Psych: Conceptualizing Emotions

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Psych 1, 2011

Three ways Emotions can be measured:

1) self-reports
2) physiological measures (brain activity, heart rate, eye dilation, perspiration)
3) behavioral observations

Four components of emotions

Cognitive component, behavioral component, arousal, and feelings

Folk Psychology explanation VS. the James-Lange Theory of Emotion

-Folk Psychology explanation: first, you experience the stimulus, then you generate emotion, then you respond.
-James-Lange Theory of Emotion: first you experience a stimulus, you react, then you generate your emotion

-difference: folk explanation that you react a certain way because you feel a certain emotion. james-lange claims that you react first then you generate emotion based on your reaction.

Folk Psychology explanation example

you see a bear (stimulus), you feel fear (generate emotion), then you run (you react)

James-Lange Theory of Emotion example

you see a bear (stimulus), you run (you react), then you feel fear (you generate emotion)

Evidences in favor and Evidences against James-Lange Theory of Emotion

-Evidence in favor: experience of bodily response (run from bear) can heighten emotional response ("fear")
-Evidence against: patients with certain spinal cord injuries report that they can feel, but their bodies don't experience any feedback. (feeling attraction, but not aroused)

Revised James Theory

You experience stimulus, you recognize the situation (cerebral cortex), then you react (physiological reactions), then you feel emotions.

Revised James Theory example

you see a bear (stimulus), you perceived danger (cerebral cortex), you run (physiological reactions), then you feel "fear" (generate emotion).

The Cannon-Baird Theory of Emotion

You simultaneously experience an emotion and a physiological response.
-one stimulus generate BOTH emotions and physiological reactions at the SAME TIME.
-as opposed to Folk theory where you feel emotion then respond, and opposed to James Lange theory (including the revised version) where you react first before generating an emotion.

The Schacter-Singer Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

-Emotions arise from a multi-part process.
-determine emotions from recognition of situation AND our behavioral reactions.
-determined the strength of emotions from our physiological reactions (automatic responses, which derived from cognitive state and experience)
-emphasized cognitive mechanism: interpretation of both physiological and perceptual info w/ respect to existing beliefs and memory content

-Stimulus --> environmental cues, physiological (automatic) reactions, behavioral reactions --> cerebral cortex (memory) --> emotions

According to Schacter-Singer Two-Factor Theory of Emotion, how does an individual interpret physiological responses?

individual interpret physiological responses in terms of stimuli, context, cognitive state, and experience.

According to Schacter-Singer Theory, emotional experience depends upon__?

emotional experience depends upon cognitive interpretation (state, experience, context)

Specific criteria: must be met for an emotion to be "basic"

that basic emotion
-should be similar across cultures (universal)
-should have its own biological signature (facial expression)
-should emerge early in life (before one has had much experience)

Six "basic emotions"

Joy, surprise, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust

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