Chapter 1: Approaches to Understanding Emotions
• For over two thousand years, thinkers argued our emotions are base and destructive and more noble
reaches of human nature are achieved when our passions are controlled by our reason.
• West’s most prominent early theorist of emotions – Epicureans and Stoics.
• Epicureans and Stoics thought emotions are irrational and damaging.
• A view that emerged in recent study of human emotions – emotions serve important functions
especially in social lives.
Charles Darwin: The Evolutionary Approach
• 1872, Charles Darwin, published most important book on emotions yet – The Expression of the
Emotions in Man and Animals.
• *Darwin did NOT propose that emotions had function in our survival.
• *1838, accepted theory was that God gave humans special facial muscles that allowed them to express
uniquely human sentiments unknown to animals.
• *Central tenet of Darwin’s theory – humans descended from other species.
o We ourselves are animals.
• In his book on emotions, Darwin asked two broad questions:
o How are emotions expressed in humans and other animals?
o Where do our emotions come from?
• *Darwin concluded emotional expressions derive largely from habits that in our evolutionary or
individual past had once been used.
• *For Darwin, emotional expressions showed continuity of adult human behavioral mechanism w/
those of lower animals and w/ those of infancy.
• **Darwin thought emotional expressions were like vestigial parts of our bodies.
• In Darwin’s eyes, our emotions link us to our past of our species and to our infancy.
• *Darwin argued for universality of expressions.
• Darwin thought emotions have useful functions too.
William James: The Bodily Approach
• William James argued against commonsense idea that when we feel an emotion it impels us to certain
kind of activity.
• James’s theory is really about nature of emotional experience.
• *He stressed way in which emotions move us bodily.
• According to James, core of an emotion is pattern of bodily responses.
• James stressed our experience of many emotions is set of changes of autonomic nervous system.
• James thought that changes from movement of muscles and joints were parts of felt bodily changes.
• James proposed that emotions give color and warmth to experience.
Sigmund Freud: The Psychoanalytic Approach
• Sigmund Freud proposed that certain events, usually of the sexual kind, can be so damaging that they
leave psychological scars that can affect rest of our lives.
•**Freud was one of first to argue that emotions are at core of many pathologies.
Philosophical and Literary Approaches
**Aristotle: The Conceptual Approach
• *Most fundamental insight – emotions connected w/ actions. • *Aristotle contended that emotions depend on what we believe and are evaluations.
Therefore, we are responsible for our emotion because we are responsible for our belief and
evaluations of world.
• His book – Rhetoric
• **Offered three principles:
o Hearer more likely believe good person than bad.
o People persuaded when what is said stirs their emotions.
o People persuaded by arguments that seem truthful.
• Aristotle discussed different judgments give rise to diff. emotions.
• Aristotle observes when speaking to persuade, must know something about people to whom you
speak and their values, and about effects that speaking may have on them.
• Message echoed by Shakespeare’s quotation from Hamlet, emotional experiences shaped by our
judgments and evaluations.
• Aristotle said Drama is about universal human action, and what can happen when well-intentioned
human actions miscarry.
• Aristotle noticed two effects of tragic drama:
o People are moved emotionally.
o Experience katharsis of emotions.
Katharsis means clearing away of obstacles to understanding our emotions.
**Rene Descartes: The Philosophical Approach
•Descartes generally regarded as founder of modern philosophy and scientific view of brain.
• Descartes focuses on emotions in The Passion of the Soul, book many think of as basis of modern
• Descartes claimed that six fundamental emotions – wonder, desire, joy, love, hatred and sadness –
occur in thinking aspect of ourselves, soul.
• Descartes stated that perceptions tell us about what important in outside world, bodily passions tell us
about what important in inside world, emotions tell us what important in our souls – our real selves, our
goals, our concerns, and our identities.
• Descartes described how emotions cannot be entirely controlled by thinking, but can be regulated by
• *Descartes suggested that emotions depend on how we evaluate events.
• Descartes one of first to argue that emotions serve important functions.
• *Descartes’s idea is that our emotions usually functional but can sometimes be dysfunctional.
• Descartes wrote in era historians called Early Modern Period.
• Descartes was contemporary of William Harvey.
• Disease was caused by imbalance among four humors, and each gave rise to distinct emotional state.
• New physiology to which he contributed, emotions arise in mind, enable our plans and affect our
George Eliot: the Literary Approach
• Many of greatest insights into emotions come from novelists and poets.
• Writing of George Eliot offers some of most impressive ideas regarding emotional experience and its
place in intimate relationships.
