Each expression is characterized by a unique subset of facial muscle movements, and the
ability to convey emotions appears to be innate since not only infant but blind people are able
to express the emotions in a similar way.
Some neural systems specialize for the perception of specific emotional expressions e.g.
bilateral damage to amygdale produces a deficit in the perception of expressions of fear,
insula and basal ganglia help perceive the expressions of disgust, neurotransmitter system
activated by dopamine is involved in the perception of expressions of anger
Although the 6 emotions defined by Ekman do not capture all human experiences but they
are the basic emotions i.e. emotional reactions that are universal across cultures
Human emotions do not exist as distinct categories but rather lie on a continuum.
The Circumplex model
Arousal refers to the bodily changes that occur in emotion e.g. heart rate, sweating etc. The
intensity of emotional reactions can be assessed by the strength of these responses.
Valence is the subjective quality (positive or negative) of the emotional response to a
specific object or event.
Circumplex model puts arousal on one axis and valence of the other axis. In this model,
arousal refers to the strength of stimulus and activation of resources whereas valence refers to
the degree to which we perceive the emotion as positive or negative. Emotions are then
plotted on the axis where the data falls in a circular pattern.
In a study, it was found that amygdala responded to the intensity of smell and orbitofrontal
cortex helped differentiate between positive or negative smell
Amygdala codes several different aspects of emotional experience
The Approach-Withdrawal Distinction
Emotions can be plotted along the dimension of motivation which tells us the tendency to
act/respond gets influenced by emotion
Different emotions lead to different actions.
Approach emotions refer to happiness, surprise and anger because they evoke the desire to
approach the stimulus object or situation
Withdrawal emotions refer to sad, disgust and fear because they evoke the desire to
withdraw from an object or situation
Approach-withdrawal model characterizes the acting tendency of emotion i.e. it takes
motivation into account as a tendency to approach or withdraw from an object based on
Cerebral asymmetry shows approach and withdrawal tendencies.