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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Lesson 28
Physiological Changes during Emotions
· Psychologists believed that emotions can be measured quantitatively by observing different physiological
responses of the individual = indicators of emotions.
· They also believed that they themselves are different emotional states.
· The major physiological changes that occur during emotions are:
1. Respiratory Changes
· The most apparent and obvious change during emotions.
· During emotions, respiration increases; occurs also when the person is happy or excited.
· But the production and secretion of saliva decreases as the process of respiration increases.
2. Pupillometrics
· Darwin was the first person who identifies this phenomenon.
· Pupil of the eye is very responsive during emotions.
· Dilates at favorable stimulus and contracts at unfavorable stimulus.
· Our pupil is also very responsive to favorable and unfavorable sounds and taste.
3. Changes in Blood Pressure and heart rate
· Variations in blood pressure occur during emotions; usually increases during an emotional state.
· Heartbeat also increases during emotions.
· Increased blood pressure and heightened heart rate for prolonged periods may lead to coronary
heart disease.
4. Glandular Responses
· During strong emotional states such as anger or fear, excessive amounts of hormones adrenaline and
nor adrenaline are secreted into the blood stream.
· Due to this secretion; Liver secretes excessive amounts of glucose directly into the blood stream that
causes the blood to clot rapidly in case of injury or damage.
· Blood pressure and sugar level rises, pulse become fast, air passage of the lungs enlarges and causes more air
into the lungs, pupil enlarge, sweat appears all over the body particularly on hands, and temperature of the
skin rises.
· Nor adrenaline helps to constrict the blood vessels, thus making it available to other parts of the body in
case of injury.
· Pituitary and thyroid glands are also responsive to emotional states.
· All the glandular responses help to cope physically with the emotional as well as emergency
situations.Gastrointestinal Function
Stomach and intestines are also very responsive to emotional states.
They either start working at a very high rate or stop entirely.
During strong emotional arousal, its working speed decreases and flow of blood is
more towards the brain and the skeletal muscles rather than these organs.
6. Neural Reactions
Besides affecting visceral organs of the body, emotions also bring changes in the
neural/ nerve activity.
Autonomic division of the P.N.S. is more effective in this regard in which
sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work successively.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
7. Galvanic Skin Response
When perspiration appears during emotions, two important changes occur in skin's
electrical stimulation:
oRapid generation of electromotive energy
oThe electrical resistance of skin changes
· These changes can be measured
through a measurement of "Galvanic Skin
Response (GSR)"; formally called " Psycho Galvanic Response (PGR).
·Galvanic skin response, in combination with the respiration and blood pressure, is used for lie detection
with people who are supposed to be guilty of some crime.
8. Emotional Intensity and State of Arousal
Most of the times we are aware of our emotional states such as angry, excited or
afraid, in all these states, the physiological conditions are the same e.g., heart beat
increases, face blushes or becomes pale.
That is why we are unable, at times, to differentiate between different emotions and
the associated arousal.
Other Common Bodily Changes during Emotions
Dryness of throat and mouth,
Muscle tension,
Weakness or fainting,
Trembling, and
Sinking feeling in heart or stomach
Theories of Emotions
·  Psychologists have attempted to define and explain the emotional arousal and
physiological conditions that accompany them.
A number of theories have been developed in this regard, but the most famous ones are;
James- Lange theory of emotions
Cannon- Bard theory of emotions
Schachter- Singer theory of emotions; (Cognitive Labeling Theory/ Two Factor Theory)
Other important theories include:
· Cognitive Appraisal Theory: Richard Lazarus
· Cognitive Theory: Magda Arnold
· Opponent- Process Theory: Solomon and Corbit
· Activation Theory: Lindsley
· Theory of Emotions: Albert Ellis
1. James- Lange Theory of Emotions
Earliest theory of emotion; now considered as the classical approach to emotions.
Given by American psychologist, William James and Danish psychologist, Carl
Lange in the 19th century.
Emotional experience occurs in reaction to instinctive bodily events that take place
as a result of an external situation: "...we feel sorry because we cry, angry because
we strike, afraid because we tremble" (James, 1890).
Physiological changes create specific sensations, and our brain interprets these
sensations as different emotions.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
·Theory asserts that awareness of the physiological responses determines our emotional arousal.
Sequence of Events in James-Lange Model
Experience of an emotion-involving situation i.e., find oneself in a waiting room before first job interview.
Physiological responses take place; visceral bodily changes are activated e.g. pounding heart, sweaty palms,
respiration increases and other physiological states.