• 1871-1872, Eliot published Middlemarch, novel about emotions.
• Eliot – Our emotions can act as sort of compass. Emotions are also principal means by which people
affect each other. • Eliot – Emotions are what relationships are made of. Emotion has powerful effects. Understand our
emotions differently from those of other people.
Historical Figure: George Eliot
• One of the greatest novelist.
• Born Mary Ann Evans.
• One of the few women of her time to support herself independently financially.
• Her and George Henry Lewis had one of the greatest emotional and intellectual relationships of history
Brain Science, Psychology, Sociology
• Behaviorism and cognitive psychology tended ignore emotions.
• Past 50 years, study of emotions came into its own in brain sciences, in psychology, and in social
Walter Cannon and Walter Hess: Brain Science
• Before age of electronics, and findings that brain itself works by sending electrical signals from neuron
to neuron, main findings about brain function came from brain lesions, either deliberately in animals or
accidently in people.
• Walter Cannon argued against Harvard colleague, William James.
• James theory – viscera where bodily feelings supposed to arise.
• Cannon argued if James right, when viscera severed from brain of laboratory animals, one expect
reduction in their emotions.
o With this operation, no reduction occurred.
• Cannon found transection of neural pathways at quiet different level that had huge effects on
• *Higher regions of brain, cortex, act to inhibit lower regions where emotions reside.
• Phineas Gage, foremen of railway construction, had rod entering skull and exiting from hole in top of
o Previously amiable, now was impatient, irreverent, and easily moved to anger.
• Antonio Damasio’s book – Descartes’ Error
o The cortex, in particular frontal region, exercises important modulating function on human
• Damasio et al. show in brain imaging studies that experience of human emotions derives not from
cortex, but from subcortical regions.
• When electronics became available, could stimulate brain electrically.
• Well-coordinated patterns of response, propensities characteristic of emotions, can be induced
experimentally by electrically stimulating subcortical areas of brain.
o Pioneer was Swiss physiologist – Walter Hess.
• Hess developed new kind of electrical stimulation and implanted electrodes into hypothalamic regions
of brains of cats. Electrical stimulation could be applied to brains via electrodes, as animals moved
• Electrodes planted into one region of hypothalamus, stimulation produced following response: heart
speeded up, cat became alert and aroused, and if stimulation continued it would become angry and
attacking objects in environment.
o Hess called reaction “affective defense reaction” and suggested one region of hypothalamus
specialized to organize responses of fighting or fleeing.
• Another region of hypothalamus, stimulation slowed heart induced calmness and drowsiness. • Areas of brain such as hypothalamus and limbic system prominent in animals that emerged earlier in
course of vertebrate evolution.
o Regions associated w/ emotions.
• Areas in cerebral cortex may function to modulate output of hypothalamus and limbic system.
• If higher centers damaged, control of lower centers no longer occur. Emotional behavior may be
uncoordinated and unsocialized.
• Lower parts of nervous system, such as spinal cord and medulla, concerned w/simple reflexes –
reflexes characteristic of evolutionarily oldest set of reflexes.
• Behavior of infant thought be largely set of reflexes.
• *Layer in middle of brain added next in evolution and come next to mature in brain of developing
o Include hypothalamus and limbic system.
o Concerned w/ emotions, such as anger.
• *Last to evolve – cortex.
o Modulates reflex and emotional centers below it.
• 1949, Hess awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology.
Magda Arnold and Sylvan Tomkins: New Psychological Theories
• 1954, Magda Arnold and Sylvan Tomkins published something that was influential.
• Arnold proposed emotions based on appraising events and Tomkins offered theory about emotions
and facial expressions.
• Researchers assume that emotions follow appraisals of event.
• If know what appraisals made, can predict the emotion.
• If know emotion, can infer appraisals.
• *Arnold and Gasson proposed emotion relates self to object.
• Emotions are essentially relational.
• *Appraisals involve attraction to or repulsion from some object and dictate whether emotion is
positive or negative.
• *‘Impulsive’ emotions arise if no difficulty attaining or avoiding an object.
• *‘Emotion of contention’ arise when difficulties in acting.
• Specific emotions arise according to appraisals.
• Sylvan Tomkins saw emotions central to human life.
• Tomkins central claim is affect is primary motivational system. Emotions are amplifiers of drives.
• Tomkins argued that drives such as hunger, thirst, and sex, are not primary determinants of behavior.
