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To what extent do cognitive and biological factors interact in emotion

To what extent do cognitive and biological factors interact in emotion

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To what extent do cognitive and biological factors interact in emotion

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  1. To what extent do cognitive and biological factors interact in emotion

  2. What is emotion?  • A feeling?  • Then what is a feeling?  • These terms are difficult to define and even more difficult to understand completely. 

  3. 30 yrs ago, experimental psychology silent on emotions • Psych wants to be a science, emotions too flakey • How do you even study emotion? • Emotional revolution (1990 – and ongoing) R. Zajonc: Humans have emotions! Emotions affect thinking and behavior.

  4. The mainstream definition of emotion refers to a feeling state involving thoughts, physiological changes, and an outward expression or behavior.  • But what comes first?  The thought?  The physiological arousal?  The behavior? 

  5. There are three basic components of emotions: • Physical: The physical component of emotion is the arousal of the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system. We are not consciously aware of this arousal. • Cognitive: The cognitive component is our interpretation of a stimulus or feeling. For example; if you are alone, sitting in the dark, watching a scary movie, and you hear a loud noise, you may become scared. • Behavioral: This component is the associated behavior. We cry because we are sad or run because we are scared.

  6. Biological theories of Emotions1.James – Lange theory

  7. James-Lange Somatic Theory of Emotions • The body informs the mind (we know we are sad because we cry) • Distinctive body changes/symptoms are accompanied by different emotions • Perception of these changes/symptoms determines the experience of emotion • Differences between emotions are a direct result of the different patterns of physiological response associated with them

  8. Support for james-lange theoryfacial feedback hypothesis • Such a theory can be supported by research such as Laird’s ( 1974) Facial feedback hypothesis. • According to facial feedback theory, emotion is the experience of changes in our facial muscles.  • In other words, when we smile, we then experience pleasure, or happiness.  • When we frown, we then experience sadness.  • It is the changes in our facial muscles that cue our brains and provide the basis of our emotions.  • Just as there are an unlimited number of muscle configurations in our face, so to are there a seemingly unlimited number of emotions

  9. In his study he induced participants to make facial expressions corresponding to specific emotions (with electrodes attached to face). • He found that participants reported emotions consistent with the facial expression e.g., those told to “pull brows together” reported feeling angry . Subjects also had stronger emotional reactions to stimuli consistent with the emotion of a particular facial expression they made e.g., subjects who smiled found cartoons funnier than subjects using other facial muscles

  10. Criticism of james-lange theory • However a study by Maranon ( 1924) contradicts the James-Lange theory. Participants were injected with adrenaline (which is associated with fear). • 71% of participants reported only physical sensations, with no emotional reaction. • The remaining participants merely reported ‘as if’ they were feeling an emotion. • This suggests that physiological arousal is not sufficient to produce emotional experiences. • This suggests that cognitive factors need to be brought into a theory of emotions.

  11. Schacter ( 1964 ) Two – factor theory • Schacter ( 1964) was the first theorist to bring together the two elements of physiological arousal and cognition. • It is sometimes known as the two-factor theory of emotion. • For an emotion to be experienced, a physiological state of arousal is necessary AND situational factors will then determine how we interpret this arousal. • In other words, an event causes physiological arousal first.  • You must then identify a reason for this arousal and then you are able to experience and label the emotion.

  12. For example you are walking down a dark alley late at night.  You hear footsteps behind you and you begin to tremble, your heart beats faster, and your breathing deepens.  Upon noticing this arousal you realize that is comes from the fact that you are walking down a dark alley by yourself.  This behavior is dangerous and therefore you feel the emotion of fear.

  13. The strength of physiological arousal will determine the strength of emotion experienced, while the situation will determine the type of emotion. • These two factors are independent of each other BUT both are necessary for the emotion to be experienced. • A classic study by Schacter & Singer ( 1962) supports these ideas, in which participants, unable to label certain emotions looked to the behavior of confederates in order to provide cues for their emotions. • This suggests that feelings/emotions are meaningless in isolation, and it is our labeling of them which helps us make sense of them.

