Textbook Notes (367,747)
Canada (161,363)
Psychology (9,685)
PSYC18H3 (274)
G Cupchik (49)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Perspectives on Emotions

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC18H3
Professor
G Cupchik
Semester
Fall

Description
1 Approaches to Understanding Emotions Introduction y For over two thousand years many thinkers have argued that our emotions are base and destructive and that the more noble reaches of human nature are achieved when our passions are controlled by our reason y It has often been thought that anger is always destructive to the self and to social relations y Early theorists of emotions the Epicureans and Stoics 2000 years ago thought that emotions are irrational and damaging Nineteenthcentury founders y Three theorists Darwin James and Freud laid foundations for our understanding of emotionsCharles Darwin the evolutionary approach y Published the most important book on emotions yet writtenThe Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals 1872 y Central tenet of Darwins theory was that humans are descended from other species we are not only closer to animals than had been thought but we ourselves are animals y Developed new methods realizing the importance of crosscultural studyy Was one of the first to use questionnaires he sent a set of printed questions to missionaries and others who could observe people in other cultures asking them to observe particular expressions y Darwin asked two broad questions that guide emotion researchers today o First how are emotions expressed in humans and other animals Taxonomy of some of the expressions o Second question Darwin addressed is where do our emotions come fromConcluded that emotional expressions derive largely from habits that in our evolutionary or individual past had once been usefulBased on reflexlike mechanismsHe thought emotional expressions were like vestigial parts of our bodies like the appendixEx an expression in which we partially uncover the teeth on one side is a behavioral vestige of snarling and of preparing to bite this was functional in some distant ancestor but is so no longerExpressions to infancy crying Darwin described screaming in young babies and gave an argument for the function of closing the eyes and the secretion of tears to help protect them when this occurred y So despite his reservations Darwin thought that emotions have useful functions tooWilliam James the bodily approach y Argued against the commonsense idea that when we feel an emotion it impels us to a certain kind of activity y Instead thought that when we perceive the object of fear then the emotion is the perception of changes of our body as we react to that fact y What we feel is our heart beating our skin cold our posture frozen or our legs carrying us away as fast as possible y Jamess theory is really about the nature of emotional experience y Stressed the way in which emotions move us bodily y The core of an emotion James contended is the pattern of bodily responses If we fancy some strong emotion and then try to abstract from our consciousness of it all the feelings of its bodily symptoms we find we have nothing left behind James 1890 p 451 o First stressed that our experience of many emotions from fear to joy is the set of changes of the autonomic nervous system that part of the nervous system that supplies inner organs including the heart the blood vessels the stomach and the sweat glands o Second proposed that emotions give color and warmth to experience
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