Chapter 12 Emotional Behaviors, Stress and Health Emotion Emotion Though emotions comprise a significant and crucial part of our individual and social experience, emotion is an elusive concept, difficult to define and measure. Through scientific research psychologists have learned much about nature of emotions, but some interesting and important questions remain unanswered. It is by no means true that we would make better decisions if we could keep our emotions in check. Brain_ damaged people with impaired emotions are generally inferior decision-makers. Emotions are a powerful informer of our decisions, closely related to motivation, as almost any motivation has an emotion tied to it. Excitement and Physiological Arousal The role of the autonomic nervous system The autonomic nervous system is the division that controls the functioning of the internal organs. The ANS has two subdivisions, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The Autonomic Nervous System The sympathetic nervous system The sympathetic nervous system is comprised of 2 chains of neuron clusters just to the left and right of the spinal cord. It increases the heart rate, breathing rate, production of sweat, and flow of adrenaline. It prepares the body for intense activity, “fight or flight” and other stress-related behaviors. It is the “crisis management” center. The parasympathetic nervous system is the long-term survival center, promoting rest by decreasing heart rate, digestion, and other functions that keep an organism alive in the long-term. The Autonomic Nervous System The two divisions of the ANS Both systems are active, and shifting between the two systems helps to keep the body in a balanced condition called homeostasis. We cannot directly control autonomic responses, but we can influence them by voluntary cognition and behavior, for example, athletes learn to control breathing and focus their concentration for improved aim. The Autonomic Nervous System The Opponent-Process Principle of emotions After sympathetic nervous system activity slows down, the body responds with increased parasympathetic activity Removal of a stimulus that excites one emotion causes a swing to an opposite emotion. The initial emotion is referred to as the “A” state, and the rebound emotion as the “B” state. With repetition of the cycle, the A state becomes weaker, and the B state becomes stronger and more prolonged. Emotion and Perceived Arousal The James-Lange theory of emotions Two nineteenth century psychologists, working independently, came up with a different interpretation of how emotion and physiological reactions are related. The James-Lange theory states that a person’s interpretation of a stimulus evokes the autonomic changes directly. The psychological experience of emotion is the individual’s perception of those physiological changes. You decide that you are happy because you are smiling, sad because you are frowning and tears are forming in your eyes. According to the James-Lange theory, the reactions are not enough to produce the emotions, but you will not have the full experience of the emotions without them. James-Lange Theory William James and Carl Lange proposed an idea that was opposed to the common-sense view. The James-Lange Theory proposes that physiological activity precedes the emotional experience. The Autonomic Nervous System Effects of decreased perceived arousal In the condition called pure autonomic failure the ANS stops regulating the internal organs. People who suffer from pure autonomic failure recognize situations that call for strong emotions (fear, elation) but they report that their emotions are much less intense. This is what the James-Lange theory predicts. Emotion and Perceived Arousal Schachter and Singer’s theory of emotions Another theory proposes that the physiological state is not the same thing as the emotion. According to the Schachter and Singer theory of emotions, the intensity of the physiological reaction determines only the intensity of the emotion, not the type of emotion. A person’s cognitive appraisal of the situation that determines the emotion that we experience. Research studies based on the Schachter and Singer theory leave some unanswered questions about the role of physiological arousal in contributing to the intensity of the emotional states. Two-Factor Theory Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer proposed yet another theory which suggests our physiology and cognitions create emotions. Emotions have two factors–physical arousal and cognitive label. Figure 12.4 Figure 12.4 According to Schachter and Singer’s theory, physiological arousal determines the intensity of an emotion, but a cognitive appraisal determines which emotion one feels. Cannon-Bard Theory Walter Cannon and Phillip Bard questioned the James-Lange Theory and proposed that an emotion-triggering stimulus and the body's arousal take place simultaneously (at the same time). The Range of Emotions Producing facial expressions The function of facial expressions in all primates is communication, especially communication of emotions. Facial expression of emotion is much more likely to occur in the presence of other people. Facial expressions of emotion are more likely to indicate a person’s true internal state than simple statements and other indicators. For example, a voluntary smile, such as the one you put on for a photographer, only utilizes the mouth muscles. A full, spontaneous smile, or Duchenne smile, also involves the eye muscles along with the mouth. Most people cannot voluntarily produce a Duchenne smile. But people also rely on gestures, changes in expression, and social situation to make more accurate judgments of others’ emotions. Emotions adjust our priorities and focus our attention on important information. The broaden-and-build hypothesis of positive emotions the function of happy moods is to increase our readiness to explore new ideas and opportunities. Mildly sad moods seem to increase the accuracy of our judgment and decision-making. Emotions may influence our moral decisions. Research studies using the Trolley Dilemma and Footbridge Dilemma, problems that involve making decisions about letting a small number of people die to save a larger number of people, have provided evidence that emotions play a powerful role in deciding the most moral course of action. A number of case studies of patients with brain damage suggest that the ability to experience and express emotions plays a key role in important life and moral decisions. Figure 12.17 Figure 12.17 (a) Should you flip a switch so the trolley goes down