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Chapter 10

PSYC18 - Chapter 10.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Gerald Cupchik

Chapter 10: Emotions and Cognition - Eadweard Mybridge: photographer with damage to his orbitofrontal cortex + killed out of jealousy o Effects on emotions and social lives; lack of information for an array of social emotions  lack of judgement/not rational; do not abide by morals, norms, and conventions - In order to function in society, our emotions need to be working in relation to each other to guide our reasoning and actions wisely; emotions influence our reasoning Historical Perspectives on the Interplay Between Passion and Reason - Epicureans and Stoics (3rd century BCE): good life = emotions extirpated (erased) altogether o Emotions = lower, less sophisticated, more primitive ways of perceiving the world o Rational thought > primitive emotions - David Hume (18th century): "reason is and ought to be a slave of passion" - Emotions can be rational: 1. Emotions are based on substantive beliefs (beliefs and appraisals supporting our emotions correspond to actual events in the world)  emotions are often the product of rather complex beliefs about real events in the world 2. Emotions help individuals function effectively in the social world 3. Emotion guides cognitive processes: perception, attention, access to certain memories, and bias judgement  helps the individual respond to the environment in ways that we recognize as valuable aspects of our humanity Emotions as Prioritizers of Thoughts, Goals, and Actions - notion that emotions guide cognitive processes of rational, adaptive fashion emerged within a movement known as Cognitive Science (matured in the 1960's) o Simon (1967): emotions would be necessary in any intelligent being  they set priorities among the many different goals that impinge upon individuals at any moment in time o Emotions signal conflict and redirect the individual’s actions (Aristotle & Freud) o Emotions guide action in a world that is always imperfectly known, and can never be fully controlled  They offer bridges toward rationality to make up for our incompetency of knowing a fully rational solution  Better than simply acting randomly or becoming lost in thought trying to calculate the best possible action - Oatley & Johnson-Laird: emotions involve two different kinds of signalling in the nervous system 1. A signal that occurs automatically/unconsciously (primary appraisal)  “Organizational” because it (rather simply) sets the brain into a particular mode of organization, or readiness, that is specific to the particular basic emotion  Emotional priming to a phenomena 2. A signal that derives from the secondary appraisal  “Informational” because the information it carries enables us to make mental models of events and their possible causes and implications o Normally, Organizational and Informational signals occur together to produce an emotional feeling with a consciously known cause and object  Helps responses to emergent opportunities and challenges in the environment  Can be dissociated (e.g. split brain patients, antidepressants) Three Perspectives on the Effects of Emotions on Cognitive Functioning Emotional Congruence - Gordan Bower (influential memory researcher): moods and emotions are associative networks in the mind o In memory, there are pathways devoted to emotions  associative links to past experiences, images, related concepts, labels (semantic network) - We should be better able to learn material that is congruent with out current emotion (emotion congruence) because they are more extensively integrated into ACTIVE memory structures o More easily retrieved at the time of recall o E.g. Participants who read a story in a happy mood will remember more positive facts - **sometimes memories that are incongruent with mood may be recalled better than that are congruent! - Joseph Forgas  modification of Bower’s proposal o Affect Infusion Model: emotions infuse into a cognitive task, and influence memory and judgement depending on the extent to which the task depends on complex and constructive processing, or on matters that depart from prototypes  Depend strongly on the task being performed, AKA the context Feelings as Information - Feeling as Information: assumes that emotions themselves are informative when we make judgements - two assumptions: 1. emotions provide us with rapid signal triggered by something in our environment 2. many of the judgements that we make are often too complex to review all the relevant evidence  e.g. comprehensive answer to the question of how satisfied you are with your political leader might lead you to think about current environmental policies, state of health care, etc.  therefore, rely on simpler assessment based on our current feelings  emotions are heuristics: a short cut (plan or bias) to make judgement or take action • current feelings (heuristics) used as a judgement of life satisfaction  **not valid when they attribute those feelings to a specific source (like the weather) o Depends strongly on the task being performed, AKA the context (similar to emotion congruence) Processing Style - Different emotions promote different processing styles  E.g. when you feel guilty, angry, grateful, enthusiastic etc., you will engage in a qualitatively different form of reasoning, of considering and weighing evidence, and drawing conclusions o Positive mood = facilitates use of already existing knowledge