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Nature of emotion

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This lecture introduces key underlying questions about the psychology of emotion and major theories of emotion.

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Nature of emotion

  1. 1. 1 Motivation & Emotion James Neill Centre for Applied Psychology University of Canberra 2017 Image source Nature of emotion
  2. 2. 2 Nature of emotion: Six perennial questions Reading: Reeve (2015) Ch 12 (pp. 337-368)
  3. 3. 3 Outline – Nature of emotion Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 337-338)  What is an emotion? ● Key questions ● Definition ● Emotion & motivation  What causes an emotion? ● Two-systems view ● Chicken-&-egg problem ● What ends an emotion?  How many emotions? ● Biological perspective ● Cognitive perspective ● Reconciliation of #s  What is an emotion? ● Key questions ● Definition ● Emotion & motivation  What causes an emotion? ● Two-systems view ● Chicken-&-egg problem ● What ends an emotion?  How many emotions? ● Biological perspective ● Cognitive perspective ● Reconciliation of #s  What good are emotions? ● Coping functions ● Social functions ● Why we have emotions  Can we control our emotions? ● Emotion regulation strategies  Difference between emotion & mood? ● Everyday mood ● Positive affect  What good are emotions? ● Coping functions ● Social functions ● Why we have emotions  Can we control our emotions? ● Emotion regulation strategies  Difference between emotion & mood? ● Everyday mood ● Positive affect
  4. 4. 4 Key questions Based on Reeve (2015, p. 339) 6. What is the diff. between emotion & mood? 2. What causes an emotion? 4. What good are the emotions? 3. How many emotions are there? 1. What is an emotion? 5. Can we control our emotions?
  5. 5. 5 More questions 5. How are the emotions of animals & humans similar and how do they vary? 2. What are the consequences of emotions? 4. How and why did emotions evolve? 3. How can emotion be changed? 1. How can emotion be measured?
  6. 6. 6 Feeling All the Feels: Crash Course Psychology #25 Youtube (2:00 / 10:50 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAMbkJk6gnE Youtube (2:00 / 10:50 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAMbkJk6gnE
  7. 7. 7 What is an emotion? Feelings • Subjective experience • Phenomenological awareness • Cognitive interpretation Bodily arousal ● Bodily preparation for action ● Physiological activiation ● Motor responses Emotion Sense of purpose •Impulse to action •Goal-directed motivational state •Functional aspect to coping Significant life event Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 12.1 Four components of emotion, p. 340) Social-expressive •Social communication •Facial expression •Vocal expression A distinct pattern of neural activity
  8. 8. 8 Separation from a loved one, failure on an important task Four components of sadness Feelings • Aversive • Negative • Feeling of distress Bodily arousal • Decreased heart rate • Low energy level Sadness Sense of purpose •Desire to take action to overcome or reverse the separation or failure. Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 12.2 Four components of sadness, p. 342) Social-expressive •Inner eyebrows raises •Corners of lips lowered •Lower lip pouting and trembling Increased activation in medial prefrontal cortex
  9. 9. 9 Definition of emotion Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 340) “Emotions are … short-lived, feeling-purposive-expressive-bodily responses that help us adapt to the opportunities and challenges we face during important life events.”
  10. 10. 10 Definition of emotion Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 342) “Emotions are … the synchronised brain-based systems that coordinate feeling, bodily response, purpose, and expression so as to ready the individual to adapt successfully to life circumstances.”
  11. 11. 11 Definition of emotion Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 342) “Emotions are … short-lived psychological-physiological phenomena that represent efficient modes of adaptation to changing environmental demands.” - Levenson (1994, p. 123)
  12. 12. 12 Relationship between motivation & emotion Based on Reeve (2015, p. 343) Emotions are one type of motive which energises and directs behaviour. Emotion as motivation Emotions serve as an ongoing “readout” to indicate how well or how poorly personal adaptation is going. Emotion as readout
  13. 13. 13 What causes an emotion? Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 12.3, Causes of the emotion experience, p. 344) Distinct pattern of neural activity Cognitive processes Biological processes Feelings Sense of purpose Bodily arousal Social-expressive Significant life event
  14. 14. 14 Biological and cognitive perspectives Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 344-346) Biology lies at the causal core of emotion (e.g., neurotransmitters) • Izard (1989) - infants • Ekman (1992) - emotions happen to us • Panksepp (1982, 1994) - genetically-endowed neural circuits Cognitive activity is a necessary prerequisite to emotion • Lazarus (1984, 1991a, 1991b) - appraisal needed • Scherer (1994a, 1994b, 1997) - specific appraisals (good/bad, cope, morality) • Weiner (1986) - attribution
  15. 15. 15 Two-systems view (Buck, 1984) Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 12.4, Two systems view of emotion, p. 345) Social, cultural learning history of the individual Cortical structures and pathways Evaluative, interpretive, & conscious evaluation of the meaning & personal significance of the stimulus event Evolutionary, phylogenetic history of the species Sub-cortical structures and pathways Instantaneous, automatic, & unconscious reaction to sensory characteristics of the stimulus event Significant stimulus event Parallel, interactive, & coordinated output to activate and regulate emotion Innate system Learned system
  16. 16. 16 Two-systems views Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 344-345)  Levenson (1994) ● the two systems influence one another  Panksepp (1994) ● some emotions are primarily from the biological system (e.g., fear and anger), whilst ● other emotions arise from experience, modeling and culture (e.g., gratitude and hope).  Levenson (1994) ● the two systems influence one another  Panksepp (1994) ● some emotions are primarily from the biological system (e.g., fear and anger), whilst ● other emotions arise from experience, modeling and culture (e.g., gratitude and hope).
