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Summary of the Emotion unit in Stage 1 Psychology.

Gerald Carey

on 25 October 2015

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Transcript of Emotion

Research suggest five to nine clear emotions
Personal experience that involves a mixture of physiological responses (e.g. sweating),
subjective feelings
(e.g. feeling anxious) and expressive behaviour (e.g. tapping feet).
Theories of Emotion
Many theories of emotion
some have a genetic basis
others a general biological basis
others still focus on each individual's interpretation of their experiences.
No one theory has overwhelming support.
Plutchik's Theory
Basic set of emotions that all people experience
Each emotion has evolved to help us survive
Schachter's Theory
Two factors work together when we experience emotions
Physiological Response
Changes in our bodies that occur when we experience an emotion.
Role of the autonomous nervous system
Performances in most tasks are better when we are moderately 'emotionally' aroused.
Emotions identified!
Subjective Feeling
Inner personal experience of an emotion.
Expressive Behaviour
Outward observable display of emotion e.g. frowns, smiles
Role of the brain
Some very tentative research suggests that, in comparison to the left side, the right side of the brain:
has more control over emotion
is dominant in emotional expressions
is dominant in perception of emotion in others
is important in primary emotions such as fear.
Sadness, fear, anger, disgust, happiness were the most common but there is lots of disagreement about this.
subjective feelings
All people experience the same basic emotions BUT we each experience them differently.
Various spectra of emotions
How do we quantitatively measure subjective feeling?
You can't at this stage!
It can be done qualitatively through self-reporting
Or videoing yourself
Start at 12:48 mark
Problems: Is this self-reporting process accurate?
People lie/hide information
Self-reporting cannot give all the information
expressive behaviour
Can you pick the emotions?
Some expressions are intentional and some are accidental
The eyes are very important
Posture can also be part of the display
How people talk can also reveal emotions
Start at about 18 minutes in
Some expressions are universal - they can be identified in different cultures
Start at about half way
Also seen with deaf children
Cultures have 'display rules' - patterns of emotional expression considered acceptable with a culture
Sticking out your tongue in America usually signifies disgust, where as in China it can express surprise.
A neat summary
What parts of the body are active when experiencing different emotions
Different emotions may produce slightly different physiological responses e.g. heart rates, hormones secreted, changes in temperature of certain parts of the body
Most changes occur without us being aware of them e.g. changes in blood sugar level, muscle tension in shoulders
Sympathetic nervous system increases activity of nerves, glands and muscles; increases in energy and is important in emergencies or when danger lurks.
Para sympathetic nervous system calms us down and returns systems back to 'normal'.
For example: Performance in an exam can be
disastrous if we are too uptight
you might forget the date of the exam if you are too laid back
The Yerkes-Dodson Law
What is well know, is that the part of the brain that has a lot of responsibility for processing emotions (especially fear) is the
lymbic system
and particularly the
It seems particularly important in recognising situations and facial expressions that are potential dangerous...mostly
However, please note. The notion that some people are 'left-brained' and some are 'right-brained' is a myth.
Measuring Physiological changes
The Polygraph: measures heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and galvanic skin response (GSR).
One problem is that changes to these aspects of physiology e.g. heart rate, occur in a number of situations, not only if you are lying.
It also possible to cheat the polygraph.
It measures these features well - but that is all. There is no scientific evidence that it can detect if someone is lying...despite what Hollywood wants...
Each person has a basic set of eight emotions (see wheel)
All other emotions are blends of these eight basics.
For example, awe is a combination of
Each emotion can vary in intensity like colours. For example:
Rage starts as
, progresses to
and then
Physiological arousal
Cognitive processes
Stimulus from the environment
How we feel depends on:
bodily change e.g. racing heart
determines what emotion we feel...
how we react
Not all responses are the same for each emotion.
We do have the ability to cognitively control our reactions to control the effect of the physiological response.
e.g. archnophobia can sometimes be cured with gradual exposure to spiders over time.
in German!
Which triggers
Our interpretation
physiological responses
In Japanese culture it is known that burping after a meal shows politeness and enjoyment of the food, but in American culture, after burping, you must say "excuse me" as to be ashamed for burping.
Slurping your soup in America is viewed as socially unacceptable, while in Japan and Hong Kong it is seen as a sign of approval of the cook and appreciation of the food.
This study suggest that young people are getting worse at reading emotions.
Can emojis be used to accurately express emotion?
Full transcript