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Chapter 11

PSYA02H3 MODULE 11.4 CHAPTER 11.docx

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Steve Joordens

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PSYA02H3  WEEK 3/LEC07/14.02.03 CHAPTER 11: MOTIVATION AND EMOTION Module 11.4 Emotion ­ Emotion is challenging to define scientifically Emotion as a psychological experience involving three components:  1. Subjective thoughts and experiences with 2. Accompanying patterns of physical arousal and 3. Characteristic behavioral expressions o I.e. anger may involve thoughts and feelings of frustration, aggravation,  and possibly ill will o Anger is accompanied by increased heart rate and expressed with clenched  teeth and fists BIOLOGY OF EMOTION ­ Physiology of emotion involves both the brain and the rest of the body ­ Many of our emotional reactions involve the autonomic nervous system, which  conveys information between the spinal cord and the blood vessels, glands, and  smooth muscles of the body The Autonomic Response: Fight or Flight ­ The physiological aspect of emotional experiences during a frightening event  would involve a division of the ANS called the sympathetic nervous system,  which generally increases your energy and alertness to enable you to handle  frightening or dangerous situations – activates the fight­or­flight response  1 ­ The parasympathetic nervous system typically uses energy more sparingly,  bringing heart rate and respiration back to resting states The Emotional Brain: Perception and Action ­ Along with ANS, our emotional experiences involves other brain areas i.e. the  limbic system is critical to emotional processing, including hippocampus,  hypothalamus, amygdala, and various cortical regions ­ The amygdala is of particular interest to scientists for two reasons:  1. It’s involved in assessing and interpreting situations to determine which  types of emotions are appropriate 2. It seems to connect the perception or interpretation of these situations to  brain regions that stimulate the physiological responses required for action  I.e. amygdala activated when presented with frightening stimulus   Once threat is determined, amygdala stimulates body into action by  sending messages to sympathetic branch of ANS, causing  increased pulse, respiration, and sweat, as well as sending  messages to motor centers controlling startle or freezing reactions ­ Emotional responses can follow two separate pathways 1. Sensory information first enters thalamus, then may go directly to 
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