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PSYC18H3 (274)
Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Gerald Cupchik

Chapter 1: Approaches to Understanding Emotions IMPORTANT FOUNDATIONS OF EMOTIONAL PSYCHOLOGY: - many thinkers argued that our emotions are base and destructive  noble reaches of human nature are achieved when reason controls passion  e.g. anxiety and doing well on an exam o perils of emotion (irrational & damaging) anger = always destructive to the self + social relations - 1. Charles Darwin – Evolutionary Approach: o Accepted theory of that time: God had given humans special facial muscles that allowed them to express uniquely human sentiments unknown to animal o Darwin’s: The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)  Humans are descended from other species  observed emotional expressions from nonhuman species + adults humans + infant humans  Realized the importance of cross cultural studies to make general observations • First to set up questionnaires (for missionaries + other people who would observe diff cultures)  First to make naturalistic and posed expressions to make scientific points (via photos)  Asked TWO broad questions: i. How are emotions expressed in humans and other animals? ii. Where do our emotions come from? o Concluded they derive largely from habits that had evolutionary usefulness  used in modern humans whether useful or not  E.g. Tears stream down even when we don’t need lubricant  Emotional expressions = vestigial parts of our bodies • E.g. sneering a vestige of snarling/preparing to bite • E.g. Crying a vestige for screaming as an infant  Emotions link us to our past (of our species/our infancy)  UNIVERSALITY OF EXPRESSIONS - 2. William James – Bodily Approach: o When we perceive fear, the emotion is the perception of changes of our body as we react to that fact (e.g. heart palpations + sweat + legs carrying us away when we see a bear) o Nature of EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE  Emotions move us bodily (emotion = bodily responses) o Two important points: i. Experience of many emotions (from fear to joy) is the set of changes of the autonomic nervous system (heart, blood vessels, stomach, sweat glands) 1. What physiological reactions are associated with the different emotions?? ii. Emotions give “colour and warmth” to experience - 3. Sigmund Freud – Psychoanalytic Approach: o Certain events (usually the sexual kind) can be so damaging that they leave psychological scars that can affect the rest of our lives. o Case Study: Katharina  panic attacks due to the sexual attempts made by her own father + her later impregnated cousin  E.g. Freud gave “psychoanalytical therapy”  telling of one’s stories with gaps  filling the gaps by “interpretations” of the therapist  insights of the person receiving therapy  realization of something that was unconscious o Critical influences on: i. Richard Lazarus  theory of appraisal on the basis of goals (Ch. 7) ii. John Bowlby: • Theory of attachment – love between mother and infant • Theory that social development derives from an emotional base (Ch. 11) THREE THINKERS WHO INFLUENCED EMOTIONAL PSYCHOLOGY: - 1. Aristotle – Conceptual Approach: o Offered some of the first systematic analyses of different emotions 1 o Emotions are connected with action o Emotions depend on what our beliefs (they are evaluations) :. We are responsible for our emotions  **many assumed emotions happen to us OUTSIDE of our control o Three principles to persuade others: i. A hearer is more likely to believe a good person than a bad one ii. People are persuaded when what is said stirs their emotions iii. People are persuaded by arguments that seem truthful o Different judgements give rise to different emotions (emotion is defined cognitively) o In order to persuade, know the person (their values) o Role of emotion with persuasion: emotional experiences shape our judgement and evaluations o EMOTIONS ARE KINDS OF JUDGEMENT o Effects of Tragic Drama: i. People are moved emotionally  the principal character is also ourself ii. Katharsis  clarification – the clearing away of obstacles to understanding our emotions • Seeing human action in the theatre, we experience emotions that are not usually experienced (pity, fear)  :. Conscious understanding of why emotions are stirred - 2. René Descartes – Philosophical Approach: o founder of modern philosophy and the scientific view of the brain o The Passions of the Soul (1649)  Six fundamental emotions: wonder, desire, joy, love, hatred and sadness (occurs in thinking aspect of ourselves  called “the soul”) o emotions connect closely with our bodies (physiological reactions) o origin of emotions in our soul --> can be regulated by thinking (esp. thoughts that are true) o emotions depend on how we evaluate events (Similar to Aristotle) o emotions serve important functions (propels thought when in love) BUT can be dysfunctional too o "I think, therefore I am" - 3. George Eliot (Pen-name of Mary Ann Evans): Literary Approach o emotional experience and its place in intimate relationships o emotions are like a compass in life (if there is no fate or divine force that guides us)  principle mean by which people affect each other o relationships are made from how emotions arise and communicated - Walter Cannon and Walter Hess: Brain Science - Before Electronics (Walter Cannon): o main findings about brain function came from brain lesions (deliberate in animals or accidental in people) o Argued against William James (James-Lange Theory) o It is the transection of neural pathways at a quite different level that had a huge and striking effect on emotions (e.g. severing the cerebral cortex from subcortical regions = lab cat showed very intense emotions without provocation)  contributed to idea that higher regions of the brain (cortex) act to inhibit lower regions where emotions reside • e.g. Phineas Gage + Railway Accident + Rod + Brain Lesion  the frontal region of the cortex exercises an important modulating function to human emotions o **Antonio Damasio Descartes' Error (1994)  the subcortical region is responsible for human emotions (brain imaging systems) - After Electronics (Walter Hess): o stimulating the brain electrically (rather than through brain lesions) on the subcortical region  developed insulated w
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