• Tomkins – human action and thought reflect interplay of motivational systems, each capable of
fulfilling certain function (eating, breathing, sex), each potentially capable of taking over whole person.
o Emotion prioritizes these systems.
• Tomkins offered arguments that inspire study of facial expressions.
• Tomkins – changes of facial expressions are primary amplifiers of emotions in humans.
• Arnold w/ idea of appraisal, focused largely on inputs on perceptual side.
• Tomkins w/ idea of bodily feedback and priorities among drives focused on outputs on motor side.
• Arnold and Tomkins had common was an emotion as central to normal functioning.
Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer, and Alice Isen: The New Experimenters
• For psychology, period from 1950s and 1970s was time of renewal and expansion.
• Emotions were study experimentally.
• Most famous experiment on emotions in this era performed by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer.
o Injected participants w/ adrenaline. o Found participants injected acted happily when put with accomplice of experimenter was
laughing and lurking about.
o Found participants injected acted angrily when put in insulting situation of have answer rudely
intrusive questionnaire, and were accompanied by experimenter’s accomplice who expressed
anger at questionnaire.
o Effects occurred ONLY when participants were uninformed to physiological effect of injection
compared to subjects given injection and informed would make them feel aroused and jumpy,
did not become as happy or angry as uninformed subject.
• *Schachter and Singer’s theory was emotion has two parts:
o Bodily physiological arousal of kind proposed by William James.
o Appraisal of kind described by Magda Arnold.
• Schachter and Singer’s experiment reports that emotion produced by arousal plus appraisal been not
• Now many demonstrations that emotions elicited one way can be mistakenly attributed to some other
aspect of situation.
• Dutton and Aron:
o Recruited young male passers-by who crossed Capilano suspension bridge.
o Comparison group: group of young men who crossed fixed cedar bridge.
o Other side of each bridge, man met young woman or young man, who asked them to take part
in study she or he was conducting for psychology class on scenic attractions.
o Subjects asked fill out short questionnaire and part of Thematic Apperception Test, consists of
pictures w/ ambiguous meanings.
o Picture used was of young woman covering face w/ one hand and reaching out w/ other.
o After completing questions, interviewer wrote phone number on piece of paper, gave to
subject, and asked to phone if wanted talk further.
o Sexual imagery in response to ambiguous picture significantly higher for subjects met by
female than by male interviewer, and increased in group who crossed high suspension bridge
compared w/ group crossed low sturdy bridge.
o Many more phone calls to female interviewer made by men who crossed suspension bridge
than by who crossed low bridge.
• Dutton and Aron included laboratory study in their paper:
o Subject saw “attractive female” (accomplice of experimenter) in laboratory, though they did
not talk to her.
o She was supposedly participant w/ them in experiment on effects of electric shock.
o Each participant and accomplice tossed coin to find whether they would receive painful or
non-painful shock, and each went to separate cubicle to complete questionnaire and do same
Thematic Apperception Test item used after crossing bridges.
o *Participants who were more anxious in expectation to painful shock were more attracted to
female accomplice, and had more sexual imagery to picture in Thematic Apperception Text,
than those expected non-painful shock.
• Foster et al. performed meta-analysis of 33 experiments on effect of transferring arousal.
o Meta-analysis is integrative review of many studies on particular question.
Idea to find average effect size, or magnitude of casual relationship, across set of
o Foster el al. found arousal did increase sexual attraction.
• Dutton and Aron’s experiment, emotion not created as Schachter and Singer had supposed.
• Specific emotion of feat evoked by crossing high swaying bridge.
o Some of its effects transferred to amorousness. • Alice Isen found emotions such as happiness have transferable effects.
• In one experiment, Isen:
o Gave test of perceptual-motor skills.
o Randomly selected individuals told they had succeeded in text and made mildly happy.
o Mildly happy individuals more likely help stranger (associate of experimenter) who dropped
her books compared w/ subjects who were told they didn’t succeed on test.
• Isen shown happiness has widespread effects on cognitive organization. Can make people more
creative in problem solving, and induce them to give more unusual associations to words.
• Isen work provided some of first evidence on how emotions affect our perception of social world.
• Finding that emotion or mood experienced in one situation can affect behavior, social judgments, and
intensity of emotions in other situation is now one of the most firmly established effects in experimental
• Effect is strongest when person concerned does not know source of original mood.
Erving Goffman and Arlie Russell Hochschild: The Dramaturgical Perspective
• Erving Goffman proposed we literally give dramatic presentations of ourselves to each other, and
create social reality in which we live as kind of play.
