Fall_2006_emotional_processes

Fall_2006_emotional_processes - Introduction to Emotional...

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Introduction to Emotional Processes What IS Emotion? *Emotions are complex reactions that engage our bodies and minds at multiple levels *Reactions include: * 1) subjective mental states *feelings and cognitive appraisals of anger, happiness, despair, love, etc; *2) impulses to act and corresponding behavior *To attack, flee, embrace, etc; *3) profound bodily changes *ANS Sympathetic activity; *PNS skeleto-muscular responses--especially facial; *CNS activation of multiple NT pathways. *The CNS NT pathways include neural projections to: *sensory/perceptual areas of the limbic system * multiple cortical regions of emotional-perceptual processing * areas of brainstem regulating heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, arousal and activation * areas of cerebellum regulating automatic motor responses from sensory projections from limbic system *Some bodily changes prepare for and sustain coping activities (e.g., aggression, sexual display) *Other bodily changes serve communication function (posture, gesture, facial expressions) about what we are feeling or want others to believe we are feeling *Hence, emotional reactions have several interrelated properties, expressed in the following graphic:
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A Psychological Model of Emotion: Try Identifying The Emotional Expressions Displayed in Next 6 slides: Are there “universal”, i.e., cross-culturally evident, emotions? *Evidence is strong that the above 6 emotions ( happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, surprise ) are recognized as “universal”, as existing across cultures and relatively independently of cultural contexts of expression Some of the Evidence: *Actors posed in photos to express emotions. Photos shown to members of literate (Swedes, Japanese, Kenyans) and pre-literate (isolated New Guinea tribe) cultures, persons asked to identify the emotions being portrayed *Results: Judgments of portrayed emotions were essentially similar across cultures
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*New Guinea tribesmen asked to portray emotions appropriate to various simple situations ( try it! J ): *“ Your friend has come and you are happy J *“ Your child has died L * “You are angry and about to fight” * “You see a dead pig that has been lying there for a long time” *Their pictures were taken while portraying the emotion *Photos were shown to American college students, whose judgments closely matched the emotions the tribesmen tried to convey *Children born blind cry, smile, and laugh under essentially the same conditions that elicit these reactions in sighted children *Much the same is true of children born both blind and deaf * Hence, considerable evidence exists that a set of core, fundamental, “universal” emotions exist which convey social information. Emotions communicate our inner states to others, they express what we are experiencing and what we
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