PSY 220 CH.6
• Sympathy breakthroughs are common during combat scenarios.
• Sympathy is a powerful trigger for altruistic behaviour.
• Emotions are important guide of thoughts and actions.
• Once set in motion, emotions trigger action: they impel people to respond to specific
goals, threats, and opportunities in the environment.
• Although emotions can disrupt sound reasoning and make people behave irrationally,
they can also aid in reason and are vital to healthy relationships, sound functioning, and
effective pursuit of the good life.
• Emotions: Brief, specific psychological and physiological responses that help humans
meet goals, many of which are social.
• Facial expressions of emotion typically last 1-5 seconds. The physiological responses to
emotion last dozens of seconds or minutes. Moods can last hours or days. Emotional
disorders can last months.
• Emotions are specific: we feel emotions about specific people or events. What our
emotion is focuses on can be called its ‘intentional object.’
• Emotions typically help individuals achieve their social goals. They motivate us to act in
a certain way, and often result in stronger social relationships.
The Components of Emotion
• Emotions involve many components and the claims scientists have made about emotions
depend on what component of emotion is in focus.
• William James saw emotions as shifts in bodily responses (sweating, heart racing, etc.)
• Charles Darwin saw emotions as being defined by their expressive behaviours.
• Appraisal process: The ways people evaluate events and objects in their environment
based on their relation to current goals.
• Core-relational themes: Distinct themes, such as danger or offense or fairness, that
define the core of each emotion.
• Consensus is that emotions arise as a result of appraisal processes.
• The appraisals that trigger different emotions (core-relational themes) are fairly similar
• Primary appraisal stage: An initial, automatic positive or negative evaluation of ongoing
events based on whether they are congruent or incongruent with an individual’s goals.
• Secondary appraisal stage: A subsequent evaluation in which people determine why they
feel the way they do about an event, consider possible ways for responding to the event,
and weigh future consequence of different courses of action.
• Appraisal processes get emotions going. Once underway, emotions involve several
• Specific emotions can involve neurotransmitter release. Emotions can cause respiratory,
cardiovascular, muscle and even immune system responses. • We see the world through the emotions that we fell in that moment.
• Orbitofrontal cortex and periaqueductal grey are areas of the brain activated during bouts
Universality and Cultural Specificity of Emotion
• Some elements persist across cultures, even if they differ a bit (flailing arms and open-
hands akin to waving.)
• Evolutionary approach assumes many components of emotion to be widespread. Cultural
approach assumes that emotions are influenced strongly by values, roles, institutions, and
socialization practices, and that they vary across cultures.
• ADuchenne smile is one where it reaches your eyes.Associated with a positive
experience. Tends to activate the left side of the brain, non-Duchenne smiles activate the
Darwin and Emotional Expression
• Principle of serviceable habits: Charles Darwin’s thesis that emotional expressions are
remnants of full-blown behaviours that helped our primate and mammalian predecessors
meet important goals in the past.
• Darwin’s analysis generated 3 hypotheses about emotional expression. First, it posits
universality. Asecond prediction concerns the similarity between our emotional
expression and that of our primate and mammalian ancestors. Thought that our emotions
should resemble the emotional expressions of other species. Finally, Darwin argued that
blind individuals will still show similar expressions as sighted individuals.
The Universality of Facial Expression
Cross-Cultural Research on Emotional Expression
• Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen study. Darwin had described universal featuresfor
certain expressions. They got actors to portray these expressions in more than 3000
pictures. Showed pictures to people from Japan, Brazil,Argentina, Chile, and USA.
Given list of emotions and asked to match to photos. There was universality found,
accuracy was around 80-90%. Critics argued that participants had all seen Western media
portray these expressions.
• Ekman and Friesen did another study. They went to New Guinea to study the Fore (a tribe
living in stone-age conditions). For each expression they derived a story to match it (e.g.
this person’s son died) and matching it to the faces.Accuracy was within 80-90%.As an
added piece to the study, they taped the tribe members acting out these emotions and
played them forAmerican students. They correctly interpreted the expressions (fear was
Emotional Expressions in Other Animals
• Facial expressions in chimps are similar to human facial expressions.
• Human displays of embarrassment resemble appeasement displays in other mammals.
• Individuals who display greater embarrassment or blushing in social interactions are
more likely to be trusted, cooperated with, and given resources by a stranger.
Emotional Expression among the Blind
• Jessica Tracy looked into celebrations by blind people and came to find that it is
universal. They through their arms in the air with their chest out as an expression of pride.After losing both groups dropped their heads and slumped their shoulders in a
display of shame and dejection.
Cultural Specificity of Emotion
• Not all emotional expressions are universal. Some have different meanings in different
parts of the world.
• Emotion accents: Culturally specific ways that individuals from different cultures express
particular emotions, such as the tongue bite as an expression of embarrassment in India.
Culture and Focal Emotions
• Focal emotions: Emotions that are especially common within a particular area.
• Countries are generally seen as having a baseline emotion (Canada= kind)
• Took this idea and applied it to cultures. Some may have an honour culture and going
against that will elicit strong amounts of rage.
• Shame and embarrassment are likely more focal in interdependent cultures.
• Hypercognize: To represent a particular emotion with numerous words and concepts.
• In Tahiti there are 46 words for anger. China has 113 for shame or embarrassment.
• When an emotion fits the self-construal or value of a particular culture, people develop a
richer language to communicate the emotion and express it in more intense nonverbal
Culture and Ideal Emotions
• Jeanne Tsai came up with an affect valuation theory. Tsai reasons that cultures vary in
emotions they value or idealize. Emotions that promote specific cultural values and ideals
are cherished more; as a result, those emotions play a more prominent role in the social
lives of individuals.
• Display rules: Culturally specific rules that govern how and when and to whom people
• In Western countries, joy and excitement should be frequently expressed. In EastAsian
countries, greater restraint will be placed on these emotions.
Emotions and Social Relationships
• Iraneus Eibl-Eibesfelst concluded that emotions are the grammar of social relationships;
they are the basic elements of warm attachments between 2 people.
Emotions in Friendship and Intimate Relationships
• Kristen and Jack both haveAsperger’s and are a couple.
Touch and Closeness
• They largely avoid touch; thereby they are deprived of one of the main languages of
• Experiment with a toucher and a touché. Toucher had to convey an emotion solely via
touch. High rate at determining what emotion was trying to be conveyed. (Hertenstein,
Keltner, App, Bulleit, and Jaskolka). Spaniards were better able to convey and interpret
emotion via touch.
• People rely on touch to promote closeness in friendships and intimate relationships in 3
1. Touch provides rewards to others; it is as pleasurable as a bright smile or a taste of
chocolate. 2. Touch can soothe at times of stress, thereby building closeness.
3. Touch encourages reciprocity, a foundation of friendships and intimate bonds. Friendly
patterns of touch have been found to increase compliance with requests. (Study involving
how much basketball players touched each other, found that the more they did, the more
cooperative they were on the court.)
• When Kirsten has strong emotional responses, Jack is often unmoved.
• In general, people have a tendency to mimic emotions.
• Laughs begin to mimic the laughs of those around you in a group.
• Mimicry establishes similarity and liking between individuals.
• Basic physical mimicry seems to promote increases closeness among non-kin.
• Experiment: Getting a potential employer to mimic the movements of an interview
candidate in one condition and not to in another. People watching rated the interviews
and the one where mimicking occurred were rated higher.
Box 6.2 Flirtation
• In the initial attention-