Aug3_09 - 8/03/09 Emotion Psych 1 Principles of Psychology...

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Psych 1 Principles of Psychology Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas 8/03/09 Emotion “..emotions are superordinate motivational programs that coordinate various responses to solve specific adaptive problems, including foraging for food, maintaining cooperative relations with members of one’s group, choosing a mate, avoiding predators, and so forth. .” – standard evolutionary psychology definition “..emotions are efficient organizing mechanisms for coordinating disparate physiological, behavioral, and cognitive systems to enable the organism to adapt to changing environmental demands.” – Robert Levenson, director of the Institute of Personality and Social Psychology at UC Berkeley Emotion “A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, reverence, hate and love” - dictionary.com The components of emotions : 1. A mental state with a valenced (positive or negative) quality: measured via 2. Often associated with a bodily reaction: measured physiologically. 3. Often associated with outward expressive signs: measured behaviorally. Emotion Emotion Historically, there are 4 prevailing theories about emotion I. The Folk Psychology explanation: the average laypersons subjective description of how emotions work. • You perceive a stimulus, you experience the feeling of an emotion, then you respond physiologically, then behave appropriately I.e. You see a bear, feel scared, then get fast heartbeat, sweating (sympathetic arousal) and then you run because you are afraid. II. The James-Lange Theory of Emotion : works opposite of the folk idea. • Stimulus perception causes a direct physiological response. Your perception of your own internal response gives rise to your emotional feeling and emotion driven behavior. • In the process of perceiving a bear, your brain interprets ‘danger’ and sends a direct message to increase sympathetic arousal. When you perceive these physiological changes in your own body, you experience the feeling of ‘fear’ and attribute its cause to the bear. I.e. You feel your heart rate increase just after you’ve looked at the bear, this tells you to be afraid of the bear, you feel afraid and then run away. Emotion Evidence for/against the James-Lange Theory of Emotion For: case studies of pure autonomic failure (no sympathetic/parasympathetic regulation by the autonomic nervous system): less intense emotional feeling. For: experimental studies facial/bodily positioning: bodily position produces greater subjective feeling. Against: case studies of upper spinal cord damage (no
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2010 for the course PSYCH 1 taught by Professor Shimamura during the Summer '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Aug3_09 - 8/03/09 Emotion Psych 1 Principles of Psychology...

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