Brain interprets these physiological changes as emotional experience. In the case of the interview situation,
Criticism against James-Lange model
·  On most emotional occasions we experience the emotion quite immediately after a triggering
stimulus e.g. hearing loud bang and being startled. Are our visceral responses that fast??
·  Many a time we don't even have enough time for this intermediate part. We feel the emotion
immediately after the stimulus is registered e.g. feeling disgust at the very sight of someone we
· The most basic criticism of this theory is emotional experience (fear) results from the physiological
responses after evaluating the situation.
· On many occasions we experience physiological changes but no emotion e.g. patients of
hypertension experience raised blood pressure but do not experience associated emotion. It is the
case with joggers whose heart does pound but there is no emotional experience.
How do same physiological changes create different emotional experiences???
Brain interprets the visceral
changes as emotional
2. Cannon- Bard Theory of Emotions
Given by Walter Canon and Philip Bard in 1920's
The theory assumes that emotional states and the physiological reactions work
independently, but are triggered by the same nerve impulse simultaneously.
1. Perception of the emotion-inducing stimulus
2. Thalamus is activated.
3. Thalamus sends messages to two sites i.e.,
a) The Autonomic nervous system, thereby producing a visceral response.
b) The cerebral cortex receives a message regarding the nature of emotion being
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Perception of
Message to the cortex about
emotional experience
Major drawback
Research has shown that it is the hypothalamus and the limbic system that are responsible for
emotional experience, and not the thalamus!!!!!
3. Cognitive Labeling Theory/ Two Factor Theory of Emotions
· Pioneer: Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer (1962).
· According to them, emotions result from the physiological arousal as well as the cognitive
appraisal (evaluation) of the situation.
· Arousal comes first and is general in nature.
· Two forces jointly determine emotional experience:
Nonspecific kind of physiological arousal, and
The interpretation of the experience based on environmental cues.
· Both of these factors jointly determine the title/label of the emotion, and the meaning of one's reaction.
· We observe the environment and compare ourselves with others, and this help us identify our emotion.
Schachter's- Singer Theory of Emotions
Heart /Perspiration
Stimulus elicits
Felt emotion
Incoming car
(Perception of
`I am afraid'/going
to be hurt(cognitive appraisal/ label
Labeling of the emotional experience is entirely dependent on the experiencing individual__ one`s own
· Believed that physiological arousal determines the intensity of emotions.
· Theory includes the physiology cognitive processes as well as social psychology to investigate the nature of
emotions. Cognitive Appraisal Theory: Richard Lazarus
Given by Richard Lazarus and his colleagues in 1968
The theory maintains that emotional experience cannot solely be understood of its
own, but understanding the environment is to be evaluated.
Appraisal involves cognition, bodily responses and memory.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Experienced Emotion
Richard Lazarus Gave two basic types of appraisal
i. Primary appraisal: Evaluate whether the situation is
threatening or not
ii. Secondary appraisal: Involve alternatives in order to
deal with the perceived threat
iii.Reappraisal: Includes re evaluating the situation and
alternative in order to see whether the judgment is true or
5. Cognitive Theory: Magda Arnold
Given in 1966; one of the first ones who use the concept of cognition in emotional state
His model is known as "Sequential model".
The steps involved in emotions are;
Perception; how the situation is being perceived.
Appraisal; Stimulus is beneficial or harmful to ourselves.
Determining emotions with regard to the prevailing situation.
Expressing emotions; Also accompanying physiological responses.
Finally, they all work to give idea whether to approach a situation or withdraw from it.
6. Opponent- Process Theory: Solomon and Corbit
Given by Richard Solomon and John Corbit in 1974.
Theory maintains that every emotional arousal has an opposite, i.e. when one type
of emotion is elicited, and then there must be an opposite that is there to suppress
or cancel it.
In this way the emotional arousal remain at some base- line.
Base line
State A
State B
7. Activation Theory: Lindsley
(1951, 1957)
Based his theory by observing that reticular system activates the cortex region in the
brain that ultimately aroused/ excites the organism.
Believed that emotional arousal activate the reticular part of the brain present in the
brain stem, that ultimately sends impulses to the thalamus and cortex and bring
about emotional arousal.
And if the reticular part is at rest, then the emotional state is calm and relaxing.
8. Theory of Emotions: Albert Ellis
Given by American psychologist, Albert Ellis.
According to him, emotions do not result from a single cause, but originate from
three different ways.
oFirst, sensory- motor; involves brain and muscles.
oSecond, bio chemical stimulation; function to mediate processes of ANS, hypothalamus
and sub- cortical regions.
oThird, cognitive and thinking processes.
To him, emotions do not exist independently but involves several stages in order to take place.
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology