Introduction to Emotion
Emotion: Arousal, Behavior, and Cognition
LOQ: How do arousal, expressive behavior, and cognition interact in emotion?
Emotions are a mix of
Historical Emotion Theories
James-Lange Theory: Arousal Comes Before Emotion
William James, this commonsense view of emotion had things backwards
We feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble
Believed that emotions result from attention to our bodily activity
This theory was also proposed by Carl Lange
James-Lange Theory: the theory that our experience of emotion is our awareness of our physiological responses to an emotion-arousing stimulus.
Cannon-Bard Theory: Arousal and Emotion Occur Simultaneously
Walter Cannon disagreed with the James-Lange theory
Cannon and Philip Bard concluded that our bodily responses and experienced emotions occur separately but simultaneously
The emotion-triggering stimulus traveled to my sympathetic nervous system, causing my body’s arousal
Cannon-Bard Theory: the theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers (1) physiological responses and (2) the subjective experience of emotion.
Some researchers to view feelings as “mostly shadows” of our bodily responses and behaviors
Schachter-Singer Two-Factor Theory: Arousal + Label = Emotion
LOQ: To experience emotions, must we consciously interpret and label them?
Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer showed that how we appraise our experiences also matters
Our physical reactions and our thoughts (perceptions, memories, and interpretations) together create emotion
Emotional experience requires a conscious interpretation of arousal
This was their two-factor theory
Schachter and Singer injected college men with the hormone epinephrine to explore the spillover effect
Two-Factor Theory: the Schachter-Singer theory that to experience emotion one must (1) be physically aroused and (2) cognitively label the arousal.
Zajonc, LeDoux, and Lazarus: Does Cognition Always Precede Emotion?
Robert Zajonc didn’t think we always interpreted our arousal before we can experience the emotion
Neuroscientists are charting the neural pathways of emotions
emotional responses can follow two different brain pathways
Complex feelings travel on the “high road” and would be sent through the cortex and analyzed and labled before the response is sent
Joseph LeDoux called the other part the “low-road”: neural shortcut that bypasses the cortex and allows the emotional response before our intellect stops it and we develop a conscious feeling of fear occurs as we become aware of the danger we have deteced
Amygdala sends more neural projections up to the cortex than it receives back, which makes it easier for our feelings to hijack our thinking than for our thinking to rule our feelings
Richard Lazarus believed that our brain processes vast amounts of information without our conscious awareness, and that some emotional responses do not require conscious thinking
Thought most of our emotional life operates via the automatic, speedy low road
Said that emotions arise when we appraise an event as harmless or dangerous
Together, automatic emotion and conscious thinking weave the fabric of our emotional lives
Emotions and the Autonomic Nervous System
LOQ: What is the link between emotional arousal and the autonomic nervous system?
During a crisis the sympathetic division of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) mobilizes your body for action
Once the crisis is over, the parasympathetic division of your ANS gradually calms your body, as stress hormones slowly leave your bloodstream
The Physiology of Emotions
LOQ: Do different emotions activate different physiological and brain-pattern responses?
Different emotions can share common biological signatures
A single brain region can also serve as the seat of seemingly different emotion
our varying emotions feel different to us, and they often look different to others
Some of our emotions also differ in their brain circuits
When you experience negative emotions such as disgust, your right prefrontal cortex tends to be more active than the left
Positive moods tend to trigger more left frontal lobe activity. People with positive personalities have also shown more activity in the left frontal lobe than in the right
We can’t easily see differences in emotions from tracking heart rate, breathing, and perspiration. But facial expressions and brain activity can vary with the emotion
Detecting Emotion in Others
LOQ: How do we communicate nonverbally?
Our brain is an amazing detector of subtle expressions, helping most of us read nonverbal cues well
also excel at detecting nonverbal threats
Hard-to-control facial muscles can reveal emotions you may be trying to conceal
we find it difficult to discern deceit
Some of us more than others are sensitive to the physical cues of various emotions
Gestures, facial expressions, and voice tones, which are absent in written communication, convey important information
Gender, Emotion, and Nonverbal Behavior
LOQ: How do the genders differ in their ability to communicate nonverbally?
Women’s skill at decoding others’ emotions may also contribute to their greater emotional responsiveness and expressiveness
women to express more complex emotions: “It will be bittersweet; I’ll feel both happy and sad.”
More likely to express empathy
Tend to experience emotional events
Perception of women’s emotionality also feeds—and is fed by— people’s attributing women’s emotionality to their disposition and men’s to their circumstances
Cultural and Emotional Expression
LOQ: How are gestures and facial expressions understood within and across cultures?
The meaning of gestures varies with the culture
Facial expressions do convey some nonverbal accents that provide clues to one’s culture
There is no culture where people frown when they are happy.
