CAB - Exam 1 - Potential Short Answer Questions

1. What are the benefits of exploring neurobiological mechanisms that underlie affective processes (in the eyes of Fox and in your eyes)?
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Advances in neuroscience have allowed emotion scientists to examine the neurocircuitry of emotion. This is important because neuroanatomical studies suggest that the affective and cognitive components of emotion are closely related and interactive. Modern technology has also overcome the limitation of traditional animal models and allowed for more human subjects research. Thus, incorporating neuroscientific methods to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms of emotion with traditional cognitive and behavioral perspectives on emotion has the potential to inform a more comprehensive and unified theory of emotion.
This perspective takes an evolutionary approach to emotions suggesting that they were selected by nature because they offered adaptive solutions to recurring problems and contributed to survival. As such, emotions are conceptualized as basic genetically encoded processes that are activated by an eliciting event. The activation of these basic processes results in physiological, behavioral, and emotional responses. Empirical evidence for this perspective includes research on phobias, selective learning of fear responses, and universal emotional expressions. Research on phobias indicate that the most prevalent phobias are related to situations that are unlikely to result in substantial harm or death in modern society (e.g., spiders, fear of open spaces). More realistic threats (e.g., cars) are rarely the focus of phobias. This suggests a biological component to phobias that were critical to survival early in the evolutionary history of humans. Cross-cultural studies of facial expressions also suggest a biological component of emotion as individuals from disparate cultures demonstrate high agreement on labeling emotions based on facial expressions. Given its base in evolutionary theory, empirical support for this perspective also relies on findings from animal research. One such study was conducted with infant monkeys who viewed a video of an adult monkey reacting to seeing a snake. The video was also manipulated to replace the snake with a flower, so the infant monkeys were witnessing the same behavioral reaction to different stimuli. Findings indicated that when presented with a snake after viewing the video, the infant monkeys demonstrated the same behavior response as the adult monkey. However, when presented with a flower, the infant monkeys did not behave fearfully even though they saw the same fearful reaction on the video. This study provides support for selective learning and that fear of certain things are more biologically based as they are integral to survival.
1. Behavioral responses/correlates - observational tecniques in naturalistic environments (e.g., fear displays, reaction time)
2. Physio responses/correlates - ANS physiological reactions such as heart racing when excited or scared (e.g., pupil dilation, accelaeration of heart rate)
3. Neural correlates - how emotions are represented within the brain (e.g., limbic system, single cell recording, PET, fMRI)
4. Subjective correlates - what an emotion feels like often what is most salient, introspection (e.g., descriptive experience sampling - randomly cueing people to report their ongoing inner experiences)
5. Questionnaire-based - a form of subjective experience of emotion (e.g., BDI, BAI, STAI)
6. Cognitive correlates - (e.g., appraisals, biases)
dinstinctive universal signals (e.g., facial, vocal), distinctive physiology, universal antecedent events, neural circuits.

The first criteria is distinctive universal signals such as facial and vocal expressions of emotions. The study of facial expression recognition in American college students and aboriginal people in New Guinea is evidence for this. Vocal expression studies have also shown that people from different cultures can identify emotion from vocal intonation at a much higher rate than chance. The second criteria is distinctive physiology. This is evidenced by studies such as Ekman's study where people were told to do very specific things with their face to create facial expressions that coincide with different emotions. Those people reported experiencing the corresponding emotion more often when producing the face. The third criteria is universal antecedent events. The evidence for this is that generally, loss of a significant other in all cultures produce feelings of sadness or snakes produce fear but flowers don't in monkeys even if it was modeled to fear both. The fourth criteria is dedicated neural circuits. The evidence suggests that there are specific neural correlates of different emotions in humans.
The viewpoint that emotions are the results of perception of bodily changes proposes that we infer our subjective feelings based on physiological changes in our bodies in response to an eliciting event. For example, when confronted with bear on a hike in the forest, our heartrate increases and our palms begin to sweat. Based on these bodily changes, we perceive the bear as dangerous, label our subjective state as afraid, and we run away. William James and Carl Lange were early proponents of this perspective and proposed the James-Lange theory of emotion. Advancements in neuroscientific methodology allowed for this perspective to be tested at the neural level. The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio offered his somatic-marker hypothesis where he suggested that our emotional state is influenced by a range of bodily processes including ANS activation, as pointed out by James and Lange, but also biochemical and hormonal changes. Additionally, Damasio argued that our brains can experience a feeling without any physiological changes. Specifically, our brains have the capability to enter into an emotional state by recalling or imaging how we would feel in a specific event. This is referred to as the "as-if loop." In contrast to the James-Lange theory, Damasio also added that our brains are capable of detecting physiological changes of which we may not be consciously aware. Thus, emotions are not strictly conscious experiences as predicted by the James-Lange theory.
Chapter 4 - Lesion studies indicate that certain areas of the brain result in deficits related to specific emotions. Amygdala - recognition of fear. Insula and basal ganglia - facial and vocal signals of disgust. Persons with Huntington's disease also have these difficulties. Ventral striatum - recognition of anger. This research suggests that discrete emotions are associated with specific brain areas both in recognition and subjective experience.

