t reach the amygdala, then its emotional significance can not be assessed
o Monkey theory
The Fast and Slow Pathways of Fear
Information about a stimulus takes two routes simultaneously
The fast pathway: which goes from the thalamus directly to the amygdala
The slow pathway: which goes from the thalamus to the cortex and then to the amygdala
Because the amygdala receives information from the thalamus before it receives information form the cortex,
people can be afraid of something before they know what it is.
How do the limbic system and cortex interact?
When experimental subjects are instructed 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
Emotion is a primitive system that prepares us to react rapidly and on the basis of little information to
things that are relevant to our survival and well-being CHAPTER 8 – EMOTION & MOTIVATION
Cortex identifies a stimulus amygdala makes a split-second decision about the significance of the
objects and events in our environment and, when necessary, prepare our hearts and our legs to flee
The Regulation of Emotion
Emotion Regulation – the cognitive and behavioural strategies people use to influence their own emotional
experience; typically an attempt to cheer up – to turn negative emotions into positive ones.
Reappraisal – changing one’s emotional experience by changing the meaning of the emotion-eliciting stimulus
Participants were shown photos that induced negative emotions, such as a photo of a woman crying
during a funeral initially their amygdalae became active but as they reappraised the picture (by
thinking the woman was at a wedding instead), several key areas of the cortex became active and
moments later their amygdalae were deactivated
o Participants consciously and willfully turned down the activity of their own amygdalae by
thinking about the photo in a different way
One of the most effective strategies for emotion regulation
EMOTIONAL COMMUNICATION: MSGS W/O WRDS
Emotional Expression – an observable sign of an emotional state
Why are we “walking, talking advertisements” of our inner states?
Research shows that listeners can infer our emotional states from vocal cues alone
Observers can also estimate our emotional state from the direction of our gaze, out gait our posture,
and even from a brief touch on the arm
Darwin suggested that emotional expressions ate a convenient way for on animal to let another animal know
how it is feeling and hence how it is prepared to act. Emotional expressions are like the wordsof a nonverbal
The Universality of Expression
Universality hypothesis – emotional expressions have the same meaning for everyone
Every human being naturally expresses happiness with a smile, and every human being naturally
understand that a smile signifies happiness
Why are some facial expressions universal?
People are quite accurate at judging the emotional expressionsof members of other cultures
People who have never seen a human face make the same facial expressions as those who have
o Congenitally blind people and infants
Good deal of evidence suggests that facial displays of at least six emotions – anger, disgust, fear, happiness,
sadness, and surprise – are universal.
The Cause and Effect of Expression
Signs are caused by the things they signify
Feeling of happiness causes the contraction of muscles to smile
Two emotions often produce rather same facial expressions – we tell them apart by context
Why do emotional expressions cause emotional experience?
Facial feedback hypothesis – emotional expressions can cause the emotional experiences they signify
Studies suggest that people unconsciously mimic other people’s body posture and facial expressions.
Mimicry helps us figure out what the others are feeling. Because of the expression0causes-emotion
effect, we mimic someone’s facial expression, we will also feel their emotions
Your expressions are moderated by your knowledge
Display rules – norms for control of emotional expression; techniques involve:
Intensification: exaggerating the expression of one’s emotion
Deintensification: muting the expression of one’s emotion
Masking: expressing one emotion while feeling another
Neutralizing: feeling an emotion but displaying no expression CHAPTER 8 – EMOTION & MOTIVATION
How does emotional expression differ across cultures?
Many societies have a cultural norm against displaying negative emotions in the presence of a
respected persons, and people in the societies may mask or neutralize their expressions
o The fact that different cultures have different display rules may also help explain the fact that
people are better recognizing the facial expressions of people from their own cultures
Four features that are more readily observable seem to distinguish between sincere and insincere facial
Morphology: certain facial muscles tend to resist conscious control, and for a trained observer, these
so-called reliable muscles are quite revealing
Symmetry: sincere expressions are more symmetrical than insincere expressions
Duration: sincere expressions tend to last between half a 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
Human lie detection ability is not good:
People have a strong bias towards believing that others are sincere
People don’t seem to know which pieces of information to attend to and which to ignore
What is the problem with lie detecting machines?
Polygraphs are lie detection machines that measure a variety of physiological responses that are
associated with stress which people often feel when they are afraid of being cause in a lie
However its error rate is still quite high
MOTIVATION: GETTING MOVED
Motivation – the purpose for or psychological cause of an action
Humans act because their emotions move them; and emotionsdo this in two ways:
o Emotions provide people with information about the world
o Emotions are objectives towards which people strive
The Function of Emotion
Capgras syndrome: people who suffer from this syndrome typically believe that one or more of their family
members are imposters. The person sustains damage to the neural connection between the temporal lobe (where
faces are identified) and the limbic system (where emotions are generated). As a result, when a Caprgras syndrome
sufferer sees their father (for example) they will recognize him, but this information is not transmitted to the limbic
system, and the person’s does not feel warm emotions that her father’s face once produced. The father “looks right”
but doesn’t “feel right”, and so the person concludes that the person before her an imposter.
Why do we need emotions to help us make decisions?
Studies show that patients with brain damage that leave them unable to experience emotions are a lot
reckless and more prone to gamble because they don’t feel a bit of anxiety that tells most of us that
we’re about to do something stupid.
The first function of emotion is to provide us with information, the second function is to give us
something to do with that information
Hedonic Principle – people are motivated to experience pleasure and avoid pain