  14. IN the history of emotion theory, four major explanations for the complex mental and physical experiences that we call "feelings" have been put forward. They are; • the James-Lange theory in the 1920's, (event ==> arousal ==> interpretation ==> emotion) • the Cannon-Bard theory in the 1930's, (event ==> Simultaneous arousal and emotion) • the Schacter-Singer theory in the 1960's, (event ==> arousal ==> reasoning ==> emotion • Lazarus theory, developed in the 1980's and ‘90's. (event ==> thinking ==> Simultaneous arousal and emotion)

  15. Schacter & Singer Aim • To investigate ‘2 factor theory’ which states that arousal, plus cognition to make sense of emotional experience Method • Lab experiment 184 Male college students • IV = information given about adrenaline • IV = euphoria ( happy ) or angry situation

  16. Schacter & Singer Procedure • 4 x physiological conditions • ‘Ignorant’ - adrenaline + no info • ‘Informed’ - adrenaline + correct info • ‘Misinformed’ - adrenaline + wrong info • Placebo • 2 x emotional conditions • 'euphoria' • 'anger'

  17. Schacter & Singer Results • Subjects who were misled or naive ( conditions 1 & 3 )about the injection's effects needed to explain the arousal they were experiencing. The behaviour of the confederates acted as a cue to identify this arousal as anger or euphoria. Conclusions • This suggests that subjects who were informed were able to cognitively attribute the physiological effects of the adrenaline, while the uninformed or misinformed groups could perform no such attribution. • Schachter's cognitive labelling theory derives from these findings and forms the basis of the Two Factor theory of emotion

  18. Ethics in Schacter & Singer • No informed consent or proper right of withdrawal (participants were bribed to take part). • Participants were deceived and some were harmed by being made angry.

  19. Schacter & Singer • Other theories have built on the work of Schacter & Singer and current research now focuses on cognition as a central factor of emotion

  20. Lazarus ( 1982 ) appraisal theory • Whilst there are some problems with Schacter’s theory it has nonetheless been an important influence on theoretical accounts of emotion. • Lazarus has built on the work of Schachter and also proposed a theory that demonstrates the interaction of cognitions and biology in understanding emotions.

  21. He has however, emphasised the role of cognitions or ‘cognitive appraisals’. • He argued that an emotion-provoking stimulus triggers a cognitive appraisal, which is followed by the emotion and the physiological arousal. • He suggested we initially make a brief analysis of a situation in terms of whether or not it represents a threat ( we appraise a situation). • Cognitive appraisal of the situation determines the level of physiological arousal and the specific type of emotion to be experienced

  22. Put simply you must first think about your situation before you can experience an emotion. • For example you are walking down a dark alley late at night.  • You hear footsteps behind you and you think it may be a mugger • so you begin to tremble, your heart beats faster, and your breathing deepens and at the same time experience fear

  23. Lazarus • His theory focuses on the appraisal of the situation and he identified three stages of appraisal • Primary appraisal (relevance) – in which we consider how the situation affects our personal well-being or how threatening the situation is. • Secondary appraisal (options) - we consider how we might cope with the situation • Reappraisal ( ability to handle emotion) - Reappraisal refers to whether the emotion / situation is changeable or manageable

  24. Speisman et al ( 1964 ) • A study that supports Lazarus theory is that conducted by Speisman. He showed college students a film called ‘Sub-incision’, a graphic film about an initiation ceremony involving unpleasant genital surgery. • The aim was see if the people’s emotional reactions could be manipulated. The experiment deliberately manipulated the participants appraisal of the situation and evaluated the effect of the type of appraisal on their emotional response. • Group 1: One group saw the film with no sound. ( control ) • Group 2: Another group heard a soundtrack with a "trauma" narrative emphasizing the pain, danger, and primitiveness of the operation. • Group 3: A third group heard a "denial" narration that denied the pain and potential harm to the boys, describing them as willing participants in a joyful occasion who "look forward to the happy conclusion of the ceremony." • Group 4: The fourth group heard an anthropological ( cultural, scientfic )interpretation of the ceremony.

  25. Speiseman et al • Physiological ( heart rate ) and self-report measures of stress were taken. • Those who heard the trauma narration reacted with more stress than the control group (no sound); • those who heard the denial and scientific narrations reacted with less stress than the control group. • Such results seem to support Lazarus’s theory that it is not the events themselves that elicit emotional stress but rather the individual’s interpretation or appraisal of those events.

  26. Le Doux’s (1999) Theory of the emotional brain • Due to evolution – emotional reactions are flexible. Learning to detect danger is essential for survival. • Humans have also developed ‘conscious experience’ of emotion that helps to evaluate the level of danger. • Dual route – two pathways of emotion in the brain

  27. Le Doux’s (1999) Theory of the emotional brain

  28. Le Doux’s (1999) Theory of the emotional brain

  29. Le Doux’s (1999) Theory of the emotional brain • 1. Short Route: Amygdala reacts immediately to sensory input and activates response system (physiological stress response – the ‘fight or flight’). This is useful when one is in immediate danger where quick reactions are needed. • 2. Long route: The sensory input goes via the sensory cortex to the hippocampus. This route involves evaluation of the stimulus and consideration of an appropriate response. This could link to Lazarus’ Cognitive Appraisal’.

