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Emotions, Stress & Health.pdf

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Emotions, Stress & Health Module 35: Introduction to Emotion Cognition & Emotion o Emotion: a response of the whole organism, involving bodily arousal, expressive behavious, and conscious experience o A chicken-and-egg debate: Does your bodily arousal come before or after your emotional feeling? o How do thinking (cognition) and feeling interact? Does cognition always come before emotion? Historical Emotion Theories: o James-Lange Theory: Arousal Comes Before Emotion: o The theory that our experience of emotion is our awareness of our physiological responses to emotion-arousing stimuli ▯ Ex. we feel sorry because we cry, anger because we strike, afraid because we tremble o Cannon-Bard Theory: Arousal & Emotion Occur Simultaneously: o The theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers physiological responses and the subjective experience of emotion o Cannon believed that the body’s responses – heart rate, perspiration and body temperature – are too similar, and they change too slowly, to cause the different emotions o Both Cannon and Bard concluded that our bodily responses and experienced emotions occur separately but simultaneously ▯ Ex. my heart began pounding as I experienced fear o The emotion-triggering stimulus traveled to my sympathetic nervous system, causing my body’s arousal. At the same time, it traveled to my brain’s cortex, causing my awareness of emotion o This theory has been challenged by studies of people with severed spinal cords ▯ Those with lower-spine injuries, who had lost sensation only in their legs, reported little change in their emotions’ intensity ▯ Those with high spinal cord injuries did report changes Cognition Can Define Emotion: Schachter & Singer: o Schachter & Singer believed than an emotional experience requires a conscious interpretation of arousal: our physical reactions and our thoughts (perceptions, memories, and interpretations) together create emotion o Two-factor theory: to experience emotion one must be physically aroused and cognitively label the arousal o Spillover effect: when people are already in a state of heightened physiological arousal and then an experience happens that provoked them to feel either a negative or positive emotion o It was discovered that a stirred-up state can be experienced as one emotion or another, depending on how we interpret and label it o Point to remember: Arousal fuels emotion; cognition channels it Cognition May Not Precede Emotion: Zajonc, LeDoux, and Lazarus: o Zajonc contended that we actually have many emotional reactions apart from, or even before, our interpretation of a situation o Our emotional responses can follow two different brain pathways o Some emotions (especially more complex feelings like hatred and love) travel a “high-road” ▯ A stimulus following this path would travel to the brain’s cortex (by way of the thalamus). There it would be analyzed and labeled before the command is send out, via the amygdala (an emotion-control center), to respond ▯ Fear stimulus ▯ thalamus ▯ sensory cortex ▯ prefrontal cortex ▯ amygdala ▯ fear response o Sometimes our emotions (especially simple likes, dislikes, and fears) take what LeDoux called the “low-road” ▯ A neural shortcut that bypasses the cortex. Following the low-road pathway, a fear-provoking stimulus would travel from the eye or ear (via thalamus) directly to the amygdala ▯ This enables fast emotional responses before our intellect intervenes ▯ Fear stimulus ▯ thalamus ▯ amygdala ▯ fear response o Lazarus conceded that our brains process vast amounts of information without our conscious awareness, and that some emotional responses do not require conscious thinking o Mush of our emotional life operates via the automatic, speedy low road o We appraise an event as harmless or dangerous, whether we know it is or not o Zajonc/LeDoux believe that an event ▯ emotional response o Lazarus/Schachter-Singer believe that appraisal ▯ emotional response Embodied Emotion Emotions & the Autonomic Nervous System: o In a crisis, the sympathetic division of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) mobilizes your body for action, direction your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) o To provide energy, the liver pours extra sugar into the bloodstream o To help burn the sugar, respiration increases to supply needed oxygen o Heart rate and blood pressure increases o Digestion slows, diverting blood from your internal organs to your muscles ▯ Running becomes easier o Pupils dilate, letting in more light o When the crisis passes, the parasympathetic division of the ANS gradually calms the body as stress hormones slowly leave your bloodstream o