• Goffman, sociologist, introduced into social sciences method of careful observation through
theoretical lens, idea that life is kind of drama, in which we take on roles.
• Goffman’s most instructive work is essay “Fun in games”, published in his book Encounters.
o Most important analyses since Aristotle of nature of happiness.
o Reworking in social terms of Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life
o Shows how emotions constructed w/in specific roles.
• Goffman – can think of each kind of social interaction as a game.
• Goffman’s insight into emotions: as well as giving more or less good performance we can ask how
strongly engaged we are in a role.
• In much of life there can be inner conflict: can follow the rules, enact the script, take part in
interaction, but not be engaged.
• Arlie Hochschild influenced by Goffman.
• Hochschild explored tension that occurs when person is in conflict about role he or she plays, when
there questions about who one is in oneself, and performance one giving.
• Hochschild developed theory of “feeling rules”.
o Rules can be private and unconscious, or socially engineered in occupations that require us to
influence other people’s emotions and judgments.
• Work that involves constructing emotions in oneself to induce them in others widespread.
o Hochschild call it emotional labor.
• W/in job categories that called for such labor, there were roughly twice as many women as men.
o Purposes served are social.
• Not all jobs requiring emotional labor intended to induce pleasant emotions.
o Example – Debt collector
• Goffman and Hochschild view – culture-related roles, values, and social obligations affect our
What Is An Emotion? Preliminary Distinctions
• Descartes differentiated emotions from bodily states like hunger and pain.
• Sylvan Tomkins differentiated emotions from specific drives, like thirst or hunger.
Theorists’ Conception of Emotion • Have been complaints that emotion too heterogeneous a category to define.
• Scholars agree emotions serve important functions, and they help individuals w/ their goals.
• Emotions are profoundly social.
• Emotions help us form attachments to offspring, to form friendships and romantic bonds, and
negotiate social hierarchies.
• Emotions have several components.
• Express emotions in facial movements, posture, gesture, touch and voice.
• Emotions involve specific action tendencies.
• Emotions color our thoughts and enable our reasoning.
• Emotions – multi-component responses to challenges or opportunities that are important to
individual’s goals, particularly social ones.
The Affective Realm: Emotions – Moods – Dispositions
• Scientists use word ‘affect’ to encompass phenomena that have anything to do w/ emotions, moods,
dispositions, and preferences, though some people refer to this whole realm as that of emotions.
Episodes of Emotion
• Term ‘emotion’ or ‘emotion episode’ generally used for states that last limited amount of time.
• When researchers record states of which people conscious and can report, experiences lasting
between few minutes and few hours.
• Term ‘emotional’ can have wider reach, and mean same as ‘affective’.
• Feel emotions about specific people and events.
• Episodes of emotion typically have an object.
• Focus of emotional experience called ‘intentional object’.
• Term ‘mood’ refers state that typically lasts for hours, days, or weeks, sometimes low-intensity
• Starts or stops may be unclear.
• Moods often objectless, free-floating.
• Emotional disorders such as depression and clinical anxiety states last for weeks or months, some for
• Disorders now routinely assessed by research interviews, which relate them to categories in Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
• Many aspects of temperament or personality have emotional component.
• Trait used to designate any long-lasting aspect of personality
Chapter 2: Evolution of Emotions
• A piece of Darwin’s evidence was the similarity of human emotional expressions to those of lower
o Argued that human emotional expressions have some primitive aspects
o Darwin’s theory of evolution
Elements of an evolutionary approach to emotions
• 3 parts that drives evolution:
•Animals and plants produce more offspring than necessary merely to reproduce
themselves 2) Variation
•Each offspring is somewhat different than others and these differences are passed on
3) Natural selection
•Characteristics that allow the individual to be adapted to the environment are selected
•At the core of natural selection
• The physical and social environment in which humans evolved, determined whether or not individuals
survived and reproduced.
• To survive the individual need to find food and water. Our thermoregulation system, our fight and
flight response etc. developed from selection pressures.
• Darwin did not acknowledge hereditary elements.
o Now we know genes are passed on from one generation to another
• Two kinds of sexual selection pressure determine who reproduces:
o Intrasexual Competition:
• Occurs within a sex access to mates. Usually most pronounced among males.
• Stags lock horns and engage in ritualized, at times violent battles to find out who is
dominant and gains access to mates.
•He status dynamics of young men –the banter, teasing, playful wrestling and tests of
strength- serve a similar function
• To determine who rises in status and who will have more access to young women.
o Intersexual Competition:
•The process by which one sex selects specific kinds of traits in the other sex.
