PSYC 1100 Section 3.1 Emotion and Stress

    • Different but related ways of viewing the same behavioral conditions
    • emotion: emphasizes the internal stimuli, perceptions and cognitions associated with motivationally-relevant situations
    • stress: emphasizes that motivated conditions can present a challenge to normal psychological and physiological function
  2. Theories of Emotion
    • James-Lange Theory: emotions result from the organism’s perception of its own bodily (i.e., autonomic) arousal (reactions).  Emotionally significant stimuli increase autonomic nervous system activity (blood pressure, rapid shallow breathing etc.).  The organism perceives this arousal, and according to the theory this perception of arousal is the basis of emotion. 
    • - Proposed before scientists could measure autonomic nervous system activities
    • - An emotion is experienced if some autonomic activity has been going on (but not sure which emotion)

    Cannon-Bard Theory: autonomic arousal is only one aspect of emotion; an organism can be going through very different emotions, but the autonomic arousal can be basically the same.  Autonomic changes can indicate that emotions are being experienced, but not which emotion is being experienced.  Organisms process information about the situation in parallel with the autonomic arousal.

    • Schachter and Singer Theory: This is a follow-up to the Cannon-Bard theory.  According to this theory, emotion is a composite of autonomic arousal and the perception of the emotional valence of the stimulus
    • - Activation of adrenal gland: adrenaline. If only adrenaline is given, people don’t report much of an emotion. But if you are in the positive valence of emotion, you will experience a positive emotion. Vice versa.
    • - The autonomic arousal itself doesn’t produce an emotion, it’s the environment that evokes it

    • Circumplex Model of Emotions
    • -  based upon Schacter-Singer experiments and other data
    • - according to this idea, there are distinct dimensions of emotion (valence, arousal) and each emotion is an intersection along these dimensions

    • Alternative Theory: An alternative is that there are a small number of basic "building block" emotions. and every emotion is a combination of the basic ones
    • - There are a number of core emotional states

    • There is evidence for both theories.
    • - powerful emotions can activate either the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system
  3. Components of Emotions
    • Emotions are complex, and include many components
    • - autonomic: sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
    • - facial expressions: consistent expression across different cultures and different animals (dogs)
    • - posture: shoulders hanging down, clenched fists here
    • - cognitive components: the organism interprets what's in the situation (such as whether it's positive or negative)
  4. Brain Areas Related to Emotions
    • Amygdala: part of limbic system; lesions produce flat emotions; electrical stimulation produces sympathetic arousal, fear, agitation in animals; tumors near amygdala can lead to increased emotionality, even aggression, in humans (if the tumor is in the amygdala it will destroy the amygdala), It might lead to seizures
    • - anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium appear to suppress anxiety and stress by facilitating GABA (inhibitory) transmission in the amygdala

    Prefrontal cortex: lesions produce flat emotions, site of “lobotomy” or “transorbital leucotomy” surgery
  5. Lie Detection with a Polygraph?
    • Detects autonomic changes during emotion, including GSR (galvanic skin response; increased conductance due to increased sweating; marker of sympathetic adrenal activation)
    • - Change in sweating: better electricity conductor
    • Problem: - Different emotions can produce very similar autonomic changes (afraid)
    • - Easily beatable, putting a thumbtack in the toe that produces a higher response for comparison in advance; drugs can change physiological features

    Facial expressions can also indicate lying: more eyeblinks
  6. Motivation, Emotion and Stress
    • Different but related ways of viewing the same behavioral conditions
    • stress: emphasize that motivational conditions can present a challenge to normal psychological and physiological function
    • - can make psychiatric conditions even worse
  7. Stress activates various neutral and hormonal systems
    • Prefrontal cortex (one of the areas most activated by stress): increased DA and NE release
    • - stress might also a precipitating factor of schizophrenia
    • Sympatho/adrenal axis: increased sympathetic activity, increased release of adrenaline (epinephrine)
    • - adrenal medulla
    • Hypothalamo/pituitary/adrenal axis: (HPA) neuro/endocrine system
    • - hypothalamus regulates pituitary gland
    • - pituitary gland is also known as the “master gland”
    • - pituitary releases CRH causes release of ACTH, acts on part of the adrenal gland (adrenal cortex), and releases cortisol, which can act back on the brain and the immune system. Cortisol can be a stressor and is related to glucose

    Psychological stressors (exams) and physiological stressors (exercise)

    • Neuroendocrine Axes and Stress
    • Hypothalamus => pituitary => adrenal cortex => cortisol

    sympathetic system (ANS) => adrenal medulla => adrenaline

    • Sympatho/adrenal:
    • - increased heart rate, blood pressure
    • - more blood flow to arm/leg muscles
    • - rapid breathing
    • - “fight or flight” system, mobilize glucose, expend energy

    • Effects of Cortisol (glucocorticoid):
    • - increases blood glucose
    • - decreases available protein (in order to make more glucose)
    • - decreases immune response (fewer T and B lymphocytes)
    • - increases secretion of stomach acids
  8. Stress leads to ...
    • Acute effects:  mobilization of energy resources (more glucose available for large muscles), to deal with emergencies; at moderate levels, this is adaptive; more alert to stimuli
    • Chronic effects:
    • - muscle fatigue
    • - increase risk of infectious disease (more suppressed immune system)
    • - increased risk of psychiatric disorders (hormonal changes, susceptibility to multiple mental conditions PTSD)

    very intense or chronic stress can be maladaptive
Card Set
PSYC 1100 Section 3.1 Emotion and Stress
Sec 3.1