Psych Emotions and Health
Emotion and Health
Emotion (affect) - feelings that involve subjective evaluation, physiological process and
- Immediate responses to environmental events
Mood - diffuse and long-lasting emotional states that influence rather than interrupt
thought and behaviour. Reflects perceptions of whether have the personal resources
necessary to meet environmental demands. If moods negative, then experience stress.
Stress - a pattern of behavioural and physiological responses to events that match or
exceed an organisms abilities.
Health physiology is the field of concerned with the events that affect physical well-
How are emotions adaptive?
Negative and positive experiences guide behaviour that increases the probability of
surviving and reproducing. Emotions/emotional responses are adaptive because they
prepare and guide behaviors. Provide information about the importance of stimuli to
personal goals and then prepare people for actions aimed at helping achieve those
Facial expressions communicate emotion
At birth, infant can display: joy, interest, disgust, and pain. By two months, anger and
sadness. By six months, fear.
- Lower half of face more important than upper half of face in communicating
- However eyes are also very imp. If people are presented with pictures of just
eyes or just mouths and asked to identify emotions expressed, more accurate
using the eyes.
- But if whole face presented, mouth is more important.
Emotions provide info to others as how people are feeling and prompt them to respond
in accordance with others wants and needs.
Some facial expressions are universal (most strongly for happiness and least strongly
for fear and disgust) therefore biologically based.
Display rules (how and when emotions are exhibited) however differ between
cultures. These are learned via socialization.
- Differences in display rules help to explain cultural stereotypes. Psych Emotions and Health
- Explains why identification of facial expressions much better within than
- Women tend to display more emotions but not those that pertain to
dominance. This does not mean they feel more emotion.
- In Western society, women tend to be better than men at articulating their
emotions perhaps due to upbringing which might account for their more
Emotions serve cognitive functions
Emotions affect and are part of thinking.
- People in good moods tend to use heuristic thinking, which allows for quick
and efficient decisions. Positive moods also facilitate creative, elaborate
responses to challenging problems and motivate persistence. Recent theory
proposes that increased dopamine improves cognition.
- Positive affect leads to higher levels of dopamine production, which
subsequently leads to heightened activation of dopamine receptors in other
Anticipated emotional states are important in decision making. Emotions are heuristic
guides. Have direct effect that does NOT depend on cognitive processes. Events that
are recent or vivid have strongest influence on behavior.
- When cognition and emotion are in conflict, emotions typically have more
impact on decisions
Affect-as-information theory - people use their current emotional state to make
judgments and appraisals, even if they do not know the source of their moods. (ask
about overall life satisfaction). However if people are made aware of the source of their
happiness (tell them they might be in good mood because its sunny outside) their
feelings no longer influence judgments.
Somatic markers - most self-regulatory actions and decisions are affected by the
bodily reactions, somatic markers that arise from contemplating their outcomes.
- e.g. gut feeling, when contemplate an action you experience an emotional
reaction based in part on your expectation of the outcome, which is
determined by past history
- damage to frontal lobes have absence of somatic markers (tend not to use
past outcomes to regulate future behavior)Psych Emotions and Health
Emotions capture attention - emotional information is highly adaptive and therefore
- Emotional Stroop task shows that cognitive processes are biased towards
o words that are emotionally arousing (e.g. anger) are more difficult to
override than are neutral words. Attentional bias for encoding affective
o Emotional info reduces attentional blink (occurs because
attention was focused on the first word and there is a temporary
impairment in processing subsequent words). However if second word
contains emotional information (e.g. rape) then people are much better
at remembering it
Emotions aid memory: better remember items for which there was an emotional
- Link between emotionality and memory tested in remember/know procedure,
in which you are asked about your recognition of an item from a previous trial.
(know is familiar, remember is accompanied by sensory, emotional detail.)
- High NEGATIVE photos were more likely to be identified as remember than
neutral or positive ones
- Creating st