People blind from birth spontaneously exhibit the common facial expressions associated with such emotions as joy, sadness, fear, and anger
facial muscles speak a universal language
Their shared expressions helped them survive
We have adapted to interpret faces in particular contexts
Facial language differs in how much emotion they express
The Effects of Facial Expressions
LOQ: How do our facial expressions influence our feelings?
Expressions not only communicate emotion, they also amplify and regulate it
Other researchers have observed a similar behavior feedback effect
Facial Feedback Effect: the tendency of facial muscle states to trigger corresponding feelings such as fear, anger, or happiness.
Behavior Feedback Effect: the tendency of behavior to influence our own and others’ thoughts, feelings, and actions.
LOQ: What are some of the basic emotions?
Carroll Izard isolated 10 basic emotions (joy, interest-excitement, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shame, and guilt), most present in infancy
Believed that pride and love are also basic emotions
Argued that other emotions are combinations of these 10, with love, for example, being a mixture of joy and interest-excitement.
LOQ: What are the causes and consequences of anger?
Individualist cultures do encourage people to vent their rage
People who keenly sense their interdependence see anger as a threat to group harmony
The Western vent-your-anger advice presumes that aggressive action or fantasy enables emotional release, or catharsis
Experimenters report that sometimes when people retaliate against a provoker, they may calm down if they direct their counterattack toward the provoker, their retaliation seems justifiable, and their target is not intimidating
Expressing anger can be temporarily calming if it does not leave us feeling guilty or anxious.
catharsis usually fails to cleanse our rage
There are a few ways you can manage anger:
Wait. Doing so will reduce your physiological arousal. “What goes up must come down,” noted Carol Tavris
Find a healthy distraction or support. Calm yourself by exercising, playing an instrument, or talking things through with a friend. Brain scans show that ruminating inwardly about why you are angry serves only to increase amygdala blood flow
Distance yourself. Try to move away from the situation mentally, as if you are watching it unfold from a distance or the future. Self-distancing reduces rumination, anger, and aggression
Anger that expresses a grievance in ways that promote reconciliation rather than retaliation can benefit a relationship
Catharsis: in psychology, the idea that “releasing” aggressive energy (through action or fantasy) relieves aggressive urges.
LOQ: What is the feel-good, do-good phenomenon, and what is the focus of positive psychology research?
People aspire to, and wish one another, health and happiness. And for good reason.
Our state of happiness or unhappiness colors everything
Happy people look at the world as safer an are drawn toward emotionally positive information
When we are happy, our relationships, self-image, and hopes for the future also seem more promising.
Moods matter. When you are gloomy, life as a whole seems depressing and meaningless—and you think more skeptically and attend more critically to your surrounding
Happiness doesn’t just feel good, it does good
Researchers did a study where people experience such as recalling a happy event has made people more likely to give money, pick up someone’s dropped papers, volunteer time, and do other good deeds
Psychologists call this the feel-good, do-good phenomenon
This is also true for the opposite: doing good promotes good feeling
Feel-Good, Do-Good Phenomenon: people’s tendency to be helpful when in a good mood.
The humanistic psychologists were interested in advancing human fulfillment in the 1960s
The second pillar is positive character
It focuses on exploring and enhancing creativity, courage, compassion, integrity, self-control, leadership, wisdom, and spirituality.
The thor pillar is positive groups, communities, and cultures
Combing the satisfaction from the past and happiness from the present and optimistic outlooks define positive well-being; psychology’s first pillar
Positive Psychology: the scientific study of human flourishing, with the goals of discovering and promoting strengths and virtues that help individuals and communities to thrive.
Subjective Well-Being: self-perceived happiness or satisfaction with life. Used along with measures of objective well-being (for example, physical and economic indicators) to evaluate people’s quality of life.
The Short Life of Emotional Ups and Downs
LOQ: How do time, wealth, adaptation, and comparison affect our happiness levels?
Adam Kramer did a study where he tracked the frequency of positive and negative emotion words by day of the week
Emotional ups and downs tend to balance out, even over the course of the day.
We overestimate the duration of our emotions and underestimate our resiliency and capacity to adapt.
Wealth and Well-Being
Money does buy happiness, up to a point, especially for people during their midlife working year
Two Psychological Phenomena: Adaptation and Comparison
Happiness is Relative to Our Own Experience
The adaptation-level phenomenon describes our tendency to judge various stimuli in comparison with our past experiences
Adaptation-Level Phenomenon: our tendency to form judgments (of sounds, of lights, of income) relative to a neutral level defined by our prior experience.
Happiness is Relative to Others’ Success
We always compare ourselves to others
When expectations soar above attainments, we feel disappointed.
