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Chapter 1

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PSYC18 Chapter 1 – Approaches to Understanding Emotions - The West’s most prominent early theorists of emotions, the Epicureans and Stoics, thought that emotions are irrational and damaging Nineteenth-century founders - Charles Darwin – The Evolutionary Approach o Studied emotions of humans and compared them to animals (The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals 1872) o Realized importance of cross-cultural study, first to use questionnaires o Asked 2 broad questions  How are emotions expressed in humans and other animals? (blushing, body contact, clenching fists, etc.)  Pg. 6  Where do our emotions come from? • Concluded that emotional expressions derive largely from habits that in our evolutionary or individual past had once been useful • Emotional expressions were like vestigial parts of our bodies (Appendix must have been used for something but it is no longer needed. Snarling was a form of using teeth to attack but it is also no longer needed.) - William James – The Bodily Approach o The Principles of Psychology (1890)  Thought that emotion is the perception of changes of our body as we react to the “fact” (e.g. meeting a bear in the woods)  The core of an emotion is the pattern of bodily responses  Emotions give colour and warmth to experience - Sigmund Freud – The Psychoanalytic Approach o Proposed that certain events, usually of a sexual kind, can be so damaging that they leave psychological scars that can affect the rest of our lives o E.g. Katharina and her uncle Philosophical and literary approaches - Aristotle – The Conceptual Approach (384 to 322BCE) o Emotions are connected with action, we are responsible for our emotions because we are responsible for our beliefs and valuations of the world o In his book: Rhetoric  How do we persuade others?  1. A hearer is more likely to believe a good person than a bad one  2. People are persuaded when what is said stirs their emotions  3. People are persuaded by arguments that seem truthful o Solomon (2004) – Emotions are judgments and to understand how this occurs we can say they are subjective engagements in the world o In his book: Poetics  About narrative writing, mainly about tragedy  Drama is about universal human action  Effects of tragic drama • People are moved emotionally (even if they are good, they are being tortured) --> Moved to feel sympathy or pity for the character • Katharsis of our emotions (mistranslated as purgation or purification) but Martha Nussbaum (1986) argues: Clarification PSYC18 Chapter 1 – Approaches to Understanding Emotions o Emotions are kinds of judgments - Rene Descartes – The philosophical Approach o Founder of modern philosophy and the scientific view of the brain o The Passions of Soul (1649): book as basis for modern neurophysiology o Claimed that six fundamental emotions (wonder, desire, joy, love, hatred and sadness) occur in the thinking aspect of ourselves that he called the soul --> Closely connected to our bodies o Perceptions tell us what’s going on in the outside world, bodily passions tell us important events in the body and emotions tell us what is important in our souls o Like Aristotle, Descartes suggested that the emotions depend on how we see events o Wrote in the Early Modern Period (goes against Humors by Hippocrates: Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, Melancholy) o I think, therefore I am: Emotions arise in the mind, enable our plans and affect our bodies - George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans) – The Literary approach o Emotional dynamics between men and women o 1871 – 1872: Middlemarch, novel about emotions, portrays experience from inside the person’s own consciousness Brain science, psychology, sociology - Walter cannon and Walter Hess: Brain science o Before finding that the brain itself works by sending electrical signals from neuron to neuron, main findings about the brain function came from brain lesions (animals or accidentally in humans) o Went against colleague William James, against the James-Lange Theory (if viscera were severed from the brain, one would expect reduction in emotions but it did not occur) o Phineas Gage (rod in head, mild manner became irritable) o Antonio Damasio: Cortext in frontal region exercises important modulating function of human emotions o Walter Hess conceived of way to stimulate cats’ brains via ele
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