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Chapter 8

Textbook Ch. 8: Emotions

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Nick Rule

CHAPTER 8 EMOTIONS - Ilongot, an indigenous tribe in the Northern Philippines - key emotion, liget, meaning (approximation) anger, passion, energy - justification for head hunting rituals What Is an Emotion? The James-Lange Theory of Emotion - James, our emotions are the physiological responses to stimuli in our world - Lange, these physiological responses were products of our autonomic nervous system - our bodies respond to stimuli by preparing us to react in a survival-facilitating way - our emotions are our bodily changes that signal how we should behave - suggests that people in all cultures should have the same emotional experiences The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion - emotions are primarily our interpretations of bodily responses - (Schacter & Singer, 1962) participants completed a questionnaire in a situation where arousal would be interpreted as either euphoria or anger - also manipulated amount of physiological arousal experienced - placebo, given saline and truthfully told the injection wouldn’t have any side effects on their state of arousal - epinephrine-informed, epinephrine-uninformed, epinephrine-misinformed (told it would decrease their arousal) - predicted that in the last two conditions, where participants would experience arousal but wouldn’t know why, would look to the situation to interpret their feelings - placebo, would experience little arousal and thus little emotion - epinephrine-informed, would experience little emotion because they would attribute it to the side effects of the injection - in general, results supported predictions - suggests that our emotions are grounded in the belief system that shape our interpretations, people might interpret physiological signals differently across cultures The Role Appraisals in Emotions - the emotional response isn’t determined directly by the event itself; our appraisal of what the event means leads to the response - appraisals are the way we evaluate events in terms of their relevance to our well-being - given the overall similarity of humans’ environments and basic needs, there should be a great deal of similarity in the ways people appraise events across cultures - universally similar appraisals should lead to universally similar emotional responses - cultures differ in the way people understand what the situation means and its significance; differences in beliefs and values will shape appraisals - example of illness - define emotion as the affective response to an appraisal - explorations of cultural variation would just require investigation on whether there are cultural differences in appraisals Does Emotional Experience Vary Across Cultures? Emotions and Facial Expressions - facial expressions often appear rather reflexive - same facial expressions that adults make are made by very young infants, even those born blind Evidence for Cultural Universals in Facial Expression - Darwin, if chimpanzees made facial expressions that resembled those of humans, it would be highly suggestive of universality - noticed striking parallels in the expressions that various primates made with those that humans made (for some emotional responses) - (Ekman & Friesen, 1971) took 1000s of photos of people posing 6 different emotional expressions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise) - shown a set of photos most easily recognized by Americans to individuals in other countries and asked to select which of a set of 6 terms best matched the expression - emotional correctly identified in 80-90% of photos - however, the 5 cultures weren’t all that different from each other to begin with - Ekman, Fore of New Guinea had virtually no exposure to Western ways - told to imagine a story and to make a corresponding facial expression - smiled when happy, frowned when sad, scowled when angry etc - proposed a set of basic emotions that are universally recognized - anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust Evidence for Cultural Variability in Facial Expressions - success rates for identifying American-posed faces was best among English speakers, then other Indo-European language speakers, non-Indo-European language speakers, and lastly preliterate societies - people are ~9% more accurate in judging facial expression of people from their own culture (on average, 58% accuracy overall) - the more people are exposed to another culture, the more accurate their judgments were - “basic” VS “non-basic” emotions - no clear-cut boundary separating the two; unclear if decreasing performance indicates emotions that don’t have a clearly distinct facial expression or cultural variability Displaying Emotions Versus Experiencing Them - we have much conscious control over our facial expressions - (Kraut & Johnston, 1979) recorded facial expressions of bowlers in bowling alley - when they get a strike, they didn’t usually smile until they turned to look at their teammates (after throwing) - they didn’t express their happiness until they had an opportunity to communicate it Cultural Display Rules - culturally specific rules that govern which facial expressions are appropriate in a given situation and how intensely they should exhibit it - even though people in different cultures vary in how strongly they express certain emotions, it is possible that they are all experiencing the same underlying feeling - presupposes that emotional experiences are unaffected by facial expressions - (Ekman, 1972) showed American and Japanese participants highly stressful films either alone or with an older experimenter sitting beside them - alone, Americans and Japanese made similar facial expressions - not along, Americans showed similar facial expressions, Japanese tended to smile or hide their feelings with their hands - ritualized displays, facial expressions that are expressed in some cultures but not in others because of cultural display rules - e.g. Indians express embarrassment by tongue biting, not recognized in America, represents a voluntarily produced rather than reflexive expression Facial Feedback Hypothesis - proposes that we use facial expressions when inferring out feeling
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