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Emotions, Stress, & Health

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1 Emotions, Stress, & Health
Myers, Chapter 12

2 Emotion Emotions are a mix of: Physiological arousal (heart pounding)
Expressive behaviors (quickened pace) Conscious experience including thoughts and feelings Questions that psychologists research: Does physiological arousal precede or follow your emotional experience? Does cognition always precede emotion?

3 Basic Emotions There are 10 basic emotions: joy Interest-excitement
Surprise Sadness Anger Disgust Contempt Fear Shame Guilt

4 James-Lange Theory of Emotion
William James (school of functionalism) & Karl Lange Our awareness of our physiological arousal leads to our conscious experience of emotion. (BODY BEFORE THOUGHTS) This theory is consistent with the facial-feedback hypothesis that suggests that our facial expressions affect our emotional experiences. smiling seems to induce positive moods frowning appears to induce negative moods

5 Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion
Walter Cannon & Philip Bard disagreed with the James-Lange theory. emotion arousing stimuli simultaneously triggers physiological responses and the subjective experience of emotion. (BODY WITH THOUGHTS)

6 Two-Factor Theory of Emotion
Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer (cognitive theorists) Two Factor theory of Emotions We infer emotion from arousal and then label it according to our cognitive explanation for the arousal. For example, if we feel aroused and someone is yelling at us, we must be angry. (BODY PLUS THOUGHTS/LABEL)

7 Cognitive-Appraisal Theory
Our emotional experience depends on our interpretation of the situation we are in (Richard Lazarus) Our first appraisal of the situation, we assess the potential consequences of the situation (this can be done with/without conscious thought) In the secondary appraisal, we decide what to do. This theory suggests that we can change our emotions if we learn to interpret the situation differently. Evolutionary psychologists disagree that emotions depend on our evaluation of a given situation Emotional responses developed before complex thinking among animals. Lower animals fear predators without thinking

8 Cognition May not Precede Emotion
Zajonic & LaDoux both proposed that we may actually have emotional reactions apart from of even before interpretation of a situation. LaDoux suggests there are times our emotions take the “low road” , following a neural shortcut that bypasses the cortex, traveling directly to the amygdala for interpretation & response.

9 Theories of Emotion Avoiding driving on the highway on a given day without identifying or explaining any fear is an example of the “low road” of emotion.

10 Summary: Theories of Emotions

11 Emotions & the ANS

12 Arousal & Performance In many situations, arousal can be adaptive.
Prolonged physical arousal, produced by sustained stress, taxes the body. We generally perform better in situations of moderate arousal, however, optimal performance varies with task difficulty. (Yerkes-Dodson Law)

13 Physiological of Emotions
We display similar physiological arousal during fear, anger, and sexual arousal. Observers would have difficulty discerning these states by only measuring physiological responses. Often our emotional experiences and our facial expressions differ during these emotional states How would you describe the emotions of the two boys in this picture?

14 Physiological Differences Among Specific Emotions
Research has found linkages between some emotions and minute movements of muscles in the brow (fear) and in the cheeks and under the eyes (joy). Brain scans also show increased activity in the amygdala during fear. Negative emotions (disgust) trigger more activity in the right pre-frontal cortex. Positive emotions (enthusiasm) trigger more activity in the left frontal lobe, which has a rich supply of dopamine receptors

15 Cognition & Emotion The Spillover Effect: the tendency of one person’s emotion to affect the people around that person. Arousal fuels emotions; cognition channels it. For example. In the pictures below, arousal from a soccer match (left) or from a political protest (right) can fuel anger and result in violent confrontations.

16 Lie Detection Tests Polygraph: a machine that measures physiological responses accompanying emotion (perspiration & breathing and cardiovascular changes). Problems with this type of measurement: physiological arousal is often similar from one emotion to the next polygraph tests err about 1/3 of the time, especially among innocent people who respond with heightened tension it is also possible for savvy criminals to “beat” the lie detection tests Guilty Knowledge test: assesses a suspect’s physiological responses to crime-scene details known only to police and the guilty person. (a better approach to lie detection)

17 Nonverbal Communication
We read fear and anger mostly from the eyes and happiness from the mouth. Some people are more sensitive than others in reading peoples’ nonverbal cues. In a crowd of faces, a single UNHAPPY face will recognized faster than a single HAPPY one. Introverts often read facial emotions better; extroverts themselves are more easily read. Experience can sensitize us to particular emotions. When shown a series of faces morphed from sadness or fear to anger, physically abused children are much quicker than other children to see anger.

