Final Exam

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734 Terms



  • the drives (needs and wants) that propel us in specific directions

  • underlying causes are deeply biological

    • state we cannot consciously control

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Linking Motivation to Emotions

  • emotions describe specific biological states of feeling that govern our motives

  • motivation is more theoretical and used to explain why people are doing what they are doing

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Simple Motives

  • instincts

    • innate (unlearned) patterns of behavior that are common to members of a species

  • shaped by natural selection

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Birds - Simple Motives

  • intrinsically born to build nests and migrate south in the winter

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Drive Theory of Motivation

  • drives cause individuals to behave a certain way in order to satisfy needs

  • we are attempting to maintain a level of psychological homeostasis

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Hunger and Eating

  • the brain regulates hunger and energy metabolism

    • physical: belly growling, hunger pains

    • mental: hangry, only thing you can think about is food

  • hormones play a strong role

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  • hormone released by the digestive tract

  • tells the hypothalamus to increase hunger

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  • hormone released by adipose tissue (fat tissue)

  • tells the hypothalamus to reduce hunger

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  • issue with leptin production or processing can lead to obesity

    • always hungry

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Sexual Motivation

  • sexual desire (libido) largely influenced by sex hormones

    • neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine appear to play a role

  • males desire sex more frequently

  • females experience more variability in their sex drive

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Why do males have a larger sex drive

  • sperm producers can mate more in a shorter period of time

  • sperm is easier and faster to produce than eggs

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  • refers to the value of a goal or reward

    • greater incentive = greater motivation

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Arousal Theory of Motivation

  • physiological arousal drives an organism’s motivation

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  • activation of the sympathetic nervous system

    • results in physiological responses such as increased heart and respiration rates and psychological responses such as degree of alertness and awareness

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The Yerkes-Dodson Law

  • too much or too little arousal (nerves) is bad

    • have to be in the middle

    • being a little nervous directs our attention and makes us more focused

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Evidence for Arousal Theory

  • the need for stimulation

  • humans and other animals clearly have a need to be continuously stimulated

    • need could be explained by arousal theory

      • when animals aren’t at an optimal level of arousal they look for ways to reach that level of arousal

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Hedonic Motivation

  • notion that we are psychologically driven to seek pleasurable sensations and avoid negative ones

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Eudaimonic Motivation

  • states that we are psychologically driven to fulfil purpose and meaning

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

  • suggests that needs function within a hierarchy

    • one can only advance to the next level after lower basic needs are met

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5 stages of Maslow’s hierarchy

  1. physiological needs

  2. safety and security

  3. love and belonging

  4. self-esteem

  5. self-actualization

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Physiological Needs

  • breathing

  • food

  • water

  • shelter

  • clothing

  • sleep

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Safety and Security

  • health

  • employment

  • property

  • family

  • social ability

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Love and Belonging

  • friendship

  • family

  • intimacy

  • sense of connection

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  • confidence

  • achievement

  • respect of others

  • the need to be a unique individual

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  • morality

  • creativity

  • spontaneity

  • acceptance

  • experience purpose

  • meaning

  • inner potential

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Appraisal of Maslow’s Hierarchy

  • addressed an important question regarding how humans go about fulfilling complex psychological needs, despite little scientific evidence

  • evolutionary perspective

    • makes a lot of sense that humans would be hardwired to strive for purpose and meaning rather than only seeking short-term pleasure

  • adequate job of describing more complex needs (human motivation)

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The happy life

  • despite the criticisms of Maslow, many of the scientifically identified reasons for happiness correlates with Maslow’s ideas of happiness

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Affective Forecasting

  • ability to predict our own and others’ happiness

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Durability Bias

  • belief that both our good and our bad moods will last longer than they do

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Hedonic Treadmill

  • tendency for our moods to adapt to external circumstances

    • happiness varies over a lifetime

    • always returns to baseline

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How can we be more happy

  • focus on building quality social relationships

  • focus on working towards things you care about

  • reduce social media use

    • at least make mindful effort to identify how it might be affecting your mental health

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  • mental states or feelings associated with our evaluation of our experiences

  • several theories on what causes our emotions

    • lots of data explains how we experience them

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Characterizing Emotions

the circumplex model

  • valence

    • ranging from unpleasant to pleasant

    • describes if the emotion is promoting aversion or attracting

  • arousal

    • ranging from low activation to high activation

    • refers to physiological arousal of the nervous system

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Emotions as adaptations

  • six basic emotions (with evolutionary reasons)

    • discrete emotions (not necessarily true)

  • expression and characterization is universal across cultures

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6 Basic Emotions

  1. Surprise

  2. Happiness

  3. Fear

  4. Anger

  5. Sadness

  6. Disgust

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  • directs our attention towards important stimuli

    • loud

    • unexpected

    • scary

    • interesting

  • once our attention is directed, emotions specific to that stimulus usually follows

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  • move us toward beneficial things