Inequality in Western countries has increased
Places with great inequality have higher crime rates, obesity, anxiety, and drug use, and lower life expectancy
Relative Deprivation: the perception that one is worse off relative to those with whom one compares oneself
What Predicts Our Happiness Levels?
LOQ: What predicts happiness, and how can we be happier?
Genes matter in happiness
Stress and Illness
Stress: Some Basic Concepts
LOQ: How does our appraisal of an event affect our stress reaction, and what are the three main types of stressors?
Stress is the process of appraising and responding to a threatening or challenging event
It arises less from events themselves than from how we appraise them
Momentary stress can mobilize the immune system for fending off infections and healing wounds
extreme or prolonged stress can harm us
Behavioral medicine research provides a reminder of one of contemporary psychology’s overriding themes
Stress: the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging.
Stressors—Things That Push Our Buttons
Catastrophes are unpredictable large-scale event
Significant Life Changes
Some psychologists study the health effects of life changes by following people over time
Daily Hassles and Social Stress
Stress also comes from daily hassles
Some people can handle things small stress well, others cannot
These stressors can add up and take a toll on health and well-being
The Stress Response System
LOQ: How do we respond and adapt to stress?
Psychologists have identified an additional stress response system
Hans Selye researched animals’ reactions to various stressors
He proposed that the body’s adaptive response to stress is so general that, like a burglar alarm, it sounds, no matter what intrude
Phase 1, you have an alarm reaction, as your sympathetic nervous system is suddenly activated. Your heart rate zooms. With your resources mobilized, you are now ready to fight back.
Phase 2, resistance, your temperature, blood pressure, and respiration remain high. Your adrenal glands pump hormones into your bloodstream. As time passes, with no relief from stress, your body’s reserves begin to dwindle
Phase 3, exhaustion. With exhaustion, you become more vulnerable to illness or even, in extreme cases, collapse and death.
Seley’s basic idea was that : Although the human body copes well with temporary stress, prolonged stress can damage it
There are other ways we respond to stress
One response is to withdraw. This is common after a loved one’s death. We pull back and conserve energy and become paralyzed with fear
Another is to give and receive support. This is often seen in women. This is called the tend-and-befriend response
General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS): Selye’s concept of the body’s adaptive response to stress in three phases—alarm, resistance, exhaustion.
Tend and Befriend: under stress, people (especially women) often provide support to others (tend) and bond with and seek support from others (befriend).
Stress and Vulnerability to Disease
LOQ: How does stress make us more vulnerable to disease?
Psychologists and physicians study how stress influences health and illness created the interdisciplinary field of behavioral medicine
There are Four types of cells are active in these search-and-destroy missions:
B lymphocytes, which release antibodies that fight bacterial infections
T lymphocytes, which attack cancer cells, viruses, and foreign substances
macrophage cells (“big eaters”), which identify, pursue, and ingest harmful invaders and worn-out cells
natural killer cells (NK cells), which attack diseased cells (such as those infected by viruses or cancer)
When your immune system doesn’t function properly, it can go in two directions:
It can respond too strongly and may attack the body’s own tissues, causing an allergic reaction or a self-attacking disease, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, or some forms of arthritis
It can also underreact and may allow a bacterial infection to flare, a dormant virus to erupt, or cancer cells to multiply
Human immune systems react similarly
Surgical wounds heal more slowly in stressed people. In one experiment, dental students received punch wounds
Stressed people are more vulnerable to colds. Major life stress increases the risk of a respiratory infection
Stress can hasten the course of disease. As its name tells us, AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is an immune disorder, caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Health Psychology: a subfield of psychology that provides psychology’s contribution to behavioral medicine.
Psychoneuroimmunology: the study of how psychological, neural, and endocrine processes together affect the immune system and resulting health.
Stress and Cancer
Stress does not create cancer cells
Stress and Heart Disease
LOQ: Why are some of us more prone than others to coronary heart disease?
Stress and personality also play a big role in heart disease
Coronary Heart Disease: the clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle; the leading cause of death in many developed countries
The Effects of Personality, Pessimism, and Depression
Meyer Friedman, Ray Rosenman, and their colleagues tested the idea that stress increases vulnerability to heart disease
They measured the blood cholesterol level and clotting speed of 40 U.S. male tax accountants at different times of year
For these men, stress predicted heart attack risk
Some other researches started a longitudinal study
Type A: Friedman and Rosenman’s term for competitive, hard-driving, impatient, verbally aggressive, and anger-prone people.
Type B: Friedman and Rosenman’s term for easygoing, relaxed people.
Stress and Inflammation
Depressed people tend to smoke more and exercise less
Stress can affect our health
Health and Coping
Coping With Stress
LOQ: In what two ways do people try to alleviate stress?