18 Nonverbal Cues and Gender
Women are generally better than men at reading people’s emotional cues. Females also give more detailed descriptions of their emotional reactions. Females more often express empathy for others both in words and in facial expression. Women more readily describe themselves as emotional. Women are better than men in conveying happiness. Men communicate anger better than women.

19 Detecting & Computing Emotion
Hard to control facial muscles reveal signs of emotions, even when we try to hide our feelings. When using electronic media for communication, our twitters, s, and texts are devoid of nonverbal cues. Most electronic message senders believe that their “just kidding” messages are clear whether they are delivered electronically or in person. Due to egocentrism, texters often do not realize just how easy such communications can be easily misinterpreted in the absence of verbal cues.

20 Culture & Emotional Expression
The meaning of gestures varies with culture. However, facial expressions, particularly happiness & fear appear to be universal. Cultures differ in the amount of emotional expression they consider acceptable. In prelinguistic times, emotional expression could have enhanced survival by enabling communication of threats, greetings, and submission. Some facial expressions enable use to take in more information – surprise raises the eyebrows and widens the eyes. Other expressions, such as disgust, winkle the nose, closing it from foul odors.

21 Culture & Emotional Expression
Are certain facial expressions universal? Match the following emotions to the faces below: Disgust, Anger, Fear, Happiness, Surprise, Sadness

22 The Origins of Facial Emotions
People blind from birth show the same facial expressions as sighted people, suggesting that the origin of facial expressions must be largely genetic. Perhaps sneering at someone might be like a wolf’s snarl, warning competitors to back off. The “surprised” facial expression allows us to take in information. Shared smiles build protective social bonds “disgust” might close the nostrils to block breathing of toxic fumes.

23 Effects of Facial Emotions
The Facial Feedback Hypothesis: expressions amplify our emotions by activating muscles associated with specific states and the body responds as though we are experiencing those states. The Behavioral Feedback Hypothesis: if we move our body as if we were experiencing some emotion, we are likely to feel that emotion to some degree. So if you want to feel happy, simulate the facial expressions and body movements that convey happiness and your mood may perk up!

24 Experienced Emotion Izard (1977) identified 10 basic emotions, which are present during infancy, except for contempt, shame, and guilt. Some researchers believe that love and pride may also be basic emotions

25 The Biology of Fear We are biologically prepared to learn certain fears such as fear of snakes, heights, spiders (help with survival) We are not predisposed to quickly fear other more imminent dangers from things such as cars, bombs, and electricity The amygdala plays a central role in associating certain emotions, including fear, with specific situations. The amygdala receives information from cortical regions that process emotion, which then sends that information to other areas that produce bodily symptoms of fear. People differ in their relative fear/fearlessness, which appears to be, in part, genetic.

26 Anger Anger is most often triggered when we perceive another’s actions as willful, unjustified and avoidable. Anger can also arise from annoyances such as traffic jams, foul odors, high temperatures, and aches and pains. Research does NOT support the Catharsis Hypothesis: the idea that releasing negative energy will calm aggressive tendencies. venting may temporarily alleviate the anger but in the long run it does not reduce the anger and may actually amplify it. Anger is better handled by waiting until the level of physical arousal is diminished, calming one’s self, and expressing grievances in a manner that promotes reconciliation. Forgiveness can also reduce anger and its physical symptoms.

27 Happiness Feel good, do-good phenomenon: tendency to be helpful when you are already in a good mood Happiness is, in part, genetically influenced, but it is also within our control. We can improve our happiness by: realizing happiness does not come from financial success taking control of your time; acting happy seeking work and leisure that engage your skills exercising regularly; getting adequate sleep giving priority to close relationships focusing beyond our selves being grateful for what we have nurturing our spiritual selves

28 Happiness (cont’d) Negative emotions are at their highest after we wake up and before we go to sleep. Positive emotions rise gradually, peaking about 7 hours after we rise and then falling gradually. Moods triggered by the day’s good and bad events seldom last beyond that day. Even significant bad events such as serious illness seldom destroy happiness for long – we tend to underestimate our capacity to adapt toward survival.

