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lecture 1-3 notes - A Science of Emotions The scientific...

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A Science of Emotions The scientific study of emotions is fairly new Reason was thought to be what made us particularly human Emotions were seen as disruptive But research has flourished in the past 30 (or so) years A Science of Emotions? Emotions are inherently SUBJECTIVE How can one go about objectively study the subjective? Mistake to assume that there can be no objective criteria to subjective experience. o Example: color Not Just One Science * social psych * clinical psych * developmental psych * cognitive psych *neuroscience *evolutionary biology *philosophy WHAT IS AN EMOTION? HISTORY AND THEORY Emotion in the Western Tradition In the Western tradition, emotion was often defined and treated as the explicit opposite of reason. Depending on your view of emotion, this is either (a) philosophical ‘baggage’ that impedes understanding or (b) deep insight into the nature of emotion Plato’s Chariot two horses draw the chariot (of the personality), one of the horses is good, the other is not. The good horse represents spirit, is noble, well formed, handsome, and tending to behave magnificently. The other horse, representing the appetites, is crooked, lumbering, ill made……charioteer is symbolic of reason” Aristotle’ Rhetoric still adhered to non-rational view of emotion BUT emotions were the seat of character; not necessarily bad. Virtue was a product of emotional reactions pragmatic understanding of the causes and consequences of emotions Descartes’ Dualism Descartes’ description of emotions were as “animal spirits” Actually a bridge between body and soul—a G=d given source of motivation that allows our bodies to survive Nonetheless, contrary to reason Pineal gland as the link between mind and body Immanuel Kant Interest in emotion came from his interest in human morality Viewed emotions as non-moral at best and disruptive and destructive to reasoned morality at worst Rationalist tradition very influential in philosophy A More Scientific Treatment.. for a budding science of psychology, a more rigorous treatment of emotion was necessary first major figures to give serious treatment to emotions and to provide foundation for future research: a. Charles Darwin b. William James c. Walter Cannon William James Bodily/Feeling theory of emotion (also known as James/Lange theory) Emotions ARE bodily states Perception of external event bodily changes Bodily changes are observed by the individual as the emotion See a bear—run, get aroused, THEN notice the emotion
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Charles Darwin originator of functional approach to emotions “the expression of emotion in man and animals” emotions evolved to serve a purpose many emotions vestigial but do serve “signaling” function Walter Cannon refutation of William James’ bodily theory of emotions striking theory—emotions are in THE BRAIN bodily feedback not necessary for emotions e.g. Quadriplegic patients?
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