11.4 | Emotion Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke > 11.4 | Emotion > Flashcards

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  • emotion: a behaviour with the following three components: (a) a subjective thought and/or experience with (b) accompanying patterns of neural activity and physical arousal and (c) an observable behavioural expression (e.g., an emotional facial expression or changes in muscle tension)


Physiology of Emotion

  • amygdala: a group of nuclei in the medial portion of the temporal lobes in each hemisphere of the brain, plays a critical role
  • the amygdala fires when we perceive stimuli that are emotionally arousing, and is especially sensitive to fear-relevant images and sounds
  • after perceiving a threat, the autonomic nervous system, which consists of the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system, allows us to react accordingly to whether or not there is a threat
  • if a threat is perceived and movement is necessary, our nervous system controls our body to move
  • afterwards, our frontal lobes evaluates how we reacted to the stimuli, whether it was correct or not, and if it was correct, generates a behaviour that is appropriate for that situation


James-Lange Theory of Emotion

  • James-Lange theory of emotion: suggested that our physiological reactions to stimuli (e.g. a racing heart) precedes the emotional experience (e.g. fear)
  • also suggests that our emotions are determined by how our body responds
  • according to this theory, emotion would be experienced in the following way:
  1. based on your initial perception of a stimulus, your heart starts to race
  2. your brain receives feedback about that response, and then
  3. the brain decides that based on the feedback it has received, you should feel fear


Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion

  • Cannon-Bard theory of emotion: suggested that the brain interprets a situation and generates subjective emotional feelings, and that the representations in the brain trigger responses in the body


Facial Feedback Hypothesis

  • a key feature in modern interpretations of the James-Lange theory
  • facial feedback hypothesis: suggests that our emotional expressions can influence our subjective emotional state
  • if your lips are smiling, you will feel happier, if you lips are frowning, you will feel sadder; does not work for all emotions (e.g. surprise)
  • this isn't restricted to facial expressions, people holding warmer objects feel a "warmer" emotion while people holding colder objects feel a "colder" emotion


The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

  • two-factor theory: holds that patterns of physical arousal and the cognitive labels we attach to them form the basis of our emotional experiences 

Shachtcher and Singer (1962): experiment where people were injected with adrenaline and then had to react to an actor's behaviour

  • as predicted, the participants’ emotional responses were influenced by their ability to explain their physical symptoms 
  • when people understood the adrenaline was going to make their heart race, they reported smaller emotional reactions to the actor than when they were ignorant of the drug’s effects 

Dutton and Aron (1974): participants underwent a Thematic Appreciation Test, which involved two different bridges

  • participants in the experimental condition included significantly more sexual imagery in their stories than did participants in the control condition 
  • additionally, when participants experienced emotional arousal, they interpreted it as attraction to the experimenter 


Expressing Emotions

  • our ability to detect lying is quite poor
  • polygraph: a machine that measures whether heart rate and sweating increase when a person responds to different events or questions
  • however, after extensive testing, the polygraph was shown to be an inaccurate measure of lie detection; evidence gathered using this technique is not admissible in Canadian courts 
  • Ekman et al. (1999): discovered microexpressions, which are brief emotional expressions when our real emotional response can be seen on our faces
    • however, microexpressions cannot tell you why someone is feelings a certain way


Emotional Faces and Bodies

  • our expressions have a purpose that will enhance our ability to survive 
  • e.g. if you smell something stinky you scrunch up your face to reduce airflow into your nostrils, thus limiting the amount of the disgusting substance(s) that can enter your body 
  • e.g. when we're afraid, we open our eyes wider and breathe in because we feel threatened and therefore need to be able to take in as much information as possible in order to develop the best plan of action to keep ourselves safe 
  • expressions appear all over the world, suggesting that they are an innate part of being human 


Culture, Emotion, and Display Rules

  • emotional dialects: variations across cultures in how common emotions are expressed 
  • display rules: refer to the unwritten expectations we have regarding when it is appropriate to show a certain emotion
  • culture-specific display rules can be found the world over and show us that we need to be cautious about over-generalizing the meaning of different displays of emotions 

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