Pupils contract, salvation increases, skin dries, respiration decreases, heart slows, digestion activates, decrease secretion of stress hormones, enhanced immune system functioning o Without any conscious effort, the body’s response to danger is wonderfully coordinated and adaptive – preparing your to fight or flight The Physiology of Emotions: o Different emotions do not have sharply distinct biological signatures, nor do they engage sharply distinct brain regions o Insula: a neural center deep inside the brain o Is activated when we experience various social emotions, such as lust, pride and disgust o Despite their similarities, sexual arousal, fear, anger and disgust feel different and they often look different too o During fear brow muscles tense, during joy muscles in the cheeks and under eyes pull in a smile o Some emotions also differ in their brain circuits o Emotions activate different areas of the brain’s cortex o When you experience negative emotions such as disgust, your right prefrontal cortex tends to be more activate than the left o Depression prone people, and those with generally negative personalities also show more right-frontal activity o Positive moods tend to trigger more left frontal lobe activity o The more a person’s baseline frontal lobe activity tills left – the more upbeat the person typically is Module 36: Expressed Emotion Detecting Emotions in Others o Hard-to-control facial muscles reveal signs of emotions you may be trying to conceal o Can readily detect anger even when hearing another language o Even glimpsing a face for 1/10 of a second enabled people to judge others’ attractiveness or trustworthiness o Despite our brain’s emotion-detecting skill, we find it difficult to detect deceiving expressions o Gestures, facial expressions, and voice tones which are absent in written communication, convey important information o Electronic communication provide impoverished nonverbal cues o We sometimes accompany our text messages, e-mails, and online posts with emotion cues ▯ Ex. Rolling on floor laughing (ROFL) o The absence of expressive emotion can make for ambiguous emotion Gender, Emotion & Nonverbal Behaviour o Judith Hall concluded that women generally do surpass men at reading people’s emotional cues when given “thin slices” of behaviour, as well as in other assessments of emotional cues such as deciding whether a male-female couple is a genuine romantic couple or a posed phony couple, and in discerning which of two people in a photo is the other’s supervisor o Women’s nonverbal sensitivity helps explain their greater emotional literacy o Women’s skill at decoding others’ emotions may also contribute to their greater emotional responsiveness o One exception is that anger strikes most people as a more masculine emotion o Women are also more likely than men to describe themselves as empathic o If you have empathy, you identify with others and imagine what it must be like to walk in their shoes o Females are more likely to express empathy – to cry and to report distress when observing someone in distress o Children and adults who skillfully infer others’ thoughts and feelings tend to enjoy positive peer relationships Culture & Emotional Expression o The meaning of gestures varies with the culture o Regardless of your cultural background, a smile’s a smile o Facial expressions do convey some nonverbal accents that provide clues to one’s culture o The world over, children cry when distressed, shake their heads when defiant, and smile when they are happy, so too with blind children who have never seen a face o People blind from birth spontaneously exhibit the common facial expressions associated with such emotions as joy, sadness, fear, and anger o Musical expressions also cross cultures o Happy (fast paced) music feels happy o Sad (slow paced) music feels sad o Facial muscles speak a universal language o Before our ancestors communicated in words, they communicated threats, greetings, and submission with facial expressions o Although cultures share a universal facial language for basic emotions, they differ in how much emotions they express o Those who encourage individuality display mostly visible emotions o Those that encourage people to adjust to others tend to have less visible displays of personal emotions o Like most psychological events, emotion is best understood not only as a biological and cognitive phenomenon, but also as a social-cultural phenomenon The Effects of Facial Expressions o William James believed that we can control emotions by giving “through the outward movements” of any emotion we want to experience o To feel cheerful, sit up cheerfully, look around cheerfully, and act as if cheerfulness were already there o Expressions not only comm
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