• Women choose men with higher status.
Social status affects the amount of resources one has and more resources
will benefit future offspring.
• Males seek out mates who are fertile and show for youth and beauty –full lips,
youthful skin, an hourglass figure etc- are physical signs of optimal reproductive age.
• Our capacity to cooperate is a powerful determinant of who reproduces and who survives
•**They are genetically based traits that allow the organism to respond well to specific selection
pressures and to survive and reproduce.
o Examples: table 2.1, page 36
o Our distaste for bitter foods helps us avoid these toxins
o Women are particularly sensitive to bitter tastes and smells during their first trimester of
• morning sickness may be a part of a mechanism to avoid intake of certain toxins that
may harm the fetus.
• Humans look for mates that show signs of fertility and reproductive readiness.
o Eg. People tend to look for mates with symmetrical faces (more extreme, disfiguration), it
guides us towards mates who have been raised in healthy environments.
• Human infants require a lot of care until the age of viability
• Not all human traits or behaviors are adaptations.
o Eg. Snoring, leg jiggles, etc, serve no apparent purpose in evolution, it is a byproduct.
• You should NOT conclude that all, or even most, human traits emerged de novo, to meet survival-and
reproduction related problems and opportunities. • Evolution is a tinker, and often endows old anatomical and behavioral features with new functions.
o *A trait that acquires a new function like this is called an exaptation.
Eg. Animals reflex when startled, they reflex their ears. Its original function was to
protect their ears, but it is now seen as being friendly.
In humans, raising eyebrows is seen when meeting someone or flirting.
• It is probably human universal.
• Natural selection is based on genetic variation, and selects for genetically based traits that help certain
individuals meet selection pressures.
o Genes provide potentialities for behavior
Emotions serve functions
• Idea of function: human traits solve survival- and reproduction-related problems, and help individuals
take advantages of opportunities.
• Emotions serve functions – only recently accepted in western thought.
o It was more typical to portray emotions as disruptive and harmful influences resulting in
destructive behavior, to be mastered by rational thought.
o Now tend to describe emotions in terms of functions in ways that increase the chances of
survival and reproduction.
o Emotions are adaptations.
• Emotions enable rapid orientation to events in the environment.
o Emotions interrupt ongoing processes and direct attention to significant threats
• An individual that shifts attention to a threat or an opportunity is at an advantage in survival and
o People believe that emotions are irrational and disruptive due to this very reason. It is
believed to disrupt our thoughts and reorient us.
o Emotions like fear and anger also shut down basic physiological processes, like eating,
digestion or sexual response.
• A second general function of emotion is organization
o Emotions coordinate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, the different muscle group
and facial expression and experience.
This enables more adaptive response to events in the environment.
• *Evolutionary theorists have sought to identify the various functions of different emotions:
o Anger is more than just a specific family of facial expressions or patterns of neural activation, it
is a set of coordinated responses that help restore just relations with others
o Embarrassment is more than just a blush or the pronounced desire to hide; it is a form of
o Compassion is more than the lump in the throat; it enhances the welfare of vulnerable
individuals, especially when they have been harmed.
• Why do we experience our emotional state as powerful, and at times overwhelming?
o Emotion-related feelings are informative about specific social events or conditions that need
to be acted upon.
• This challenges the assumption that emotions have no rational basis
• Hypothesis: they reflect important functional relationships with the environment.
• What about emotion related physiology? What are the shifts in heart rate, blood flow, respiration,
swelling of the chest, muscle tension and digestive processes that were a part of William James theory?
o Emotions are states of readiness to act.
o The autonomic physiology associated with different emotions prepares us for specific kinds of
action, such as fighting or fleeing or soothing. • What about communication?
o Emotions are communicated in facial expression, the voice, the gaze, posture, and touch.
o Emotional communication coordinates social interaction.
o *Emotional expressions communicate information about current emotions, intentions and
o *Emotional communication evokes complementary and reciprocal emotions in others that
help individuals respond to significant social events.
• An evolutionary approach looks for the ways in which, on average, emotions borough reliable, specific
benefits to individuals within the environment.
*Emotions are species-characteristic patterns of action
• William James “Every object that excites an instinct excites an emotion as well”
o Eg. The stimulation pattern of attack in cats when the hypothalamus was stimulated. It was
believed to be instinct. A pattern for which the startup program is genetically given.
•Lorenz demonstrated the genetic basis of instincts showing that, like anatomical features, they are
characteristic of species.
o Eg. The maternal care giving in graylag geese.