  • short term

    • drive us towards things we like

  • long term

    • satisfaction of completing difficult goals that often involve sacrifice

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  • avoiding harm (activates flight response)

  • short term

    • drive us away from things we don’t like (can cause us harm)

  • long term (anxiety)

    • uncertainty about safety

    • uncertainty about how to achieve goals

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  • preparing to fight (activates fight response)

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  • energy conservation

  • recalibrate goals

  • like physical pain, emotional pain can help us learn to avoid doing the “wrong” things and assist in goal pursuit

  • we feel sad when…

    • we are sick

    • we are hungry

    • our goals are not working out

*evolutionary reason is not as intuitive

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  • avoiding sickness and disease

*evolutionary reason is not as intuitive

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Cognitive Theories of Emotion

  • James-Lange Theory

  • Cannon-Bard Theory

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James-Lange Theory

  • emotions result from our interpretations of our bodily reactions to stimuli

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Cannon-Bard Theory

  • an emotion-provoking event leads simultaneously to an emotional and bodily reaction

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  • driven by “instinctual” desires for resources, status, mates, etc.

    • the way we achieve them varies dramatically

    • neocortex can produce solutions to achieving these goals in unique and abstract ways

  • why what activates emotion is best understood at the level of the individual

  • we appraise (think), then feel, then think again

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Thinking Brain


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Emotional Brain

  • limbic system

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Survival Brain

  • basic/reptillian brain

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Facial Expression

  • communicates social information to others

  • eckman and collegues spent an impressive career characterizing emotions based on facial expressions, and analyzing the cross-cultural nature of these emotions, their reactions, and the ability to recognize them

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  • we can tell if a smile is forced or genuine based on activation of facial muscles

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Observable emotional responses

  • facial expression

  • posture

  • vocalizations

  • behavioral patterns

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  • particularly important in communicating social status

    • wolves submission to alpha wolf

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  • humans are capable of accurately identifying 24 kinds of emotion based on basic vocalizations, and this is mostly cross-cultural

    • sigh

    • gasp

    • cry

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Behavioral Patterns

  • laughing

  • crying

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  • high arousal response characterized by facial changes, contraction of rib muscles, short vocalizations

  • occurs in all cultures and emerges in early infancy

  • thought to occur in primates and some other mammals

  • mostly social (95% of laughing is with others)

    • way to find mutual interest

    • bonding

  • biological and adaptive (born with it)

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Physiology of laughter

  • cortisol levels go down

  • epinephrine levels go down

  • immune factors levels go up

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  • high arousal response characterized by vocalizations and tears

  • production of tears as an emotional response is unique to humans

    • other animals display similar patterns that serve a similar purpose (no tears)

  • present at birth and most common in infants

    • persists across all stages of life

    • associated with severe emotional distress and grief in adults

  • function of crying as infants is clear (communicating something they want/need, essential for survival)

    • do we only have it as a response as adults because it’s leftover

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Why do addictive drugs exist at all

  • the chemicals of naturally occurring psychoactive chemicals evolved to deter herbivores by acting as neurotoxins

  • in nature these are usually produced in quantities large enough to paralyze or kill small animals

    • quantities are small enough to have a minimal effect on larger vertebrates

  • concentrations continued to increase as insects adapted to survive the chemicals

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Monarch Butterflies

  • store the toxic alkaloids produced by milkweed and use it to poison their own predators

    • evolved complete immunity to the toxins of the plant they specialize in

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Evolution of THC in cannabis

  • before 1990

    • less than 2%

  • during 1990s

    • grew to 4%

  • between 1995 and 2015

    • increased by 212%

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Synthetics and Designer Drugs - Examples

  • spice

    • synthetic cannabinoid

  • fentanyl

    • synthetic opioid

  • most vapes

    • synthetic nicotine

  • MDMA

    • synthetic amphetamine

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Why do we like using some drugs

  • consists of the interacting mesolimbic and mesocortical systems

    • most important signaling molecule is dopamine

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Evolution of the reward system

  • reward system mediates “natural rewards”

    • positive feeling that helps animals learn and promotes behavior that leads to that reward again

  • this can have a function in a variety of contexts, such as parental care, foraging behavior and collective social behavior

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What initiates the reward system

  • the reward center was first characterized in the 1950s

    • found by stimulating the VTA using implanted electrodes in rats’ brains

    • stimulation engaged the mesolimbic system circuitry

  • rats would repeatedly press a lever to engage electrical stimulation of the reward system, even to the point of starvation

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Endogenous Opioids

  • neuropeptides released from the pituitary gland (produced inside the body)

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Endogenous Opioids - Endorphins

  • regulate emotion and the reward system by reducing pain and stress

  • released during activities such as eating, exercise, and sex

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Exogenous Opioids

  • originally derived from the opium poppy (produced outside the body)

  • bind to the mu-opioid receptor, having similar effects as endogenous opioids

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Exogenous Opioids - Examples

  • morphine (most common)

