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Having an emotion is "easy," but...

describing it is hard

Multidimensional Scaling

Unique map that allows every emotional experience to be precisely the right "distance" from every other: dimension of arousal, dimension of valence (feeling)

Any definition of emotion must include two things:

1. Emotional experiences are always good or bad. 2.These experiences are associated with characteristic levels of bodily arousal.


A positive or negative experience that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity. How are emotional experience and physiological activity related?

3 main theories of emotional experience:

James-Lange, Cannon-Bard, Two-factor

James-Lange theory of emotion

Stimuli trigger activity in the autonomic nervous system, which produces an emotional experience in the brain. see the bear, autonomic activity, experience. Different emotions are different experiences of different patterns of bodily activity.

Cannon-Bard theory of emotion

Stimuli simultaneously trigger activity in the autonomic nervous system and emotional experience in the brain. See the bear, autonomic activity/experience fear. Cannon argued weren't enough unique patterns of autonomic activity to account for all the unique emotional experiences.

Two-factor theory of emotion

Schacter-Singer. See the bear, autonomic activity, experience fear based on interpretation given what's in the environment. People can have the same bodily response to all emotional stimuli, but they interpret that response differently on different occasions.

Kluver-Bucy Syndrome

Monkeys whose temporal lobes had been removed would: eat just about anything, and have sex with just about anyone/anything. had a lack of fear-calm when handled/exposed to snakes.

The emotional brain

temporal lobe syndrome, damage to the limbic system, amygdala

Amygdala, key role in production of emotion

appraisal-is that a stick or a snake, fast pathway (thalamus-amygdala), slow pathway (thalamus-cortex-amygdala). Bilateral amygdala damage-no effect on recognition of happiness, sadness, and surprise. Trouble recognizing anger, disgust, and fear.

Fast/Slow pathways of fear

the cortex is slowly using information to conduct a full-scale investigation of the stimulus. (deciding snake/stick)


received information directly from the thalamus. Needs to make one simple decision "Is this bad for me?" If the amygdala answers yes, initiates neural process that activate sympathetic nervous system in preparation for flight or fight.

Bilateral amygdala damage

anger, disgust, and fear not recognized

Emotion Regulation

Use of cognitive and strategies to influence one's emotional experience. typically to turn negative into positive. may sometimes need to "cheer down"


Strategy that involves changing one's emotional experience by changing the meaning of the emotion-eliciting stimulus. thinking can change feeling. Crying can be either happy or sad.

Emotional Expression

emotional states influence the way we talk (intonation, inflection, loudness & duration), listeners can infer a speaker's emotional state with better-than-chance accuracy. Can also infer emotional states from how someone walks and facial expressions.

Affective forecasting

not too good at predicting our emotional reactions to future events.

Communicative Expression. Universality hypothesis

Emotional expressions have same meaning for everyone. Cross cultural research supports this. Congenitally blind persons make same expressions as others.

Facial feedback-pens

People who hold a pen in their teeth feel happier than those who hold a pen in their lips. Holding a pen in the teeth contracts the zygomatic major muscles of the face in the same way a smile does.

Deceptive Expression

Our attempts to obey our culture's display rules are sometimes betrayed by incomplete control of facial muscles.

Four sets of features that allow careful observer to tell whether our emotional expression is sincere

morphology, symmetry, duration, temporal patterning


certain facial muscles tend to resist conscious control. Reliable muscles.


sincere expressions are a bit more symmetrical than insincere


sincere expressions tend to last between a half second and 5 seconds. Any less-probably insincere.

Temporal Patterning

Sincere expressions appear and disappear smoothly over a few seconds. Insincere expressions tend to have more abrupt onsets and offsets.

Deceptive Expression

humans are generally not that good at detecting when others are lying. Studies look at accuracy based on profession-CSI and clinicians best, college students and mixed law enforcement officers worst.


measures physiological changes associated with stress. High false positive rate.

Blood flow in the brain

some brain areas are more active when people lie than when they tell the truth.


some areas of the brain are more active when people tell lies. Some are more active when people tell the truth.


the purpose or cause of an action

function of emotion

we use mood to make judgements

Hedonic principle

people are motivated to experience pleasure and avoid pain

Capgras Syndrome

patients believe one or more of family members are imposters. Damage to temporal lobe connections and limbic system. Faces are familiar but disconnected from familial "warmth"


the tendency for a system to take action to keep itself in a particular


an internal state generated by departures from physiological optimality

Clark Hull-Drive Theory

People (and animals) engage in behaviors that satisfy biological needs.

All mammals experience

sex drives and hunger drives

Arguments against Clark Hull's drive theory

why do people stay up all night studying for an exam? Why do people have dessert after Thanksgiving dinner?

Maslow's Hierarchy of motivation

need for self-actualization, esteem needs, belongingness and love needs, safety and security needs, physiological needs.

Body needs energy

sends orexigenic signal. Ghrelin-produced in stomach.

Body has sufficient energy

sends anorexigenic signal. leptin-secreted by fat cells.

Hypothalamus and Eating

Primary receiver of hunger signals is hypothalamus. Lateral-orexigenic. Ventromedial-anorexigenic.


diminished eating behavior


hunger is never switched off.

bulimia nervosa

binge eating followed by purging, vomiting or use of laxatives, eat to ameliorate negative emotions, then experience self-loathing, guilt, binge to relieve guilt. Vicious cycle.

anorexia nervosa

intense fear of being fat and severe restriction of food intake, distorted body image, think fat when actually emaciated, high achieving perfectionists, have high levels of grelin in blood-they override signal.

What axis are eating disorders?

Axis 1


America's most pernicious eating problem. BMI of 30 or greater. 3 million americans die each year. Lower self-esteem; lower quality of life; higher mortality; prejudice & intolerance.

Sexual interest wiring scheme

glands secrete hormones, hormones travel to brain, stimulates sexual desire.

What hormone is involved in initial onset of sexual desire?


Human females sexual desire is not limited by what?

Cyle. ongoing sexual interest. Might have evolutionary function.

What is the hormonal basis for women's sex drive?

testosterone. Giving it increases sex drive. Men have more testosterone, and a stronger sex drive.

Human Sexual response cycle-overview

Masters and Johnson. Measured physical responses of many hundreds of volunteers. Sex in the lab. The stages of physiological arousal during sexual activity are similar for males and females.

Human sexual response cycle.

Excitement phase, plateau phase, orgasm phase, resolution phase, refractory period

Extrinsic motivation

Take actions that are not themselves rewarding but that lead to reward

Intrinsic motivation

take actions that are themselves rewarding

Conscious motivation

aware of what is motivating

Unconscious motivation

unaware of what is motivating

Need for achievement

need to solve worthwhile problems, people vary in this need.

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