•This process (species-characteristic patterns) has several components
o “fixed action pattern”
Now called a “species-characteristic pattern”
• It is goal directed. It involves brain-derived procedures that have been shaped
by evolution. Discussed as scripts.
“innate releaser” or “sign stimulus” is the perceptual pattern that triggers a
• “super-normal stimulus” an unnatural stimulus does better than a natural one
• Without this, the action pattern does not occur
o Species-characteristic patterns are easily triggered, but less modified by the individual.
•Emotions have biological bases that include patterns of autonomic and central nervous activity,
recognizable facial expressions, particular gestures, and specific vocal tones should be universal
Origins of human emotions
•Environment of evolutionary adaptedness, an abstract description of the social and physical
environment in which the human species evolved during the 6 million years since the human line
branches off from the line that led chimpanzees and bonobos.
•3 theories for origin of emotions:
o Our close primate relatives, such as chimpanzees and bonobos, whose emotions are similar to
o Prehistoric evidence of human ancestors
o Contemporary human societies living in ways thought to be like those of humans at the time
when we first became a distinct species.
*Emotions evolved to serve important social functions
• The social lives of our living primate relatives
• Jane Goodall and Frans De Waal Goodall studied chimpanzees and the kinds of emotions and the
situations in which they arise: o Apprehension at a stranger, fear at an aggressive interaction, distress when lost, annoyance at
a bothersome juvenile, anger in a fight, mourning following a death,
o There were also emotional displays, including bared teeth threats, piloerection during
excitement (sexual or aggressive) etc.
o These expressions are basis for distinctive patterns of interaction.
Caregiving is common
• Chimpanzees, baboons and macaques become intensity distressed when witnessing harm to other
• Primates take care of vulnerable individuals
o Eg. Helping out a blind monkey
Social life is hierarchical
• Hierarchies enable group members quickly and relatively peacefully to decide how to allocate
o Eg. “alpha-male” wins his position and hold it for several years.
• Caregiving helps to determine hierarchy as well
o Eg. Food sharing, the higher status males will get more food, even though they did not take
part in hunting.
• Humans live in societies in which there is a huge difference between wealth and status, we learn to
tolerate differences without consternation.
Cooperation is prevalent
• Cooperation over food and peacemaking are frequent and sophisticated among chimpanzees.
• Many mammals (esp. primates) are highly social, and need to reconcile to maintain cooperative bonds.
Sexuality is varied
• Across primates sexuality varies dramatically.
o Chimpanzees are sexually promiscuous. And will mate with many males within the social
community and outside of the community.
o Bonobos are more closely related to humans than chimpanzees. They were called pygmy
chimpanzees. Their life seems to revolve around sex. They copulate freely with many males in
their social group. There are homosexual males and females.
o Olive baboons, they are also promiscuous, however, female’s form long-lasting friendships
with 2-3 males, involving grooming and keeping close. These friendships function to protect
females against aggression from males.
Evidence of human ancestry
• Emotions link individuals together with bonds of social interaction: of care giving, dominance and
submissiveness, cooperative exchange and sexual intimacy.
• Size differences between males and females are associated with a form of social organization in which
males compete with each other for access to females, and are associated also with sharp social
• According to this hypothesis (which is controversial), we are all descended from these African Eves.
They are our direct forbearers, anatomically little different from ourselves. Their descendants have
migrated to every part of the world, except Antarctica.
• For much time our emotional responsiveness was begin shaped by natural selection o Researchers propose that our environments of evolutionary adaptedness were of extended
o There are human universals (such as sharing food, division of labor (women took primary care
of infants), gossiping, planning, storytelling, etc. all of these are social behaviors that we have
adapted over time.
Females have evolved to become sexually active throughout their menstrual cycles
so that males and females can maintain a sexual attraction for each other.
*•Male provisioning hypothesis –men can hunt and bring home food, while
sexual bonding enables them to make a specific contribution to one female and
• The central structure of human life is the family and this is too a human universal
o Family group includes both sexes and individuals of all ages
It is a human universal to marry people outside of the family.
• Humans are adapted to compete with other groups similar but noticeably different from ourselves,
whose ecological niches have overlapped with ours.
Hunter-gathering ways of life
• In Australia and southern Africa the hunter-gather way of life has existed for thousands of years. –they
used clicks ! in their language
o The women are botanists, the men are hunters. The societies of these people are cooperative.
