Module 8 - The structure of emotion Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Module 8 - The structure of emotion Deck (21):

How does Frijda describe basic emotions?

Frijda says that basic emotions have a clear action tendency.


What are the four different methods for identifying emotions and deciding whether they are primary (basic) emotions or secondary emotions?

1. Categorical analysis.

2. Dimensional analysis.

3. Evolution theory.

4. Facial expressions.


What is categorical analysis?

This sort of analysis takes emotion words and subjects them to a statistical technique called factor analysis in order to find out which words are used in a similar manner and which ones are not. Such a technique assumes that our language reflects (to some extent) an underlying psychological reality (this is tested in aprt by doing this across different cultures and languages and looking for similarities).


What is dimensional analysis?

Dimensional analysis uses two factors for differentiating emotion words, positive/negative and activation (high arousal/low arousal). The individual emotions can be placed at various points around the two axes - this is known as the circumplex model.


What kind of analysis does the circumspect model use?

Dimensional analysis.


How does evolution theory help us identify emotions?

The evolutionary theory approach to emotions assumes that basic emotions are those that were vital to our survival at some point in the history of our species. Fear would enhance survival by keeping the individual out of danger, and sadness would enhance survival by ensuring proximity to caregivers.

Plutchik (1980) was a proponent of evolution theory.


How do facial expressions help us identify emotions?

This approach assumes that each basic emotion will have a corresponding characteristic facial expression.


Johnson-Laird & Oatley's 1989 study using category analysis

Johnson-Laird & Oatley did a semantic analysis, grouping words into categories that meant the same kind of thing. They came up with five categories of emotions:

1. Happiness

2. Sadness

3. Fear

4. Disgust

5. Anger


Shaver et al. 1987 study using category analysis?

Shaver et al. had participants group 135 words into categories. The study came up with six emotion categories:

1. Happiness/joy

2. Love

3. Surprise

4. Sadness

5. Fear

6. Anger


What are Ekman's six basic universal emotions?

1. Happiness/joy

2. Surprise

3. Sadness

4. Fear

5. Anger

6. Disgust


Characteristics of emotion as identified by Ekman?

Automatic appraisal: emotions need to be automatic.

Commonalities in antecedent events: the same events are needed universally to bring about the same emotions

Presence in other primates

Quick onset

Brief duration

Unbidden occurrence

Distinctive physiology

Distinctive, universal signal - recognised by others


What emotion dimensions did Wundt identify?

Wundt (1905) said all emotions could be considered to be combinations of:




Since Wundt, almost all dimensional theories use the Pleasant/Unpleasant dimension as the primary and most important dimension, with level of arousal or activation as the second dimension.


What is the bipolarity argument?

This argument suggests that positive and negative emotion exist as opposite ends of the same continuum.


What is the unipolarity argument?

Positive and negative emotions exist as separate, unrelated factors. Two separate continuums from no positive emotion to strong positive emotion; and a separate continuum for no negative emotion to a strong negative emotion.

Independent unipolar model:
0 - 10 positive
0 - 10 negative

If I am 6 positive but 4 negative, then overall I come out positive.

If I am 6 positive and 6 negative, then overall I come out with a neutral mood.


Describe Watson, Clark & Tellegan's PANAS?

PANAS: Positive and Negative Affect Scale

Two independent emotional dimensions:

Positive Affect: High PA is high-energy pleasurable engagement

Negative Affect: High NA is distress and unpleasurable engagement


Positive affect on the PANAS?

Positive affect on PANAS is linked to extraversion:

High PA = high energy, full concentration, pleasurable engagement

Low PA = sadness and lethargy


Negative affect on the PANAS?

Negative affect on PANAS is linked to anxiety and neuroticism.

High NA = distress and unpleasurable engagement, anger, contempt, disgust, fear

Low NA = calmness, serenity

High NA + low PA = major distinguishing feature of depression and anxiety



PA correlates very negatively with NA

Biological evidence shows that there are different parts of the brain responsible for positive and negative emotions

Positive system: ventral tegmental dopamine system

Negative system: amygdala


One possible resolution to the bipolar/unipolar debate?

Both arguments are correct:

Bipolar argument is correct insofar as our experience of emotion is bipolar

Unipolar argument is correct in that the actual operation of the emotion system in the brain is unipolar


The circumplex model

The circumplex model is a form of dimensional analysis:

Emotions can be distinguished by the extent to which the emotion is either positive or negative, and the extent to which physiological activation is present in the emotion.

Thus, emotions are reducible to two dimensions:



Russell (1980) was a proponent of the circumplex model.

Watson and colleagues (1999) have demonstrated that positive and negative affectivity on the circumplex model correspond with extraversion and neuroticism personality traits.


Lazarus: problems with categorization and representation

Lazarus criticized the dimensional approach for taking an emotion outside of its environmental/situational context. He preferred what he called a "categorical" approach, in which commonalities between emotions are ignored in favour of looking at individual specific emotions in isolation.

Lazarus says that emotions exist to describe our "fit" with our environment. He is particularly against the dimensional approach because he believes that the dimensions are not static.