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PSY2303 Cognition and Emotion > Emotion > Flashcards

Flashcards in Emotion Deck (29)
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what is an emotion?

A feeling?
o Subjective experience of the emotion, not the emotion itself

A phys response to a stim?
o Similar phys responses can be associated w/ diff emotions – e.g. heart racing – excitement, anger, anx

A behav response, e.g. smiling?
o Can be used to mask true emotions

A combo of the above

Basic theory states that emotions are specific, biologically hardwired, w. dedicated brain mechanisms

Composite theory states they are states of mind assembled from more basic, general causes


categorising emotions




basic emotions

Unique chars

Developed through evolution

Reflected in facial expressions

Inborn instinct

If relevant stim present, it will trigger evolved brain mechanism in same way every time – brain mechanisms automatic

Exist as entities, independent of perception of them – basic emotions are real thing, they’re not just the product of how we perceive something – we could get a phys response and interp it in diff ways – wouldn’t constitute basic emotion

Predictable, measurable changes in sensory, perceptual, motor and phys functions


complex emotions

Combo’s of basic emotions

May be socially/culturally learned

Jealousy, parental love, romantic love

Last for longer – hrs/days/years/lifetime

No universal facial expressions


complex emotions - Ortigue et al. (2010)

meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies on romantic love

Love activates a distributed brain network involving many other functions – dopaminergic midbrain reward but also cortical regions – suggests it’s a composite of many emotions



Studied facial expressions as a window on emotion

Facial expressions used to indicate a particular emotion are the same across cultures

Basic emotions
o Anger, fear, disgust, sadness, happiness and surprise


Tracy and Matsumoto (2008)

Looked at expressions of pride and shame in Olympic and Paralympic athletes in 2004

Similar facial expressions across events and cultures and in those that are blind

Examined nonverbal expressions of pride and shame at winning or losing

Argued that pride and shame are also basic emotions on the basis that their body language cannot have been learned culturally


theories of emotion generation - James-Lange

Stimulus (e.g. a predator) –-> phys reaction – sweating, fight/flight  automatic, nonconscious interp of phys response

E.g. you only feel scared after your body has started running away

You could not have an emotion first without having a bodily reaction


theories of emotion generation - Cannon-Bard

Argued James must be wrong because phys signals can be interp in diff ways – e.g. sweating = anx or excitement

Neuronal and hormonal feedback processes also too slow to account for speed with emotions experienced

Sympathetic NS coords behav reaction

Cortex simultaneously generates ‘feeling’


LeDoux - 2 emotion systems

One system for emotional responses

Another system for generating conscious feeling of emotion

First system evolved to produce fast, automatic responses – amygdala

Second system produces feelings, which are learned by experience


the amygdala

Lesions – lose emotions, particularly fear and don’t show normal fear response

Demonstrated in rat studies

see notes


3 patients w/ bilateral amygdala lesions - Feinstein et al. (2013)

Patients inhaled CO2 – method of inducing panic

Measured rates of panic attacks and subjective fear/panic

100% of amygdala Ps experienced panic attacks – but only 3 patients – could be chance

Also given visual analogue scale

Consistent with earlier suggests that panic is a false biological alarm, the affective response to CO2 may be part of a protective system triggered by suffocation and acute metabolic distress

Amygdala patients and controls who did have panic attacks had similar levels of subjective panic

Intact fearful response to carbon dioxide inhalation

Suggests amygdala role in fear is not in the experience of fear per se, but in the translational of external threats into a fearful response


amygdala connections

Role must be more than simple emotion

Connections to the MTL suggest memory role

Connections to striatum suggest learning role

Connections to PFC suggest attention/WM role

see notes


learning emotion and the amygdala: fear conditioning

see notes

What we know about amygdala comes from fear conditioning paradigm

First present 2 diff stim alone – tone (CS) which elicits no response, and shock which elicits startle response

Next train mouse to associate tone with shock

Then after training present tone alone and this now elicits startle response (conditioned response)



see notes

In extinction, get rid of association of light with foot shock

Present tone alone repeatedly and after a while the mouse unlearns the association

Eventually unlearns association


lateral amygdala cells - patterns of firing during fear conditioning - Quirk et al. (1993)

On left are cells that fire in response to tone (CS)

After training firing increases, esp. in v. early phase after tone delivery

Plasticity goes away after extinction

see notes


role of the amygdala in fear conditioning - LeDoux (1996)

