PSYC18 - Psychology of Emotion Lecture 5


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PSYC18 - Psychology of Emotion Lecture 5

  1. 1. PSYC18 - Psychology of Emotion Lecture 5 Professor: Gerald Cupchik [email_address] S-634 Office Hours: Thurs. 10-11, 2-3 T.A.: Michelle Hilscher [email_address] S-150 Office Hours: Thurs. 10-11, 2-3 Course Website:
  2. 2. Let’s not forget John B. Watson’s contribution… (the father of American Behaviourism) Watson, the founder of Behaviourism developed a “pattern reaction theory of emotion” (1919). “ An emotion is a hereditary pattern - reaction involving profound changes of the bodily mechanism as a whole, but particularly of the visceral and glandular systems.” Watson tests baby’s grasp reflex (ca.1916) Fear, rage and love are pattern reactions; complex behavioural responses to induction situations such as loss of support, a loud noise, restraint of free movement, stroking of sensitive zones. Like reflexes, emotion patterns can be conditioned and extinguished.
  3. 3. Cognition, Arousal and Emotion From William McDougall to W.B. Cannon (1871-1945) McDougall argued in An introduction to social psychology that emotional excitements stimulated appropriate behavioural reactions (e.g., fear and the instinct to flee; or anger and the instinct to fight). Cannon extended McDougall’s instinctually based theory into the idea of an emergency response that was more appropriate for an emerging behavioural movement. His primary concern was with “the significance of bodily changes which occur in great emotional excitement, such as fear and rage…” which he conceived as bodily preparations for supreme effort in flight or in fighting.
  4. 4. From Gregorio Maranon to W.B. Cannon: Emotion cold and hot ! Gregorio Maranon, a Spanish physician, examined the effects of inducing changes in somatic states through injections of adrenaline which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. He published the results of his research in 1924 in a French journal, Revue Française D’Endocronologie, because he was an endocrinologist interested in the effects of hypothyroidism. Cannon was the first scholar in North America to lecture on this new paradigm in 1922 at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Québec.
  5. 5. Maranon was generally interested in learning about emotional reactions to injections of adrenaline. His most important contrast is between: 1.“The subjective perception”, “en froid”, of somatic disturbance leading to an unidentifiable emotional sensation. This first type was observed most frequently (i.e., 79%) among his 210 subjects. Subjects were aware of the various post-injection phenomena (e.g., tremor, shivering, coldness in the hands, dryness of the mouth, heart palpitations) which “coincide with the autonomic symptomatology of emotion (autonomic emotion) and experienced “being moved” without experiencing a complete emotion (e.g., “as if I were awaiting a great happiness,” or “as if I were frightened, however, I am calm”). 2. An entire, involuntary emotion having the same somatic elements as in the previous case, but also a psychological, affective involvement.
  6. 6. His second degree reaction “not only perceives the autonomic somatic manifestations of emotion, but he also, gradually or suddenly, feels his mind invaded by an emotional flux”. The “psychological emotion” is superimposed upon the “autonomic reaction” and is apprehended as a complete affective state, usually of the anxiety type, with abundant tears, sobs, and sighs”. This complete emotional state is frequently accompanied by “a psychological motif” to justify the feelings. To “produce it in other cases one must suggest a memory with strong affective force” (e.g., speaking to the patient “during the adrenal commotion” about sick children or dead parents). So the adrenal injection fosters “a situation of affective imminence”.
  7. 7. Sequence: 1) Initial psychological element (sensation, idea, memory) 2) Production of autonomic or peripheral emotion 3) Consciousness of peripheral emotion by the brain 4) Authentic emotion when the consciousness of the autonomic emotion is superimposed on the primary psychological element.
  8. 8. Why does Cannon favour Maranon’s work? Functioning of the sympathetic nervous system and the natural release of adrenaline was a major topic of research at the time. Cannon’s friend, Colonel T.R. Elliot, whom he saw in France in 1917 during WWI when he was serving with the Harvard Hospital Unit, had studied at Cambridge University, “why adrenaline, when injected into the body… mimics the action of sympathetic nerves.” Maranon kept Cannon abreast of his work by sending him copies of his work. Shows international cooperation across the ocean even back in the early 20th century.