    • used to treat pain

  • heroin

  • oxycodone

  • hydrocodone

  • fentanyl

  • codeine

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General model for becoming addicted is

  • phase 1 - intoxication

  • phase 2 -craving

  • phase 3 - compulsive seeking

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Phase 1 - Intoxication

  • VTA → NAc pathway

    • increased dopamine signaling

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Phase 2 - Craving

  • baseline of dopamine lowered

  • amygdala and PFC activation lead to craving of substance that raised it in the first place

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Phase 3 - Compulsive Seeking

  • if “needs” are not met, the global recruitment of brain structures, such as PFC and the hippocampus lead to this

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Drug use and neurons

  • can cause long term and stable changes to the synapses of neurons in the reward system

  • drugs cause a production of endorphins so our body produces less of them naturally

    • explains why people feel so bad during withdrawl

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Impacts of Drugs

  • repeated use of most drugs that impact the reward system have increasing consequences in terms of increased cravings, dependencies, and many other unwanted effects

    • effects are manifested as withdrawal

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  • baseline amount of the neurotransmitters involved becomes so low

    • many other systems start to become disrupted

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  • rev up the CNS

    • increasing heart rate

    • increasing respiration

    • increasing blood pressure

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Stimulants - Examples

  • nicotine

  • cocaine and amphetamines

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  • stimulates VTA dopamine producing neurons

    • directly rewards us

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Cocaine and Amphetamines

  • block reuptake of dopamine

    • dopamine persists

  • stronger effect of dopamine (more reward)

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  • lower CNS activity

    • decreasing heart rate

    • decreasing respiration

    • decreasing blood pressure

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Depressants - Example

  • alcohol

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  • complicated and global

    • facilitates GABA neurotransmission (inhibition)

    • brain slows down

    • promotes release of dopamine

  • low doses

    • stimulant effect

  • high doses

    • strong depressant (eventually pass out)

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  • directly target reward system

    • reduce pain

    • induce sleep

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Narcotics - Examples

  • Opioids

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  • bind to mu-opioid receptors to inhibit GABA producing neurons

    • dopamine release in dopaminergic cells is enhanced

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aka hallucinogenic

  • produce dramatic alterations in perception, mood and thought

    • do not directly involve dopamine and the reward system, but can lead to cravings

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Substance use disorder

  • must have 2 or more criteria over a 12-month period

    • hazardous use

    • social/interpersonal problems related to use

    • neglect major roles to use

    • withdrawal

    • tolerance

    • used larger amounts/longer

    • repeated attempts to quit/control use

    • much time spent using

    • physical/psychological problems related to use

    • activities given up to use

    • craving

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why do we remain vulnerable to substance use disorders

  • 2 adaptive perspectives

  • 2 non-adaptive perspectives

  • whether or not our preference to indulge in certain substances is adaptive or not, our capacity to learn by making stronger associations between stimuli and how they make us feel is at the root of addictions

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2 Adaptive Perspectives

  1. reproductive benefits

  2. survival benefits

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2 Non-Adaptive Perspectives

  1. mismatch

  2. life history

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Reproductive Benefit Perspective

  • drug use may have enhanced the perception of status, control, and attractiveness of the user

  • increased confidence could have led to greater success in male-male competition and in attracting mates

    • reproductive benefit of pleasure from drugs

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Survival Perspective

  • plants that produced toxic chemicals were able to deter herbivores

    • also have potential medicinal benefits for larger animals that consumed them in moderate quantities

  • many alkaloids, such as nicotine have antiparasitic effects

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Life History Perspective

  • substance abuse is more likely in people that are prone to take risks

  • risk taking tends to vary in sex (higher in males) and age (higher in young adults)

    • young men are most at risk for substance abuse

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Mismatch Perspective

  • many psychoactive plant chemicals just happen to resemble neurotransmitters that activate reward systems without any gain in fitness

    • this was harmless for our ancestors because the concentration was lower and the access was limited

  • magnification of chemicals through artificial processes posses a much greater danger and higher risk for addiction

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Alcohol Preference and Abuse

  • clear universal preference for consumption of alcohol

    • likely part of our evolutionary past

  • like other drugs modern mismatches make the potential for abuse high

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3 Hypotheses for alcohol abuse

  1. social hypothesis

  2. sanitation hypothesis

  3. “drunken monkey” hypothesis

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Social Hypothesis

  • alcohol use was an important way for our ancestors to facilitate social bonds

  • intoxicating effects of alcohol could have led to a higher probability of reproductive events occuring

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Sanitation Hypothesis

  • weak beer and other fermented beverages may have been safer to drink than contaminated water

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The “drunken monkey” hypothesis

  • preference for alcohol is the result of a preference for foraging ripe

    • often slightly fermenting fruit

  • this hypothesis is supported by the large number of both vertebrates and invertebrates that consume fermented foods

    • they display a higher preference to consume alcohol

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What is consciousness

  • our subjective experience of the world, our bodies and our mental perspectives

    • sleep, drugs, and other experiences can produce altered states of consciousness

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