  30. Evaluate one theory of how emotion can affect one cognitive process

  31. Emotion and memory When; Japanese Tsunami World trade centre ( NY) was attacked Michael Jackson died • Where you were ? • What you were doing ? • How you were informed ? • How you reacted ?

  32. Flashbulb memory • Originally described by Brown & Kulik (1977): • A theory that refers to vivid and detailed memories of highly emotional events that appear to be recorded in the brain as though with the help of a camera’s flash • Brown + Kulik suggested that a special mechanism in the brain is activated by events which produce high levels of emotion and surprise, and which are seen as particularly significant. As a result, the entire scene is 'printed' in memory as a 'flash'.

  33. Survey by Brown & Kulik 1977 • Participants were asked a series of questions testing their memories of ten major events, such as the assasination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 (14 years earlier). • Results showed Memories for such events were particularly vivid, detailed and long lasting. • People usually remembered where they were when they heard the news, how they heard it, what they and others were doing at the time, and the emotional impact of the news on themselves and those around them

  34. Evaluation • The probability of report of flashbulb memory depends on the degree the person remembering was affected. Black people more likely than caucasians to have flashbulb memory concerning the deaths of MLK and Malcolm X (McCloskey, Wible & Cohen 1988). • Danes involved with the Danish resistance movement more likely than those uninvolved to have a flashbulb experience – reporting weather, time of day, day accurately for the liberation of Denmark (Berntson & Thomsen, 2005)

  35. Evaluation Three Questions: • Are Flashbulb Memories as accurate as they seem? • Do we need a special mechanism to explain them? • What is the baseline to determine whether a memory is ‘vivid’?

  36. Evaluation • Other events such as graduating from college or a first romance can be recalled in the same way as flashbulb memories. Suggesting that FLASHBULB MEMORIES ARE NO DIFFERENT from ordinary memories. • Flashbulb memories are sometimes quite INACCURATE. McCloskey et al, 1988, found that people who were asked to recall the Challenger explosion recalled an increasing amount of inaccurate details over time.

  37. Neisser ( 1982) • Questioned the idea of flashbulb memories on the basis that people do not always know an event is important until later • He suggested that the memories are so vivid because the event is rehearsed and reconsidered after the event

  38. Neisser & Harsch ( 1992) • 28 January 1986 7 astronauts aboard the spaceship Challenger were killed on launch • It was a shocking experience for those who watched the shuttle launch in person or on TV

  39. Neisser & Harsch ( 1992) • AIM: to test Flashbulb memory by investigating the extent to which the memory of a shocking event would be accurate after a period of time • 106 Psychology students were given a questionnaire and asked how they had heard the news of the Challenger shuttle disaster (eg where they were; what they were doing; emotional experiences at the time • Participants answered the questionnaire less than 24 hours after the event • 36 months later – 44 answered the original questionnaire again. Asked to rate how confident they were of their memories (1-5). Also asked if they had filled out a questionnaire on the subject before • Also undertook a semi-structured interview to test whether the pps could remember what they had previously written. They saw their original reports from the questionnaire

  40. Results & Evaluation • 11 (of 44) remembered filling out the questionnaire • Major discrepancies between the original questionnaire and the follow up. The mean score of correctness of recall was 2.95 out of 7. 11 scored 0. 22 scored 2 or less. Average confidence level was 4.17. • Results challenge FM and memory reliability • Possibly post-event information had influenced their memories. • Study had high ecological validity. Although Psych students participating for credit may not be representative. • Talarico & Robin ( 2003) found that emotional intensity was often associated with greater memory confidence but not with accuracy

  41. Neisser ( 1982) • According to Neisser what is called a flashbulb memory may simply be a narrative convention. • The flashbulb memories are governed by a storytelling schema followed by a specific narrative, such as place ( where were we?), activity ( what were we doing?), informant ( who told us?), and affect ( how do we feel about it/)

  42. Further research • Davidson, Cook & Glisky (2006) contrasted memory of 9/11 with everyday memory. After one year – correlation of .77 between initial and subsequent recollection of 9/11 (good retention) compared with .33 for more everyday memories. • Talarico & Rubin (2003) found the same degree and loss of detail of 9/11 for both flashbulb and everyday memories – but participants believed their memories of 9/11 were clearer

  43. Possible explanations of WHY people have vivid autobiographical memories of ‘flashbulb’ events. • Incidents highly distinctive – little danger of being confused with other events • Tendency to talk about the events repeatedly with others – and see the events in the media – effectively rehearsing them • Tend to be important events that create changes in peoples’ lives • Events themselves tend to give rise to emotional response