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What are basic components of emotion in psychology?

What are basic components of emotion in psychology?


  • Emotions
    • A feeling state involving physiological arousal, a cognitive appraisal of the situation arousing the state, and an outward expression of the state
  • Explaining the components of emotions
    • Typically, psychologists have studied emotions in terms of three components-the physical, the cognitive, and the behavioral
      • The physical component is the physiological arousal that accompanies the emotion
      • The cognitive component determines the specific emotion we feel
      • The behavioral component of emotions is the outward expression of the emotions
  • Theories of emotion
    • James-Lange theory of emotion
      • The theory that emotional feelings result when an individual becomes aware of a physiological response to an emotion-provoking stimulus
    • Cannon-Bard theory of emotion
      • The theory that an emotion-provoking stimulus is transmitted simultaneously to the cortex, providing the feeling of emotion, and to the sympathetic nervous system, causing the physiological arousal
    • Schachter-Singer theory of emotion
      • A two-stage theory stating that for an emotion to occur, there must be (1) physiological arousal and (2) an explanation for the arousal
    • Lazarus theory of emotion
      • The theory that an emotion-provoking stimulus triggers a cognitive appraisal, which is followed by the emotion and the physiological arousal
  • Emotion and the brain
    • The brain structure most closely associated with fear is the amygdala
    • When the emotion of fear first materializes, much of the brain’s processing is nonconscious
    • Researchers using electroencephalographs to track mood changes have found that reductions in both anxiety and depression are associated with a shift in electrical activity from the left to the right side of the brain
  • Polygraph test
    • A device designed to detect changes in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, and the skin conductance response that typically accompany the anxiety that occurs when a person lies
    • Assumption behind the polygraph examination is that lying causes changes in these physiological function s that can be accurately measured and recorded by the device
    • However, a polygraph is not really a lie detector; it cannot distinguish lying form fear, sexual arousal, anxiety, anger, or general emotional arousal
    • Lykken
      • Found that increasing arousal by tensing muscles and thinking about something exciting during neutral questions could also alter the results
  • Expression of Emotion
    • Range of emotion
      • Paul Ekman and Carroll Izard
        • Insist that there are a limited number of basic emotions
    • Basic emotions
      • Emotions that are found in all cultures, that are reflected in the same facial expressions across cultures, and that emerge in children according to their biological timetable
      • Ekman
        • Suggested considering emotions as families
        • Anger family might range form annoyed to irritated, angry, livid, and finally enraged
        • If perceived as a family, anger should also include various forms of its expression
      • Ekman and Friesen
        • Claim there are subtle distinctions in the facial expression of a single emotion that convey its intensity
  • Development of facial expressions
    • Like the motor skills of crawling and walking, facial expressions of emotions develop according to a biological timetable of maturation
    • Consistency of emotional development across individual infants and across cultures supports the idea that emotional expression is inborn
  • Universality of facial expressions
    • Charles Darwin
      • First to study the relationship between emotions and facial expressions
      • Believed that the facial expression of emotion was an aid to survival, because it enabled people to communicate their internal states and react to emergencies before they developed language
      • Maintained that most emotions, and the facial expressions that convey them, are genetically inherited and characteristic of the entire human species
      • Concluded that facial expressions were similar across cultures
    • Scherer and Wallbott
      • Found very extensive overlap in the patterns of emotional experiences reported across cultures in 37 different counties on 5 continents
      • Also found important cultural differences in the ways emotions are elicited and regulated and in how they are shared socially
      • Researchers found that Caucasian Americans more quickly identified the facial expressions of other Caucasian Americans than did Caucasian Europeans
  • Cultural rules for displaying emotion
    • Display rule
      • Cultural rules that dictate how emotions should be expressed, and when and where their expression is appropriate
      • Often a society’s display rules require people to give evidence of certain emotions that they may not actually feel or to disguise their true feelings
    • Cole
      • Found that 3-year-old girls, when given an unattractive gift, smiled nevertheless
      • They had already learned a display rule and signaled an emotion they very likely did not feel
    • Davis
      • Found that among first to third graders, girls were better able to hide disappointment than boys were
      • Not only can emotions be displayed by not felt, they can also be felt but not displayed
      • Most of us learn to display rules very early and abide by them most of the time
  • Emotion as a form of communication
    • Katherine Bridges
      • Observed emotional expression in Canadian infants over a period of months
      • Reported that the first emotional expression to appear is that of distress
      • Researchers have found that mothers in many cultures attempt to regulate the moods of their babies through facial communication of emotions
    • In a study involving some 200 male and female university students, women admitted that they flirted with, smiled at, and played up to men, leading them on when they had no romantic interest in the men or any intention of having sex with them
      • Men admitted intentionally deceiving women about the depth of their emotional commitment
  • Facial-feedback hypothesis
    • Sylvan Tomkins
      • Claimed that the facial expression itself-that is, the movement of the facial muscles producing the expression-triggers both the physiological arousal and the conscious feeling associated with the emotion
    • The idea that the muscular movements involved in certain facial expressions trigger the corresponding emotions
    • Ekman and colleagues
      • Documented the effects of facial expressions on physiological indicators of emotion using 16 participants
      • Reported that a distinctive physiological response pattern emerged for the emotions of fear, sadness, anger, and disgust, whether the participants relived one of their emotional experiences or simply made the corresponding facial expression
      • Researcher found that both anger and fear accelerate hear rate, but fear produces colder fingers than does anger
    • Izard
      • Believes that learning to self-regulate emotional expression can help in controlling emotions
      • Proposes that this approach to the regulation of emotion might be a useful adjunct to psychotherapy
  • Gender differences in experiencing emotion
    • David Buss
      • Has reported that women are far more likely to feel anger when their partner is sexually aggressive
      • Men experience grater anger than women when their partner withholds sex
      • Research by evolutionary psychologists also suggests clear and consistent differences between the sexes concerning feelings of jealousy
      • Men, more than women, experience jealousy over evidence or suspicions of sexual infidelity
      • A women is more likely than a man to be jealous of her partner’s emotional attachment and commitment to another and over the attention, time, and resources diverted from the relationship
  • Emotion and cognition
    • Emotion allows us to detect risk more quickly than we could with rational though alone
    • It is possible that the anger-optimism link arises from confidence, whether justified or not, in concrete measures directed towards people who are perceived as potentially threatening
  • Opponent Process Theory of Emotion
  • Theory postulates that every emotion creates an opposite emotion to bring the primary emotion back into balance.
    • Primary State
      • Unlearned
      • Automatic
    • Opponent State
      • Learned – opposite from primary state
      • Starts later and lasts longer
      • Gets stronger with experience

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