• The ways of life of the modern Homo sapiens is based on our environment of evolutionary
o Most of our emotions are probably adapted to living in this kind of way; cooperating, though
with division of labor, in hunting and gathering, in preparing and sharing food, in rearing and
Summary of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness
• Emotions structure interactions in ways that enable individuals to respond to threats and
• **The environment of evolutionary adaptedness was defined not by being hot or cold, forest or
seashore, but by its social characteristics:
o sexual attachments
o care giving for vulnerable offspring
o cooperation amongst group members
o ever-changing hierarchies that affect the allocation of resources.
Like people today are either well off or poor
Emotions as bases of social relationships.
• Many emotions that have become important for humankind evolved as the bases of social
• An evolutionary approach strongly suggests that human emotions are the language of human social
life. They provide the outline patterns that relate people to each other.
• Emotions help people form and maintain attachments that are critical to reproduction and the raising
of offspring to the age of reproduction.
o Romantic love helps motivate long-term commitments to romantic partners and countervails
self-interested courses of action, such as sexual infidelity, that damage monogamous bonds.
o Separation from attachment figures produces distress and anxiety and the return of the
attachment figure produces relief.
o Sadness follows the loss of important bonds and helps individuals establish new bonds. • Cooperation and the management of competition of defection is especially central to relations among
non-kin, who are not bound together by shared genetic interests
• Table 2.3, page 52
• *When the rules of cooperative bonds, such as reciprocity or quality, have been violated, we
experience emotions that motivate the restoration of cooperation.
o Guilt occurs after violations of reciprocity
o Anger motivates the punishment of those who have cheated or violated the rules of
o Envy motivates individuals to derogate others whose favorable status is unjustified, thus
preserving equal relations.
• Cruelty and lethal hostility: the emotions of war, between groups and between nations.
o John Keegan: War is a very emotional matter, based on the human urge to kill.
• Emotions guide human behavior in the physical world
o Tasks like avoiding predation, violence, and disease and finding resources in the environment.
o Emotions excitement and fear may be specific to responding to predators.
o Disgust and distaste, helps humans choose a balanced and safe diet, avoiding dangerous
toxins and disease
o Enthusiasm and interest help us concentrate on tasks, pursue resources and explore the
The evolution of language
• Robin Dunbar- observed that chimpanzees and other primates use grooming to maintain social bonds
o It makes up a fair amount of all social interaction, (about 20% of their waking time doing it)
**• Dunbar’s hypothesis: laughter and conversation have replaced grooming as the glue that holds
o Conversation is the verbal equivalent of grooming.
We can do this with multiple people, or while doing other things at the same time.
o the huge increase in size of the human neocortex (compared to the chimpanzee), is thought to
have occurred because of our highly social lives we build and maintain mental models of 150-
Chapter 3: Cultural Understandings of Emotions
The Construction of Emotions in the West
• In the West, think emotions are very guarantee of authenticity.
• Stance toward emotion, distrust on one hand and appreciation on the other, constructions of Western
• In Romantic era emotions came to be valued in personal life, in politics, in literature, and in
• Jean-Jacques Rousseau generally credited w/ articulation of Romantic spirit.
• First published the idea that religious sensibility is based on how you feel rather than on authority, or
on scripture, or on arguments for existence of God.
• 1800 Romanticism had become firmly part of Western culture.
• Romantics were fascinated by the natural.
• Writing itself became way of discovering inner emotional truths.
• Mary Shelley’s story became Frankenstein (1818), Romantic novel, and one of world’s first science
• In Frankenstein are many of themes of Romanticism: settings amid wild scenery, emphasis on natural,
distrust of artificial, apprehension of humans arrogantly overstepping their boundaries. • Emotions are powerful forces, often at odd w/ more deliberate, rational thought embodied in science
and codified in cultural conventions.
The Elements of a Cultural Approach to Emotion
• Values, concepts, and idea about self, as expressed in art forms, rituals, social practices and
institutions, shape how members of particular societies experience emotion, and these matters are not
• *Cultural approach involves assumption emotions are constructed primarily by processes of culture.
• How emotions are valued affected by historical and economic forces.
• Emotions derive from human meanings which are necessarily cultural.
• *Second assumption of some cultural approaches is that emotions thought of as roles that people
fulfill to play out culture-specific identities and relationships.
• Averill argues that falling in love, like many emotions, act as temporary social role.
• Emotion ‘falling in love’ accomplishes transition, from one structure of social relationships to another.
• Batja Mesquita contends cultural approaches focus on ‘practice’ of emotion, in contrast to ‘potential’
The Self-Construal Approach: Independent and Interdependent Selves
• Chinese philosopher Confucius emphasized importance of knowing one’s place in society, of honoring
traditions and roles, and of thinking of others before self.