a track with one person instead of five? (b) Should you push a fat person off a bridge to save five people? Figure 12.18 Figure 12.18 In the 1990s researchers used modern technology to reconstruct the path that an iron bar must have made through the brain of Phineas Gage, who survived this injury in 1848. The damage impaired Gage’s judgment and decision-making ability. Emotional Intelligence Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive, imagine and understand emotions and to use that information in decision-making. The idea of emotional intelligence has gained a great deal of popularity over the past few decades, in psychology and related fields. Fear and Anxiety Fear and anxiety feel the same but can be distinguished Fear is a response to an immediate danger. Anxiety is an increase in the startle reflex, usually accompanied by a sense of dread. Fear and Anxiety Some researchers are investigating the relationship between emotions and brain activity. There is evidence linking the emotions of fear or anxiety to the amygdala. The Amygdala performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions Controls Autonomic Responses Associated with Fear Emotional Responses Hormonal Secretions The amygdala is an almond shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobes in the brain When the amygdala is damaged, a person’s ability to experience these feelings may be impaired. Figure 12.19 Figure 12.19 The amygdala sends information to the pons and medulla. This drawing is of a human brain, although the relevant experiments were conducted with rats. Damage to the amygdala also diminishes the ability to recognize the signs of these feelings in other people. There is also impairment in the ability to recognize anger, disgust and surprise. The amygdala may be specialized to process information relative to several kinds of emotions Lie Detection Throughout history, humans have been determined to find a reliable test to determine whether a person is telling the truth or is lying. One of the most frequently used methods involves the use of a polygraph or “lie detector.” A polygraph measures arousal such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and electrical conduction of the skin in reaction to a series of questions. A polygraph is a machine that records several indications of sympathetic nervous system arousal: blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and electrical conduction of the skin. Although the some people will confess simply because they believe that the polygraph will catch them if they do not tell the truth. Some people are quite capable of regulating reactions well enough to fool the machine. The interrogator asks about information that would only be known to someone who had been involved in the crime. The suspect is expected to show heightened arousal in response to the correct details. Although the guilty knowledge test improves the accuracy of polygraph use, it is by no means flawless and can only be used when law enforcement has a great deal of information about the crime that would not be known to the general public. It has been shown that when people lie, they experience increased blood flow to the face. A thermal camera can detect this blood flow, without making contact with the person’s body. Psychologist Paul Ekman has developed a fairly good method based on observation of facial expressions. His research suggests that people who are trying to keep a happy or “straight” face still make very subtle, quick facial expressions of negative emotion when trying to lie. He calls these movements “microexpressions.” Causes of Anger Frustration and aggression The frustration-aggression hypothesis is the idea long held by psychologists that a failure to obtain a desired or expected goal leads to aggressive behavior. The fact that frustration leads to anger does not necessitate that the anger will lead to aggression. Frustration appears to play a role only in emotional aggression. More recently, researchers have proposed that any unpleasant event provokes a fight or flight reaction. The likelihood of violence resulting from frustration is particularly high in a sexual context. One of the most common causes of murder is sexual jealousy. Individual Differences in Anger and Aggression In many professional contexts, psychologists are asked to predict who will be violent, and how violent they might be. The best predictor of future violent behavior is past violent behavior. Some other factors that have been linked to violent tendencies are: Having been physically abused as a child Having witnessed violence between one’s parents Use of alcohol or drugs History of impulsive acts Growing up in a violent neighborhood Lack of remorse after hurting someone Weaker than average level of physiological response to arousal Smaller than average prefrontal cortex Decreased release of serotonin in the prefrontal cortex History of suicide attempts Preference for violent television programming Men are more violent in general than women. Concept Check: Name some other factors that have been associated with tendencies towards violent behavior. Childhood abuse and exposure to domestic violence/violent neighborhood Drug and alcohol use History of impulsive behavior History of suicide attempts Various biological factors Diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder Sexual Violence Rape Rape is defined as sexual contact obtained through violence, coercion, or threats. In practice, rape is defined on a continuum that ranges from forcible rape to a refusal to respect ambiguous resistance. Verbal coaxing can result in a woman having unwanted sex. Men are encouraged to disregard women’s refusals as part of a “script” for negotiating sexual relations. What kind of men commit rape? The best available evidence suggests that most perpetraters of sexual violence have a history of hostility and aggression towards women and men. At Rutgers, we have a Sexual Assault Service & Crime Victim office at 3 Bartlett St, College Avenue Controlling Violence We like to believe that people are fundamentally good, and that violence and cruelty result from social problems that can be corrected: poverty, injustice, ignorance, and low self-esteem. Harsh punishments are probably not the answer. Children do need guidance and supervision, and consequences that are quick, certain, and logical. People can be taught at any age to handle frustration more effectively and to learn non-violent ways to negotiate for the things that they want. Anger management training is sometimes used effectively for this purpose. Happiness