structures, such as heuristics and stereotypes o Negative moods (particularly sadness) = facilitates more analytical thought and careful attention to situational details o Stereotypes are automatic, effort-saving tools for judging others  used more when experiencing moods and emotions that make one less systematic, such as happiness or anger o Alice Isen: happiness prompts people to think in ways that are flexible or creative  Prompt people to aim for higher goals, continue what they are doing, resist change to some other state o Barbara Frederickson  The overarching function of positive emotions is to broad and build our resources • Positive emotions appears to be well-spring of complex, integrative, creative thoughts that are essential to learning, insight, and healthy bonds o Creativity builds schemas and intellectual resources by enhancing our perspective taking, novel ideas, and learning o Positive emotions build interpersonal resources; motivates us to approach, co-operate, express affection, and build bonds with others Effects of Mood And Emotions On Cognitive Functioning Perceptual Effects - Current moods and feelings lead us to selectively perceive emotion-congruent objects and events o E.g. people in a happy mood are quicker in identifying happy words in a lexical decision task…like “delight”  Effect of happy moods did not extend to the positive words that were unrelated to the specific emotion of happiness…like “calm” - Explains why moods and emotions can persist (emotion congruence prolongs the experience) Attentional Qualities of Emotion - Emotions affect attention o Ranges from largely unconscious processes of filtering incoming information to conscious preoccupation of the kind that we have when we worry o Most fully researched effects of emotions on attention concern anxiety  Anxiety narrows attention  fear and anxiety forces a person to disregard almost everything else and to focus mainly on what he/she is afraid of + on how to be safely away from it • E.g. anxious subjects are much more likely to look at threat words rather than neutral time (faster response time while doing a test with 2 words that flash) • E.g. Emotional Stroop test: words are shown that are neutral or that have emotional significance, to see if people are slowed down in naming colours in which words with emotional significance are printed (pg. 270)  The slowing of colour naming is greatest with words that correspond to the subject’s greatest anxiety • E.g. people who have social phobia are slowed by words about confidence (emotionally significant)  When people are fearful, their nervous system is switched into a particular mode of processing  attention is narrowed + directed to cues of threat and safety o Other emotions direct attention to specific modes of processing Emotions and Memory - We seem to remember emotion events particularly well - Somewhat paradoxically, our current emotions and moods influence what we recall - Barlett: what we perceive from memory is assimilated into our own structure of meaning (schema) o Schema includes a great deal of general knowledge o Remembering is an “imaginative reconstruction” A Bias for Recalling Emotionally Evocative Events - we are better able to recall past events if those events are emotionally arousing (as oppose to relatively neutral material) - emotional evocative faces > neutral faces … evocative slides > neutral slides - Wagenaar: in general events characterized by emotional involvement were remembered better than uninvolving ones o Pleasant events were recalled better than unpleasant events (predicted by Freud as well  we protect ourselves somewhat from unpleasant thoughts) Emotional Involvement and Eyewitness Testimony - Eyewitness testimony usually has mistakes; neither certainty nor vividness guarantee that the “remembered” details are correct o Testimonies must be corroborated by evidence of some other kind o Events are also subject to the processes of reconstruction - E.g. Christianson & Loftus: 397 students watched a set of 15 colour slides of what a person might see leaving home and walking to work o Each slide had a central dethil and a peripheral details o 3 versions of the critical 8 slide  Neutral: woman cycling along the road just in front of a car  Unusual: woman walking on the road in front of a car carrying upside- down bike  Emotional: woman is injured on the road near an upturned bicycle and in front of car o peripheral detail = car was a Volvo 242 in either white or orange o Central details = woman & coat either white or blue o Emotional version = remember central details better than neutral version, peripheral was worse o Unusual version = subjects did not remember either its central or the peripheral details very well - Emotionally salient material is remembered better than neutral material - If an event is important and unusual, the condition is set both for emotion and for distinctive recall - If the event is subject to being thought about often, it will remain more salient in memory Effects of Mood and Emotions Upon Remembering - acts of memory are constructive processes, and likely to be influences by the individual’s current state or condition - Baron’s lab demonstration in which the effects of selective attention and memory on social judgement were examined: o Pairs of people of the same sex together for a study in forming impressions (1 = student participant, 1 = accomplice to the experimenter)  Interviewer = student accomplice  Interviewee = student