29 Happiness: Adaptation & Comparison
Adaptation-Level Phenomenon: tendency to assess stimuli (including material possessions) relative to a neutral level defined by our previous experiences. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction is relative to our recent experience Relative-Deprivation Principle: our perception that we are less well off then others we compare ourselves to. Key point: Happiness is relative to both our past experiences and our comparisons with others.

30 Positive Psychology In recent years, psychologists have become interested in in subjective well-being, which is often defined as a high ratio of positive to negative feelings or as a sense of satisfaction with life. Founded by Martin Seligman Scientific study of optimum human functioning Focuses on three specific areas (pillars): positive emotions positive character positive groups, communities, and cultures

31 Stress and Health

32 Stress Behavioral Medicine: Interdisciplinary field integrating behavioral psychology and medical knowledge. Health Psychology: asks questions such as: How do our emotions and personality influence our risk of disease. What attitudes and behaviors help prevent illness and promote health and well-being How do we reduce or control our stress? Stress: the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events called STRESSORS, which we appraise as threatening or challenging. Stressors: heat, cold, pain, restraint, mild shock

33 Stressful Life Events We classify stressors on the basis of intensity
Catastrophes: unpredictable large-scale events such as war and natural disasters Can increase depression, anxiety, interfere with concentration and sleeping Life Changes: include changes such as death of a loved one, starting college, marriage, divorce, moving to a new place/home Can leave people vulnerable to disease Daily Hassles: continued series of small everyday stressors are the most significant sources of stress for most people this stress can add up, leading to increases in blood pressure and headaches and lowering one’s immune system.

34 Physiological Response to Stress
Our body responds to stress with a Two Track System: Sympathetic Nervous System: prompts the release of the epinephrine and norepinephrine from the inner part of the adrenal glands Cerebral Cortex: via the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, the outer part of the adrenal glands secrets glucocorticoid stress hormones Both systems stimulate the body’s flight or fight response (increasing heart rate, respiration, diverts blood form digestion to skeletal muscles, dulls pain, and releases glucose from the liver)


36 General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)
Developed by Hans Selye - GAS

37 Consequences of Chronic Stress
The stress hormone cortisol helps our bodies respond to brief stress. Chronically high cortisol levels damage the body.

38 Stress & Personality Type
Coronary Heart Disease: clogging of the blood vessels that nourish the heart muscle Type A: competitive, hard-working, impatient, verbally aggressive, high achieving, multi-tasking and anger-prone -- More likely to experience a heart attack in their 30s or 40s than Type B Type B: relaxed and calm in their approach to life Current research: Type A traits of anger, hostility & cynicism are highly correlated with potential risks for cardiac problems.

39 Stress and Disease Psychophysiological Diseases (“Mind-Body”): refers to any stress related illnesses (hypertension and some headaches Hypochondriasis: misinterpreting normal physical sensations as symptoms of physical illness Stress diverts energy away from immune system activities, and is redirected to the stress-response system – the body becomes more vulnerable to infections and disease.

40 Gender & Stress Response
In response to a stressors such as the death of a loved one, women may “tend and befriend”: nurture themselves and others, and bond together. The bonding hormone oxytocin may play a role in this bonding. Women become more empathetic under stress. Men under stress are more likely to socially withdraw and numb themselves with alcohol. Men are also more likely to become aggressive under stress. Men exhibit less empathy and a reduced ability to focus on other when under stress.

41 Stress & Perceived Level of Control
Experiment: the left and middle rats below received shocks. The rat on the left was able to turn off the shocks for both rats. Which rat had the worst stress and health problems? Only the subordinate rat had increased ulcers. It is not the level of shock, but the level of control over the shock, which caused the stress

42 Coping with Stress Coping: alleviating stress using emotional, cognitive, or behavioral methods Problem-focused Coping: attempting to alleviate stress directly by changing the stressor or the way we interact with that stressor. Emotional-focused Coping: attempting to alleviate stress by avoiding or ignoring a stressor and attending to emotional needs related to one’s stress condition.

43 Coping with Stress (cont’d)
Adaptive Coping Strategies: problem solving, exercise, social support from family, friends, religious organizations, prayers, accepting the problem, looking at the problem as a goal or challenge rather than a victim of circumstance. Maladaptive Coping Strategies: aggression, overeating, drinking, smoking, using drugs, spending money, sleeping too much, or using defense mechanisms Health Psychologists often suggest using relaxation, visualization, medication and biofeedback, and alternative medicine to lessen the effects of stress and boost our immune systems.

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