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Chapter 13 - Emotion

  • Emotion- a response of the whole organism
  • Physiological arousal
  • Expressive behaviors
  • Conscious experience

Emotional Arousal

  • Autonomic nervous system controls physiological arousal
  • Arousal and Performance- Performance peaks at lower levels of arousal for difficult tasks, and at higher levels for easy or well-learned tasks.


Emotion-Lie Detectors

  • Polygraph- machine that is commonly used in attempt to detect lies; measures several of the physiological responses accompanying emotion (i.e. perspiration, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing changes0
  • Control Question
  • Up to age 18, did you ever physically harm anyone?
  • Relevant Question
  • Did the deceased threaten to harm you in any way?
  • Is 70% accuracy good?
  • Assume 5% of 1000 employees actually guilty…after testing all employees 285 will be wrongly accused
  • What about 95% accuracy?
  • Assume that 1 in 1000 employees actually guilty…after testing all employees 50 are wrongly declared guilty and 1 of 51 testing positive are guilty (2%)


Experiencing Emotion

  • The amygdala is a neural key to fear learning
  • Catharsis- emotional release; catharsis hypothesis- "releasing" aggressive energy (through action or fantasy) relieves aggressive urges
  • Feel-good, do-good phenomenon- people's tendency to be helpful when already in a good mood.
  • Subjective Well-Being-  self perceived happiness or satisfaction with life; used along with measures of objective well-being (physical and economic indicators to evaluate people’s quality of life.
  • Adaptation-Level Phenomenon-  tendency to from judgements relative to a “neutral” level (i.e. brightness of lights, volume of sound, level of income); defined by our prior experience
  • Relative Deprivation-  perception that one is worse off relative to those with whom one compares oneself


Theories of Emotion

  • Does you heart pound because you are afraid…or are you afraid because you feel your heart pounding?
  • James-Lange Theory of Emotion
Experience of emotion is awareness of physiological responses to emotion-arousing stimuli
  •  Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion
Emotion-arousing stimuli simultaneously trigger: physiological responses and subjective experience of emotion
  •  Schachter’s Two Factor Theory of Emotion
To experience emotion one must: be physically aroused and cognitively label the arousal
  • Emotion and cognition feed on each other



Myers, David G., Psychology Fifth Edition. Worth Publishers, Inc. New York, NY ©1998

Subject X2: 

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