• Hazel Markus, Shinobu Kitayama, Harry Traindis and others characterized two different kinds of self-
• Independent self-construal, self is autonomous and separate from others.
o Referred to as individualism.
• Explaining human behavior, focus on internal causes, such as one’s own dispositions or preferences,
which thought of as stable across time and social context.
• People w/ collectivist or interdependent self-construal, self fundamentally connected w/ other people.
• In Japan, although is thought appropriate between people from different social groups, Markus and
Kitayama report that anger considered highly inappropriate between relations or colleagues.
• Anger between Americans who know and like each other relatively common and accepted.
• People reported reason for anger was to assert authority or independence, or improve their image.
• Miyake et al.:
o Measure time took infants to start moving toward toy after hearing mother’s expression.
o After mothers spoken in angry voice: American infants started moving toward toy an average
of 18 seconds later, but Japanese infants took significantly longer, average of 48 seconds, to
o Japanese babies probably more inhibited by mother’s angry expressions because were rare
and highly negative events.
• Amae is an emotion of interdependence, arising from kind of merged togetherness, from comfort in
other person’s complete acceptance.
o No approved place in adult Western life.
The Values Approach
• Second approach seeks understand cultural differences in emotion in terms of difference in values,
which refer to broad principles that govern our social behavior.
• Members of cultures that differ in importance of specific values should experience different elicitors
of emotions related to that value. • Cultures where particular value prioritized, say respect for hierarchy, one should expect emotions
related to that value.
• *Elicitors of jealousy seem obvious in one culture does not seem to evoke jealousy in another and
these differences stem from cultural differences in sexual values.
• Ex: In West, jealousy tends be felt when sexual attention of primary partner turns toward
• Western society, monogamy cherished value.
• Todas of India not jealous when marriage partners had lovers from w/in social group.
o Became jealous if wives had intercourse w/ non-Toda man.
• Heelas proposed that in some cultures particular emotion is recognized, has special names, and is
subject of social discussion.
o Such emotions are hypercognized.
• Certain emotions seem little noticed in some cultures; not conceptualized or commented upon.
o Such emotions are hypocognized.
• *In China, shame is hypercognized.
• *In West, shame is on its way of being hypocognized.
The Epistemological Approach
• Epistemologies – ways of knowing.
o Refer to knowledge structures and theories that guide patterns of thought, affect, and
behavior in domain-specific ways.
• **East Asia epistemology based on five principles:
o Change so that nothing is static
o Contradiction that opposites often consistent and both true
o Co-variation so events are interrelated in complex fields or systems
o Comprise so truth may lie in synthesis of opposites
o Context so events occur not alone but in contexts
• Peng and Nisbett tested hypothesis Asians should find greater meaning, and pleasure in contradictory
ideas than Americans.
o Found that Chinese proverbs involved more contradiction than American proverbs, which
involved more one-sided, singular truths.
o Chinese students found contradictory, dialectical proverbs to be more comprehensible,
likeable, and usable.
o US students preferred more linear proverbs.
• Compared w/ Americans expected that East Asians might experience greater emotional complexity:
simultaneous experience of contradictory emotions, such as happiness and sadness, compassion and
contempt, or anger and love.
• Westerners might focus more on singular meanings of situation and experience simpler emotions.
• *In experience sampling studies, in which students beeped electronically and reported current
emotions, as well as in laboratory studies, Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean participants more likely
than Western European students report feeling positive and negative emotion in particular moment.
• *Western Europeans often showed negative correlations in reports of positive and negative emotion.
• *Westerners strive maximize positive emotion and minimize negative emotion, whereas Asians seek
balanced emotional state.
Approaches to Studying Cultural Influences on Emotion
• Cultures been found to differ in emotional response according to whether elicitors of emotion are
socially ‘engaging’ and involve other people, or ‘disengaging’ so they involve the self. • *Members of interdependent cultures tend to experience positive emotions in socially engaging
• *American and Dutch people more likely experience positive emotions in relatively disengaged
• Display rules thought to influence how and whom it is appropriate to express different emotions.
• *Many Asian cultures it is inappropriate to speak of personal accomplishments, and in these cultures
individuals deintensify expressions of pleasure at personal success.
• Ethnographies – in-depth descriptions of social lives of member of particular culture.
o Written by anthropologists who made intensive study of history, language, practices, customs,
and rituals of people, and who lived amongst th