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Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Emotions and Health

by OC4

Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY100H1
Professor
Michael Inzlicht
Chapter
10

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Chapter 10: Emotions and Health
Emotions are a fundamental part of the human experience. They warn of danger, create bonds
between people, and bring joy to life.
Emotions refer to feelings that involve subjective evaluation, physiological processes, and
cognitive beliefs.
Moods are diffuse and long-lasting emotional states that influence rather than interrupt thought
and behaviour.
Many times people are in a good or bad mood have no idea why they feel the way they do.
Stress is defined as a pattern of behavioural and physiological responses to events that match or
exceed an organisms abilities.
Health psychology is the field of psychological science concerned with the events that affect
physical well-being.
How are emotions adaptive?
Negative and positive experiences guide behaviour that increases the probability of surviving and
reproducing.
Emotions are adaptive because they prepare and guide behaviours, such as running when you
encounter dangerous animals.
Emotions provide information about the importance of stimuli to personal goals and then
prepare people for actions aimed at helping achieve those goals.
Facial expressions provide many clues about whether our behaviour is pleasing to others or
whether it is likely to cause them to reject, attack, or cheat us.
Facial expressions communicate emotion
In 1872, Darwin wrote Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, where he argues that
expressive characteristics were adaptive in all forms of life.
Emotional expressions are powerful nonverbal communications.
Humans can communicate emotions quite well without verbal language.
Because infants cannot talk, they must communicate their needs largely through nonverbal
action and emotional expressions.
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At birth, and infant can is capable of expressing joy, interest, disgust, and pain. By two months,
they can express anger and sadness, by six months they can express fear.
In the absence of verbal expression, nonverbal displays of emotions signal inner states, moods,
and needs. The lower half of the face may be more important that the upper half of the face in
communicating emotion.
The display of emotions alters behaviours in observers; people tend to avoid those who look
angry and approach those who look happy or in need of comfort.
Emotions provide information to others as to how people are feeling and, in addition, can
prompt them to respond in accordance with others wants and needs.
Facial Expressions across Cultures
! Darwin argues that the face innately communicates emotion to others and that these communications are
understandable by all people, regardless of culture.
! Some facial expressions are universal, and therefore likely to be biologically based.
Display Rules and Gender
Display rules govern how and when emotions are exhibited.
There are gender differences in display rules that guide emotional expression, particularly for
smiling and crying. It is generally believed that women more readily, frequently, easily, and
intensely display emotions; except for emotions related to dominance.
The emotions most closely associated with women are those related to care giving, nurturance
and interpersonal relationships, whereas emotions associated with men are related to
competitiveness, dominance, and defensiveness.
Although women are more likely to display emotion does not mean that they actually experience
emotions more intensely.
Emotions Serve Cognitive Functions
People’s moods can alter ongoing mental processes. When people are in good moods they tend
to make decisions more quickly and efficiently.
Positive moods also facilitate creative, elaborate responses to challenging problems and
motivate persistence.
Increased dopamine levels mediate the effects of positive affect on cognitive tasks.
Heightened activation of dopamine receptors in brain areas is crucial for the advantageous
cognitive effects of positive affect.
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Decision Making
Anticipated emotional states are an important course of information that guide decision making.
In the face of complex, multifaceted situations, emotions are heuristic guides, providing
feedback for making quick decisions.
Events that are recent or particularly vivid have an especially strong influence on behaviour.
Risk judgments are strongly influenced by current feelings, and when cognitions and emotions
are in conflict, emotions typically have more impact on decisions.
The affect-as-information theory posits that people use their current emotional states to make
judgments and appraisals, even if they do not know the source of their moods.
If people are made aware of the course of their mood, their feelings no longer influence
judgment.
Somatic Markers
Reasoning and decision making are guided by the emotional evaluation of an action’s
consequences.
The somatic-marker theory posits that most self-regulatory actions and decisions are affected by
the bodily reactions, called somatic markers that arise from contemplating their outcomes.
People with damages to the frontal lobe tend not to use past outcomes to regulate future
behaviour like the rest of us.
Emotional reactions help us select responses that are likely to promote survival and reproduction.
The anticipation that an event, action, or object will produce a pleasurable emotional state
motivates us to approach it, whereas anticipation of negative emotions motivates us to avoid
other situations.
Somatic markers may guide organisms to engage in adaptive behaviours.
Emotions Capture Attention
Cognitive processes are biased toward emotional stimuli.
Emotion also appears to lessen a common phenomenon known as attentional blink.
In research to this phenomenon, people are given the task of remembering target words from a
number of words that are printed on cards and presented rapidly.
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