  9. 9. From Maranon’s viewpoint “ cold awareness of emotional phenomena which takes place in the first degree reaction definitely demolishes the point of view of James and Lange” because though subjects accurately described the peripheral symptoms in exact terms, they “were not moved” . Maranon’s findings served as a basis for Cannon’s fifth criticism of William James’ theory of emotion: “ Artificial induction of the visceral changes typical of strong emotions does not produce them. ” (1927). He focuses on the fact that while subjects may have experienced the sensations which are concomitants of adrenaline injections, they were usually accompanied by “ as if ” or “ an indefinite affective state coldly appreciated ”.
  10. 10. Maranon & the Two Factor Theory of Emotion Randolph Cornelius (1991) maintains that Maranon proposed a two-factor theory of emotion incorporating: 1. A bodily component ( l’émotion végétative ) associated with sympathetic arousal (e.g., dry mouth, cold hands, increased heart rate 2. A psychological part ( l’émotion psychique ) which is superimposed on the bodily component. This subjective element was described as a “motive” ( motif psychique ) or “reason” ( raison intellectuelle ). The co-presence of both components enabled the person to experience “ un état affectif complet ”, a complete affective state. Maranon argued that a psychological context must precede the experience of bodily changes which place the person in a state of “ affective imminence”.
  11. 11. American Psychology After Maranon Landis and Hunt (1932) criticized the way that Cannon used Maranon’s findings. They “call attention to a doctrine current in American psychology which holds that the injection of adrenaline, while producing the organic state typical of emotion, is nevertheless not capable of producing a genuine emotion.” They examined the original research in French and concluded “that in some cases there was a definite and undeniable emotion produced upon the injection of adrenaline” which was experienced “as genuine and complete”.
  12. 12. They gave injections of adrenaline to people assessed as having a “psychoneurotic personality” and concluded that “the injection of sufficient amounts of adrenaline will reproduce roughly the organic picture usually characterized as emotion.” In addition, “environmental factors undoubtedly are reflected in and form an important part of the emotional experience.” They agree with the conclusions of Cantril and Hunt (1932) who found “most of their observers demanding a satisfactory reason for the emotion before the emotional experience could be felt as complete” and so “emotional awareness must be considered as a process involving higher perceptual or intellectual functions.” Cantril and Hunt (1932) described the purely physical effects of the adrenaline injection. Generally speaking, the “physical syndrome always consisted of a muscular tremor localized particularly in the legs and hands, a tremor in the voice, increased respiration, immediate slight decrease and subsequent rise in the pulse rate, and an increase in the strength of the heart beat.”
  13. 13. Example: “ Bodily feeling of extreme nervousness. The bodily feeling almost swamps the psychic state, but the nervousness is wholly a matter of physical symptoms. I feel nervous, but I am not nervous. The reason seems lacking. I lack an object and the intellectual state is not fulfilled. To sum it up, I feel vaguely nervous, excited, but any definite emotion is lacking, and the excitement is a detached bodily affair.” (H) A more “genuine emotion” is noticed by EH (note that subjects were identified by their initials)… “ I seem oppressed with a vague fear of something - feeling much the same as when I’ve lain awake all night, frightened that Bill might die. I am oppressed with a nameless fear. I want to get away from it just as the night of Bill’s illness I wanted to relax and sleep and tried to rationalize my fears but that was impossible then and it is impossible now. It is decidedly unpleasant.”
  14. 14. A few theoretical implications would reveal its dependence upon the following possible factors. These include: (1) a “primary autonomic reaction” which may involve changes in the vasomotor system, the respiratory system, the viscera, along with peripheral changes such as sweating and muscular tremor. (2) “secondary behavioural reaction patterns” including “flight, attack, facial expression, and vocalization”. (3) an “intellectual content” or “the presence in consciousness of some object or situation to which the emotion is directed and around which the emotion is intellectually organized. This involves the active participation of the higher logical processes, probably centered in the cerebral cortex. “ The usual emotional state seems to involve a combination of (1) and (3) but that the presence of an autonomic reaction “is the only sine qua non for an emotion” while the behavioural reaction is “probably of secondary importance”.
  15. 15. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Elizabeth Duffy (1941): “For many years the writer has been of the opinion that emotion as a scientific concept, is worse than useless.” As early as 1932 and 1934, she adopted the very behavioural/cognitive view that it is impossible to distinguish “an emotional state from a mental state”, with the term “mental state ” referring to “intellective or cognitive processes uncomplicated by affective reactions”.