Martin Seligman and other psychologists have been developing a perspective called positive psychology. Positive psychology is the study of features that enrich life, such as hope, creativity, courage, spirituality and responsibility. American researchers have focused on the perception of subjective well-being. Subjective well-being is the individual’s assessment of the degree to which his or her life is pleasant, interesting and satisfying. A Survey on what would cause an increase in happiness, most people said: - Money / A good job More leisure time A boyfriend or girlfriend (or a new one) Have happy parents Be involved in activities that are important to you Have strong connections with other people Sadness is almost always reported to be a reaction to loss. Surprise is usually listed as a basic emotion by most psychologists but little research has been done related to it. Disgust is an emotional reaction that appears to derive from the reaction one would have if one discovered that contaminated matter was in one’s mouth. Contempt is based upon a reaction to violation of community standards. Embarrassment, guilt, shame and pride are related “self-conscious” emotions based on our view of how people regard us and our actions. Stress Selye’s Concept of Stress A variety of experiences can cause stress. The physician Hans Selye defined stress as “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it.” Selye’s definition emphasizes the role that changes in one’s life play in causing stress. Selye proposed that the body responds to stress in three distinct stages: Alarm – a brief period of high arousal of the SNS, which readies the body for vigorous activity. Resistance – if the stressor goes on more than a few minutes, the body enters a phase of prolonged, moderate arousal. Exhaustion – long-lasting stress causes a depletion of proteins in the immune system resulting in fatigue, weakness and increased vulnerability to illness. Arnold Lazarus devised a different perspective on measuring Stress. According to Lazarus, a stressful situation is one that a person regards as threatening and possibly exceeding his or her resources Table 12.1 The most accurate way to measure stress would be through a careful and detailed interview to assess all the possible stressors and positive aspects in an individual’s life Concept Check: 16-year-old Brenda has broken up with her boyfriend, lost her job as a cashier at Burger Tyrant, and been kicked off the varsity girl’s soccer team. Yet she scores in the mild stress range on the stress checklist that her guidance counselor administered to her yesterday. What are some possible interpretations of these facts? Although it is possible the Brenda is showing signs of an emotional problem or drug use (or both), it is also possible that her feelings towards her boyfriend had changed, that she hated her job at restaurant, and that she disliked playing soccer but was doing so to please her parents (for example). How Stress Affects Health Stress has indirect effects and direct effects on physical health Indirect effects include any changes in behavior – loss of sleep, use of substances or anxiety generated by negative suggestion – that can damage health in the long-term. Direct effects stem from prolonged activation of the SNS, leading to prolonged exposure to cortisol, which can damage memory and inhibit immune system functioning. How Stress Affects Health Heart disease In the 1970s a physician hypothesized a link between an impatient, success-driven personality and heart disease. Type A personality describes a highly competitive, impatient, hurried person who typically has an angry and hostile temperament. Type A is a term used for competitive, hard-driving, impatient, verbally aggressive, and anger-prone people. Considered a risk in heart disease. Type B personality designates those who are easygoing, less hurried and less hostile. Type B refers to easygoing, relaxed people, relaxed approach to life, without time urgency, impatience. Cancer Fear or anxiety can prevent people from taking preventative steps such as performing self-examinations. Emotional states and stress may lead to impairment of the immune system so that a greater risk of certain types of cancer will occur. Stress and Cancer Stress does not create cancer cells. Researchers disagree on whether stress influences the progression of cancer. However, they do agree that avoiding stress and having a hopeful attitude cannot reverse advanced cancer. The Norman Cousins Story: He discovered he had 6 months to live. He decided to beat the cancer or delay it. He learned to deal with the cancer by taking a positive approach to living. He lived another ten years. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder A prolonged period of anxiety and depression following the experience of an extremely stressful event is known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This disorder has been well-documented in war veterans and those who have survived violent crimes and serious accidents. Some people who endure these events do not suffer PTSD, so the causes of this disorder are still not fully understood. People with PTSD suffer from nightmares, emotional outbursts, guilt, and flashbacks that may cause debilitating panic. Social support Just talking about an experience with someone you trust can be a great relief. Talking with any sympathetic and supportive person can be useful. It is particularly helpful to talk with others who are having or have had similar problems. Giving support can be even more stress-reducing than receiving it. Coping with Stress Reducing stress by changing events that cause stress or by changing how we react to stress is called Problem-focused coping. Problem-focused – Attending carefully to the stressful event and trying to take effective action. If you are experiencing stress due to an upcoming psychology test, a problem-focused strategy of taking effective action is probably warranted. Form a study group and hit the books Emotion-focused coping is when we cannot change a stressful situation, and we respond by attending to our own emotional needs. Emotion-focused – The strategy involving attempts to avoid thinking about or focusing on a stressful situation. If you are caught in a major traffic tie-up, an emotion-focused strategy is probably a better tack, as there is really nothing you can do about your situation. Turn on the radio and chill out. Emotion-focused strategies attempt to manage the reaction to the stressor rather than take action in response to it. Relaxation, exercise are strategies to manage this.