The central importance of emotions in human behavior is easily seen when we try to imagine life without it.
Psychologists have been interested in the topic of emotions since the beginning of psychology in the late 1800's.
Emotions are Adaptive
Charles Darwin proposed that there is an evolutionary link between the experience of emotion and facial expression of emotion.
He speculated that our ancestors communicated with facial expressions in the absence of language.
Nonverbal facial expressions led to our ancestor’s survival.
Several components to an emotion:
Emotions typically occur in response to an event, usually a social event, real, remembered, anticipated, or imagined (Ekman, 1993)
Emotion is a reaction to a stimulus e.g., a test, a date, a snake
We usually don't experience real joy, anger or fear without some cause
A person’s “Cognitive Appraisal” of events in their lives is a key determinant of the emotion they are experiencing
Is the event or perceive stimulus a positive thing?
Includes an evaluative aspect
May be pleasant or unpleasant but is never neutral to us.
With emotions comes activity in areas of the brain such as the limbic system and the thalamus which influences the autonomic nervous system.
Autonomic nervous system (ANS)
Physiological responses related to the emotions of fear, anger, love, and boredom are very similar.
Physical responses, like finger temperature and movement of facial muscles, change during fear, rage, and joy.
Nonverbal Expressive Behavior
Charles Darwin - First to study the relationship between emotions and facial expressions
What primary emotions have distinctive facial expressions that we can determine at a glance?
Many scientists believe there are only 6 primary ones (Note: there are more than 6 primary emotions
Facial Expression based on the work of Paul Ekman
Face-in-the Crowd Effect
In a crowd of faces a single angry face will “pop out” faster than a single happy face (Fox et al.
Does physiological arousal precede or follow your emotional experience?
When you become happy, your heart starts beating faster. First comes conscious awareness, then comes physiological activity.