Imaging studies - One problem in lesion studies is that there is often damage in multiple areas of the brain, making it difficult to make connections between an emotion and a particular area. PET and fMRI imaging studies allow observing brain areas involved in emotions in healthy populations. Fear - amygdala; disgust - insula/operculum and globus pallidus; anger - OFC; happiness - rostral supracallosal ACC, dmPFC; sadness - rostral supracallosal ACC/dmPFC. Most research is broadly consistent with discrete emotions approach, at least some basic emotions can be separated at both psychological and neural levels of representation.
Previous studies have shown that young monkeys will learn to fear snakes after just one experience of seeing an adult display fear of a snake (learned). However, Mineka et al. study found that watching an adult demonstrate fear towards a bunch of flowers does not result in a learned fear response in young monkeys. Demonstrates that this is a selective learning process, with fear responses being learned more easily for biologically relevant stimuli (snakes) than for less relevant stimuli (flowers). We're evolutionary primed to respond to snakes (bio) but we can learn this response a lot faster (learning).
There are specific required patterns of results that correspond to each of the criteria. The first is subjective report, meaning self-report studies should demonstrate that people's experience of emotion is described in terms of two dimensions rather than several discrete emotions. Self-report measures between various negative emotions should be highly intercorrelated and so should positive emotions. The second criteria is physiological specificity, which means physiological responses should be specific to valence and arousal dimensions and responses to these dimensions should be relatively independent. Physiological indicators among negative & positive emotions should be correlated. Third is neural circuits. Separate neural circuits for valence and arousal should be identified. Fourth is cognitive appraisal. Evidence should be found that appraisals occur for the dimensions of valence and activation or arousal to a larger extent than for other dimensions of experience. Additionally, it is important for this approach to establish that cognitive appraisal or conceptualization is necessary to explain reports of discrete emotion categories.
The low road of fear learning is the faster route (thalamus --> amygdala). Humans tend to react quickly based on biological priming for survival. This route is often less accurate and more reactive. The high road is a slower route that involves cognition that allows the person to appraise the situation and inhibit a reaction (thalamus --> cortex --> amygdala). This route tends to be more accurate but takes longer be in effect. For example, a person may walk next to a stick and immediately jump because their low road reacted to it as if it may be a threatening stimulus, such as a snake. The high road is also in action but is taking longer to come to a reaction. The person then realizes based on their appraisal of the situation on the high road that it was actually a stick and is no longer a threat. Then they can begin to relax.
Dopamine action controls the reward systems in the brain but reward and pleasure are more complex than originally thought and can be broken down into more specific components. There are 3 processes that are necessary for a stimulus to acquire rewarding properties. One must exhibit motivation to act and learn, and then they must learn about relationships among stimuli and consequences of actions related to the stimuli. Finally, consumption of a reward can produce hedonic consequences such as pleasantness. Evidence suggests that different brain systems influence each of these components independently. Dopamine systems in the brain are important for controlling the brain's reaction to rewarding stimuli. However, drugs that block dopamine do not influence one's subjective pleasure (liking) of amphetamines or cigarettes. Opioid injections significantly increase pleasure (liking) response in rats and motivate them to work toward reward. Blocking opioid receptors reduce reward value of heron or cocaine in rats. Alternatively, "wanting" is associated more with incentive salience or a reward being motivating for achieving specific goals. Increases in dopamine has powerful effects on motivated behavior (wanting) rather than subjective experience of pleasure (liking). Berridge calls incentive salience "motivational magnets" because they elicit appetitive approach and consummatory behavior
11. Describe the famous experiment by Schachter and Singer, including the findings and attempts to replicate the study.Schachter and Singer proposed that experience of emotion depends on two factors: autonomic arousal and cognitive interpretation of that arousal. When you experience arousal, you search your environment for an explanation. Male college students were led to believe they were being injected with vitamins to see their affect on their vision. Some were injected with adrenaline while others were injected with a saline solution (control). Some participants in the adrenaline group were informed that the vitamin produces some side effects including a pounding heart, tremors, and a flushed feeling (informed group). Others were told there were no side effects (misinformed group). They each wait in a room with a confederate. The confederate either behaved as euphoric or angry. Informed subjects showed very few signs of experiencing emotion. Those who were misinformed tend to describe subjective feelings similar to the behavior conveyed by the confederate. This showed that those who received adrenaline and experienced physiological arousal without any adequate explanation tended to feel either euphoric or angry depending on the confederate's behavior. Those who received adrenaline and experienced physiological arousal but had an adequate explanation did not experience any emotion. Thus, emotional experience was not determined by physiological arousal alone but rather by physiological arousal in combination with an appraisal of the situation.