We need to cope with the stress in our lives
Coping: alleviating stress using emotional, cognitive, or behavioral methods.
Problem-Focused Coping: attempting to alleviate stress directly—by changing the stressor or the way we interact with that stressor.
Emotion-Focused Coping: attempting to alleviate stress by avoiding or ignoring a stressor and attending to emotional needs related to our stress reaction
Perceived Loss of Control
LOQ: How does a perceived lack of control affect health?
We may feel helpless, hopeless, and depressed after experiencing a series of bad events beyond our personal control
Personal Control: our sense of controlling our environment rather than feeling helpless.
Learned Helplessness: the hopelessness and passive resignation an animal or person learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events.
Internal Versus External Locus of Control
Julian Rotter called an external locus of control, the perception that chance or outside forces control their fate
External Locus of Control: the perception that chance or outside forces beyond our personal control determine our fate.
Internal Locus of Control: the perception that we control our own fate.
LOQ: Why is self-control important, and can our self-control be depleted?
When we have a sense of personal control over our lives, we are more likely to develop self-control
Researchers disagree about the factors that deplete self-control. Selfcontrol varies over time
It is like a muscle, it tends to weaken after use, recover after rest, and grow stronger with exercise
Explanatory Style: Optimism Versus Pessimism
LOQ: How does an optimistic outlook affect health and longevity?
Consider the consistency and startling magnitude of the optimism and positive emotions factor in several other studies:
When one research team followed 70,021 nurses over time, they discovered that those scoring in the top quarter on optimism were nearly 30 percent less likely to have died than those scoring in the bottom 25 percent (Kim et al., 2017). Even greater optimism longevity differences have been found in studies of Finnish men and American Vietnam-era veterans
A famous study followed up on 180 Catholic nuns who had written brief autobiographies at about 22 years of age and had thereafter lived similar lifestyles. Those who had expressed happiness, love, and other positive feelings in their autobiographies lived an average 7 years longer than their more dour counterparts (Danner et al., 2001). By age 80, some 54 percent of those expressing few positive emotions had died, as had only 24 percent of the most positive spirited.
Optimists not only live long lives, but they maintain a positive view as they approach the end of their lives. One study followed more than 68,000 American women, ages 50 to 79 years, for nearly two decades. As death grew nearer, the optimistic women tended to feel more life satisfaction than did the pessimistic women.
Optimisms runs in families
LOQ: How does social support promote good health?
Social support promotes both happiness and health
Social support calms us and reduces blood pressure and stress hormones
Have a sense of control develops more optimistic thinking
LOQ: How effective is aerobic exercise as a way to manage stress and improve well-being?
Aerobic exercise is sustained, oxygen-consuming, exertion—such as jogging, swimming, or biking—that increases heart and lung fitness
moderate exercise adds to your quantity and quality of life, with more energy, better mood, and stronger relationship
Also helps fight heart disease
A sense of accomplishment and improved physique and body image that often accompany a successful exercise routine may enhance one’s self-image, leading to a better emotional stat
Aerobic Exercise: sustained exercise that increases heart and lung fitness; also helps alleviate depression and anxiety.
Relaxation and Meditation
LOQ: In what ways might relaxation and meditation influence stress and health?
Simple methods of relaxation, which require no expensive equipment, produce many of the results biofeedback once promised
Over 60 studies have found that relaxation procedures can also help alleviate headaches, hypertension, anxiety, and insomnia
Numerous studies have confirmed the psychological benefits of different types of meditation
These types include mindfulness meditation, which today has found a new home in stress management programs
Practicing mindfulness may lessen anxiety and depression
Correlational and experimental studies offer three explanations. Mindfulness:
strengthens connections among regions in our brain. The affected regions are those associated with focusing our attention, processing what we see and hear, and being reflective and aware
activates brain regions associated with more reflective awareness. When labeling emotions, mindful people show less activation in the amygdala which aids emotion regulation
calms brain activation in emotional situations. This lower activation was clear in one study in which participants watched two movies
Mindfulness Meditation: a reflective practice in which people attend to current experiences in a nonjudgmental and accepting manner.
Faith Communities and Health
LOQ: What is the faith factor, and what are some possible explanations for the link between faith and health?
Research points to three possible explanations for the religiosity longevity correlation
Healthy behaviors: Religion promotes self-control. This helps explain why religiously active people tend to smoke and drink much less and to have healthier lifestyles
Social support: Could social support explain the faith factor. Faith is often a communal experience. To belong to a faith community is to participate in a support network.
Positive emotions: Even after controlling for social support, gender, unhealthy behaviors, and pre-existing health problems, the mortality studies have found that religiously engaged people tend to live longer