  17. 17. 17 Feedback loop in emotion Based on Reeve (2015, Figure 12.5 Feedback loop in emotion, p. 346) Emotion is a chain of events that aggregate into a complex feedback system. Emotion is a chain of events that aggregate into a complex feedback system. Arousal Preparation for action Feelings Expressive displays Overt behavioural activity Cognition Emotion Significant stimulus event Can intervene at any point Can intervene at any point
  18. 18. 18 How many emotions are there? Based on Reeve (2009, pp. 308-312) Biological perspective ● Small # (2 to 10) of primary, universal emotions ● Emotion is a bi- product of biology & evolution. ● Downplays secondary or acquired emotions. Cognitive perspective •Many, varied emotions which arise in response to different meaning structures •Acknowledges importance of the primary emotions, but stresses the complex (secondary, acquired) emotions
  19. 19. 19 Reconciliation of the numbers issue Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 350-351) 1. Emotion families Each basic emotion represents a family of emotions that revolve around a particular theme (biologically rooted, but cognitively nuanced). 2. Basic emotions Basic emotions each have a sub-cortical brain circuit that is rooted in evolutionary adaptation to major life tasks and that has automatic connections with feelings, expressions, bodily preparations, and motivational action tendencies.
  20. 20. 20 Wheel of emotions (Plutchik)
  21. 21. 21 Basic emotions criteria (Ekman) Based on Reeve (2015, p. 351) 1. Distinct facial expression 2. Distinct pattern of physiology 3. Automatic (unlearned) appraisal 4. Distinct antecedent cause 5. Inescapable (inevitable) activiation 6. Presence in other primates 7. Rapid onset 8. Brief duration 9. Distinctive subjective experience (feeling state) 10. Distinctive cognition (thoughts, images, memories)
  22. 22. 22 Basic emotion exclusion reasons (Ekman) Based on Reeve (2015, p. 351) 1. Experience-based derivative of a basic emotion (e.g., anxiety is a derivative of fear) 2. Mood (e.g., irritation) 3. Attitudes (e.g., hatred) 4. Personality traits (e.g., hostile) 5. Disorders (e.g., depression) 6. Blends (e.g., romantic love blends interest, joy, and the sex drive) 7. Aspect of emotion (e.g., cause (homesickness) or consequence (avoidance))
  23. 23. 23 Basic emotions Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 347-349) Basic emotions Fear Anger Disgust Sadness Interest Joy Negative emotion theme • Response to threat and harm Positive emotion theme • Response to involvement and satisfaction potential of threat and harm fighting off threat and harm rejecting threat and harm after threat and harm motive involve- ment satis- faction
  24. 24. 24 1. Non-basic emotions are experience-based 2. Many terms better describe: a) Moods (e.g., irritation) b) Attitudes (e.g., hatred) c) Personality (e.g., hostile) d) Disorders (e.g., depression). 3. Some terms are blends of emotions (e.g., love). 4. Many terms refer to specific aspects of an emotion (e.g., homesickness) Ekman's reasons why biological theories focus on a small number of basic emotions Based on Reeve (2009, p. 336)
  25. 25. 25 What good are the emotions? Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 352-353) Utility of emotion Coping functions Social functions
  26. 26. 26 Functional views of emotional behaviour Based on Reeve (2015, Table 12.2, p. 353) F u n d a m e n t a l L i f e T a s k E m o t i o n C o p i n g F u n c t i o n G o a l p r o g r e s s , a tt a in m e n t Jo y S o o t h e , p la y S e p a r a t io n o r fa ilu r e S a d n e s s R e v e r s e t h e s e p a r a t io n o r fa ilu r e I n te r fe r e n c e w it h g o a l p u r s u it s A n g e r O v e r c o m e b a r r ie r s a n d r e s t r ic t io n s T h r e a t o r d a n g e r p r e s e n t F e a r P r o te c t , a v o id S p o ile d o b je c t D is g u s t R e p u ls io n N o v e lt y, n e e d - in v o lv e m e n t I n te r e s t E x p lo r e , t a k e in in fo r m a t io n A c h ie v e m e n t P r id e A c q u ir e s k ills , p e r s is t Ju d g in g a n o t h e r a s in fe r io r C o n te m p t M a in t a in t h e s o c ia l h ie r a r c h y F e e lin g s o f in fe r io r it y S h a m e P r o te c t , r e s to r e t h e s e lf B e h a v in g in a d e q u a te ly G u ilt R e c o n s id e r a n d c h a n g e b e h a v io r
  27. 27. 27 Social functions of emotion Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 354-356) 2. Influence how others interact with us. 4. Create, maintain, & dissolve relationships. 3. Invite, smooth, & facilitate social interaction. 1. Communicate our feelings to others.