participant  Experimenter made interviewer happy, neutral, or sad before interviewing interviewee • Happy = they tended to rate the interviewee more positively and more likely to say they would hire him or her (effects more marked for male interviewers) • When recalling things about the interviewees’ replies, happy interviewers recall more positive things they had said • Mood congruent memory o BUT note that effects are highly dependent on context  stronger effects occur when remember real incidents of emotional significance in a person’s life, than (for instance) when remembering lists of words - People are fairly accurate in recalling the extent to which they felt angry, sad or hopeful in a specific past event o Though there is a background of accuracy, current emotions do also shape how we recall the past  E.g. individuals were asked how much grief they were suffering 6 months after the death of their spouse, then asked again 5 years later  Trying to recall how much grief they reported suffering at 6 months post-lost  participants memories of their past grief were more highly correlated with their current grief (5 years later) Effects of Mood and Emotions on Judgement - Effects on evaluative judgements: o Gerald Clore: When in a positive or negative emotional state, those feelings are likely to colour your evaluative judgements of events and object as good or bad (even when the object being judged has not relation to the cause of the emotion)  E.g. evaluations on consumer items, political leaders, general life circumstances etc. - Effects on judgements of the future: o Negative moods lead people to view the future pessimistically, whereas positive moods lead people to look at the future in more optimistic fashion  Current moods shape our vision of our future o Different emotions are associated with more specific strains of pessimism or optimism  Angry people – attuned to the blameworthy actions of others – judge unfair acts caused by others to be frequent in the future  Sad people – attuned to situational causes of negative outcomes – judge negative life events caused by situational factors  Fearful people = heightened estimates that risky/dangerous events will be in their future o More subtle kinds of pessimism associated with more specific negative emotions like anger etc. - Effect on causal judgements: o Causal judgements, or attributions, of behaviour figure prominently in legal judgements (determining sentence for a convicted criminal), forgiving love ones (or not)…etc. o The central activity of the social mind, as it seeks to understand the world o Causal judgements shift dramatically according to our current moods and emotions o General attributional bias produced by negative and positive moods o Experiment by Forgas: individuals recall romantic experience when in negative or positive mood  People in a negative mood attribute positive romantic experience to situational factors and blame themselves for the romantic conflict  Happy people took personal credit for the positive romantic experience and blamed the conflict on circumstantial factors Persuasion - Aristotle: people are persuaded by messages that stir their emotions - People change their minds under the influence of persuasion - Two kinds of processing of arguments: 1. Systematic: attend to the validity of the argument itself 2. Superficial: involves responses to less essential aspects of the communication e.g. the personality or reputation of who is presenting the argument (not the validity itself) o Good mood = more superficial  neutral or negative mood = more systematic o ** people in good moods can be systematic too if given MORE TIME to concentrate - Messages are more effective to the extent that they match the emotional state of the listener o E.g. politician trying to mobilize an angry group of supporters = more anger- related terms used like injustice and blame Emotions and Moral Judgements - emotions, when properly functioning, guides moral judgement - emotions act as social-moral intuitions o fast, automatic, involuntary experiences of specific emotions provide gut feelings about right and wrong, virtue, and punishment, without the need for elaborate calculation at the conscious level - Jonathan Haidt: - four categories of moral emotions that appear rapidly/effortlessly in consciousness and are emotional in nature o Harm-related emotions: motivate prosocial responding to people who suffer or are vulnerable  E.g. sympathy and concern o Self-critical emotions: arise when we have violated moral codes or ideas about virtue and character and they motivated moral behaviour  E.g. shame, embarrassment, guilt o Other praising emotions: signal our approval of others’ moral virtues  E.g. gratitude and elevation or awe o Other condemning emotions: underlie our condemnation of others’ immoral actions  E.g. anger, disgust, contempt - Slow, effortful, and controlled reasoning processes are a second influence on our moral judgement o Secondary appraisal: contemplate the evidence, consider logical and ethical principles, debate on consequences etc.  reason-based o Our emotional intuitions feed into these more deliberate cognitive processes - Personal, emotionally evocative moral dilemmas activated regions of the brain that are involved in emotion: medial frontal gyrus, the posterior cingulated gyrus, the angular gyrus - Impersonal, moral dilemmas + non-moral dilemmas activated brain regions associated w
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