Amygdala lesions block fear learning

Rats with amygdala lesions don’t learn to associate light (CS) w/ shock (US) to produce startle response (CR)

Information about threatening stimulus reaches the amygdala via 2 pathways – the high road and low road

Info takes about 15ms to go down low road and is fairly crude

Info takes about 300ms to travel down high road and has much higher level of detail – sensory properties of stim analysed in visual cortex before travelling to amygdala

see notes


double dissociation of conditioning and decorative knowledge relative to amygdala and hippocampus - Bechara et al. (1995)

Bechara et al. (1995) studied 3 patients – one w/ amygdala lesion, one w/ hippocampal lesion and one /w damage to both structures

CS: coloured slide/tone

US: boat horn – unpleasant loud noise

Measured Skin Conductance Response (SCR)

Also asked to report explicit knowledge of which CS predicted US

Patient with amygdala damage showed impaired SCR to the conditioned stim but intact factual learning

Patient w/ hippocampus damage showed normal SCR to conditioned stim but impaired factual learning

Patients w/ both lesions showed impaired SCR to conditioned stim and impaired factual learning

Amygdala necessary for implicit learning of threat

see notes


amygdala and explicit learning - Phelps et al. (2001)

Instructed fear paradigm w/ fMRI

Ps told one stim (blue square) predict shock whilst another stim (yellow square) predicts safety (no shock)

No actual shocks administered

Activation in amygdala in first half of threat v safe trials, even though no shock delivered

Correlation between amygdala activation and SCR response positive)

Amygdala plays role in expression of fear response, regardless of how it was learnt

Explicit learning of association with stim and unpleasant outcome

see notes


amygdala and memory - Cahill et al. (1996)

Showed Ps emotional and neutral films and recorded glucose metabolism in the amygdala -

Recall more emotional films than neutral films

Higher activation at time watching films = more emotional info recalled

Correlation not present for neutral films

Key role for amygdala in LTM for emotionally arousing events

Amygdala modulates hippocampal memory processes

see notes


role of amygdala in learning and memory - summary

Amygdala necessary for learning association between stim and threat

Amygdala necessary for implicit learning but can also play a role in explicit learning under some conditions

Amygdala acts to modulate hippocampal consolidation for arousing emotional events


influence of emotion on attention

• Attentional blink
Stream of stim in middle of screen – respond to single/multiple targets

Single = get lots correct

2 = bottleneck

Ps show reduced attention for a second target when it occurs very soon after a first target

see notes


influence of emotion on attention - Anderson et al. (1995)

Introduce emotional stim

Reduction in attentional blink

Attenuates emotional blink

Used emotional words as the second target and asked Ps to identify the 2 green words

see notes


How does emotion influence attention?

Via modulatory influence of amygdala on sensory cortical tuning


Morris et al. (1998)

Brain areas in which activation correlated with amygdala activation during viewing of fearful faces

Correlation between amygdala and visual cortex activation during viewing of faces

Amygdala can affect attention via transient changes in sensory cortical tuning

see notes


role of amygdala in attention

Plays a key role in getting an unattended but emotional stim into conscious awareness by providing feedback to primary sensory cortex

Can occur via long-lasting as well as more transient changes in sensory cortical tuning


insular and interoception - Critchley et al. (2004)

fMRI study

Gave Ps regular tones
o Synchronised w/ Ps heartbeat/asynchronous
o Standard freq/diff freq (e.g. higher tone in stream of low tones)
o Given diff task – attend to heartbeat and report whether each tone synchronous w/ heartbeat or not / attend to note itself and report whether tone of diff freq given
o Matched in level of difficulty

2 tasks – one involving interoceptive awareness and one involving exteroceptive awareness

Correlation between insula activation and internal bodily states

Greater activation in insula during attention to heartbeat trials than attention to note trials

Activation in insula correlated w/
1. Trait anx
2. Perf on heartbeat task

Suggests key role for insula in representing subjective feeling states (interoceptive awareness)

see notes


insula and disgust

Role of insula for representing subjective feedback states

Lesions – deficits in certain emotions


insula and disgust - Clader et al. (2000)

Selective deficit in recognition and experience of disgust after insula lesion (Calder et al., 2000)
o Deficit in recognising facial expressions of disgust
o Link between experiencing emotions and recognising them in others – co-evolved in same brain systems – Involves interoceptive process by insula