  16. 16. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism In 1934 Elizabeth Duffy distinguished four qualities attributed to emotion which in her opinion were typical of mental states in general, and not unique to emotional states. They included: (1) physiological mechanisms (e.g., activity of the thalamus as opposed to the cerebral cortex) (2) degree of arousal or intensity of the reaction (3) disorganization that interferes with effective behaviour (4) interpretive data (e.g., descriptions of the contents of consciousness or of the kind of stimulus-response situation).
  17. 17. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Duffy contrasted excitation, activation , or arousal measured by overt behaviour with inhibition , “restraint of the tendency to act.” Accordingly, “increases in the degree of excitation tend to produce increases in the speed and force (or intensity) of the activity in progress” be it “muscular performance, a train of thought, or the expression of emotion”. Very high levels of arousal lead to uncoordinated reactions, and make the person more sensitive to stimulation (physical, mental, or emotional). Changes in the novelty or intensity of the stimulus situation will lead to changes in excitation.
  18. 18. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Duffy’s goal was to “effect a rapprochement between the psychology of the emotions and the psychology of thought, now too often separated by the assumption that, while one may affect the other, they do not in any sense represent harmonious manifestations of the same underlying processes”. Thus, “we should cease our attempt to study emotion sui generis and should study instead the variations in certain fundamental aspects or dimensions of behaviour in general as these occur under varying stimulation…” The “experience which is labeled emotion is the conscious aspect of a response, or group of responses, which the individual makes to a stimulating situation which he interprets as having marked significance for himself, favorable, or unfavorable.”
  19. 19. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Hence, according the Duffy, emotion is the individual’s response to situations which promise well or ill for the attainment of his goals. The term refers to how the individual feels and how he acts when his expectations in regards to a situation are that it will, or will not, permit him to reach some rather strongly desired goal. The strength or intensity of the emotion is roughly proportional to the degree of importance of the particular goal to the individual, and to the degree of threat or of promise which the present situation bears with reference to that goal.” High levels of activation will lead to disorganization, be it in response to a new motor skill and in the solution of a difficult “mental problem”. “ The over-eager golfer, teeing off, makes a poor shot”
  20. 20. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Duffy’s contribution goes well beyond the significant formula: EMOTION = ENERGY + DIRECTION She specifies two sources for the subjective qualities of emotion: (a) awareness of the bodily changes which occur in the process of adjusting the energy level of the individual to the demands of the situation AND (b) awareness of the stimulus situation and of the set for response to that situation.
  21. 21. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism “ Emotional” experience is merely the conscious counterpart of the adjustments which the individual makes to stimulating conditions which are of sufficient significance to produce a marked change in his energy level and his “set” for response. In sum, “the conscious experience of emotion appears, then, to be a complex which includes awareness of the stimulus and its significance, awareness of the set for response, and awareness of certain physiological changes which are occurring in the individual.” Although Duffy is known for the formula EMOTION = ENERGY + DIRECTION (toward or away from a goal), in fact, there is a third component, “discrimination” or “ response to relationships in the situation” which means “interpretation of the situation.” A more comprehensive formula might read: EMOTION = DISCRIMINATION + ENERGY + DIRECTION
  22. 22. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Papez’s (1937) psychoneural theory Complex neural structure mediates between emotional behaviour and experience. Role of hippocampus and hypothalamus (amygdala) influencing the cerebral cortex and adding emotional coloring to conscious experience. Relates to reticular formation and limbic system. Receives impulses from reticular formation and integrates information from the limbic system.
  23. 23. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Lindsley’s (1951) Activation Theory of Emotion & Motivation His theory incorporated excited emotions, such as rage, fear and terror as well as sleep, coma and drowsiness. Really a theory of activation - a central neural process in the brainstem’s Reticular Activating System. Excitation of the diffuse projection system tones up the cortex as a whole.
  24. 24. Unfolding Cognitive Behaviourism Lindsley’s (1951) Activation Theory of Emotion & Motivation Continuum from: Deep sleep, coma, death Light sleep Drowsiness Relaxed wakefulness Alert attentiveness
  25. 25. Lindsley emphasized the motivational aspect: (1) General alerting - arousal process which is dynamic and energizing (2) Sharpening of focus on stimulus cues which are associated with a goal or with satisfaction of a need (relates to attention) Attention - selective awareness of certain sensory messages with simultaneous suppression of others (activation and inhibition model) The brain integrates for consciousness, limited and relevant sensory information concerned with objects of attention. Central processes facilitate or block input from receptors (sort of like John Locke meets the 20th century). Relates to the excitatory level, level of energy mobilization, intensity of drive, and degree of arousal.