  28. 28. 28 Why do we have emotion?  Do emotions help us to adapt and function?  Or are they distracting and dysfunctional?  Both are true – emotion is a masterpiece of evolutionary design but it also provide us with excess baggage  How well emotions serve us depends on our emotional self-regulation  Do emotions help us to adapt and function?  Or are they distracting and dysfunctional?  Both are true – emotion is a masterpiece of evolutionary design but it also provide us with excess baggage  How well emotions serve us depends on our emotional self-regulation Based on Reeve (2015, p. 356)
  29. 29. 29 Emotion regulation strategies Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 357-361) 5. Suppression: down-regulating one or more of the four aspects of emotion (bodily arousal, cognitive, purposive, expressive). 2. Situation modification: problem-focused coping, efforts to establish control, and searching for social support. 4. Reappraisal: changing the way one thinks about the situation to modify the emotional impact. 3. Attentional focus: redirecting attention within the situation. 1. Situation selection: taking action to make one emotional experience more or less likely.
  30. 30. 30 ● Controlling emotions is a challenge given their four aspects: feelings, arousal, purpose, and expression. ● Emotions are largely reactions to life events, so they are difficult to conjure without a trigger. ● If emotions are biologically-caused, then we may have little control. ● But if emotions are governed by cognition then a good deal of emotional experience could be voluntarily controlled. Can we voluntarily control our emotions? Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 341-342)
  31. 31. 31 Emotions and the brain Video: (~2 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNY0AAUtH3g
  32. 32. 32 What is an emotion? (Ekman) Video: (~7 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaZDLOAg_Po
  33. 33. 33 Lie detection – Lie to me trailer Video: (~2 mins) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVG5AwZph-s
  34. 34. 34 What is the difference between emotion & mood? Based on Reeve (2015, p. 361) Significant life events Specific Short-lived Ill-defined Influence cognition Long-lived Antecedents Action- Specificity Time course Criteria Emotions Moods
  35. 35. 35 Everyday mood Based on Reeve (2015, pp. 363-364) Positive affect •Pleasurable engagement •Reward-driven, appetitive motivational system •Approach behaviour •Dopaminergic pathways Negative affect •Unpleasant engagement •Punishment-driven, aversive motivational system •Withdrawal behaviour •Serotonergic & noradrenergic pathways Positive affect and negative affect are independent ways of feeling.
  36. 36. 36 Diurnal variation in positive and negative affect Clark, L. A., Watson, D., & Leeka, J. (1989). Diurnal variation in the positive affects. Motivation and Emotion, 13(3), 205-234. Figure 12.8 Levels of Positive Affect (PA) and Negative Affect (NA) as a function of time of day in two studies Figure 12.8 Levels of Positive Affect (PA) and Negative Affect (NA) as a function of time of day in two studies
  37. 37. 37 Positive affect Based on Reeve (2015, p. 365) Prosocial behaviour Creativity Decision-making efficiency Sociability Persistence in the face of failure Benefits of feeling good Everyday, low-level, general state of feeling good.
  38. 38. 38  Emotions have 4 key components – feeling, body, motivational, expressive  Emotions arise from activation of neural circuits in the sub-cortical brain  From a biological POV, there is a small set of core emotions; from a cognitive POV there are many more emotions  Emotions help us to cope, communicate, and survive  Emotions are often automatic, but we can learn to self-regulate  Emotion is short-lasting; mood is longer-lasting Summary
  39. 39. 39 Aspects of emotion (Ch 13) Biological Cognitive Social and cultural Next lecture
  40. 40. 40 References  Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.  Reeve, J. (2015). Understanding motivation and emotion (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.  Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.  Reeve, J. (2015). Understanding motivation and emotion (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Note: Image credits are in the slide notes
  41. 41. 41 Open Office Impress  This presentation was made using Open Office Impress.  Free and open source software.  http://www.openoffice.org/product/impress.html  This presentation was made using Open Office Impress.  Free and open source software.  http://www.openoffice.org/product/impress.html

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