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Emotions

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Emotions Paper
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August 18, 2014

Introduction Emotion is a complex, subjective experience accompanied by biological and behavioral changes. Emotion involves feeling, thinking, and activation of the nervous system, physiological changes, and behavioral changes such as facial expressions. Different theories exist regarding how and why people experience emotions. These include evolutionary theories, the James-Lange Theory, the Cannon-Bard theory, Schacter and Singer’s two-factor theory, and cognitive appraisal.
Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion
Walter Bradford Cannon was best known for his developments in homeostasis; however he developed a theory of emotion called the Cannon-Bard theory. In the years of 1915 to 1920, Cannon began performing experiments to suggest that emotions came before reaction. “For example, Cannon surgically removed the entire SNS of a cat and found that whilst this abolished physical signals of arousal, the cat still showed anger, fear and pleasure. Cannon therefore argued that we are capable of feeling emotion before any bodily changes have taken place”. (Open. Web) He refined his results and expanded on the views and developed this new theory that was opposite of the present theories of the time, his theory was thought to be more sensible. According to the theory, arousal is something that does not have to come before an emotion. “It is suggested that emotions result when the thalamus sends a message to the brain in response to a stimulus, resulting in a physiological reaction”. (Cherry. Web) The thalamic region is the portion of the brain that plays a major role in this theory. Different areas of the brain react in the different theories. Most studies that are run based on this theory are performed on animals. The description on the theory is very simple; I see fire-I am afraid I begin to sweat. According to the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion, “we react to a stimulus and experience the associated emotion at the same time”. (Cherry. Web) Our motivation to take action is based on how we react to the stimulus. “The central theory by Cannon and Bard (1929) suggests that we feel fear when we see a snake and then run away, while peripheral theory by James and Lange (1922) suggest that we feel fear since we run away from snake”. (Hori. Web) Phillip Bard, in the 1930s expanded Cannons view by studying further into emotion. He sought out to find out what may be responsible for emotion. “Bard discovered that the cerebral cortex, which had been implicated in emotional behavior, seemed to inhibit emotion and aggression”. (Open. Web) He showed that emotional behavior including motivation, and anger are controlled by portions of the brain.
James-Lange Theory of Emotion
“We have experiences, and as a result, our autonomic nervous system creates physiological events such as muscular tension, heart rate increases, perspiration, dryness of the mouth, etc. This theory proposes that emotions happen as a result of these, rather than being the cause of them”(Sincero, S. 2012).The James-Lange Theory of Emotion was introduced by 19th century scholars William James and Carl Lange. This theory presents a sequence explaining the cause-and-effect relationship between emotions and physiological events.

The following sequence summarizes this theory of emotion:

Event ==> Arousal ==> Interpretation ==> Emotion

According to the James-Lange Theory, when there is an event that stimulates an individual (arousal), the autonomic nervous system reacts by creating physiological signs such as more perspiration, a faster heartbeat, increased muscle tension, and more. The brain interprets the reactions once these events occur. Emotions are then the result of the brain’s interpretation. “In this sense, the theory is likened to the “fight-or-flight” reaction, in which the bodily sensations prepare a person to react based on the brain’s interpretation of the event and the physiological events”(Sincero, S. 2012). In an attempt to give a simple explanation of his theory, Lange related the concept to the concept of common sense. For example, our common sense would tell us that if an individual sees a bear, he may tend to feel scared and then run. According to the James-Lange Theory, encountering a bear causes the autonomic nervous system to stimulate the muscles to get tensed and the heart to beat faster. After the body experiences these changes, the emotion of fear emerges. “It is as simple as saying that statement A, ‘My heart beats faster because I am afraid.’ is more rational than statement B, ‘I am afraid because my heart beats faster’ Furthermore, Lange explained that statement B would just make the perception of the event a pure cognitive occurrence, and would be ‘destitute of emotional warmth’”(Sincero, S. 2012).

Research Methods Used for Uncovering Basic Emotions
Facial expression is one research method for uncovering basic emotions. “The reasoning related to facial expressions is that basic emotions have facial expressions that correspond with that emotion, such as a frown coincides with sadness. Ekman and Izard assert that “if there is no distinctive facial expression, then the corresponding subjective state should not be considered an emotion facial expression” (Deckers, 2010). Facial expressions are very powerful tools in showing ones emotions. No matter what your age is, there is always an emotion that shows on an individual’s face.
“The eyes are frequently referred to as the "windows to the soul" since they are capable of revealing a great deal about what a person if feeling or thinking. As you engage in conversation with another person, taking note of eye movements is a natural and important part of the communication process. Some common things you may note is whether people are making direct eye contact or averting their gaze, how much they are blinking, or if their pupils are dilated”. (http://psychology.about.com)
“Facial expressions, are the result of facial muscle contractions, which induce movements of the facial skin and temporary deformations of the facial features, such as eyebrows, nose, and mouth” (p. 5). For example, an individual usually expresses sadness through his or her eyes, eyebrows, and mouth regions. Ekman asserts that “in sadness, the inner corners of brows are drawn up, skin below the eyebrow is triangulated with the inner corner up, upper eyelid inner corner is raised, corners of lips are down or the lip is trembling” (as cited in Lopatovska & Arapakis, 2010, p. 5). Facial expressions are a channel for emotions associated with the effect of the emotions, and serve as a universal language, which enriches the interactions between humans.( Lopatovska and Arapakis 2010)
Reading body language is another research method used for uncovering basic emotions. “Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate. Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate. According to experts, these nonverbal signals make up a huge part of daily communication.” (About psychology) “According to various researchers, body language is thought to account for between 50 to 70 percent of all communication. Understanding body language is important, but it is also essential to remember to note other cues such as context and to look at signals as a group rather than focusing on a single action. Learn more about some of the things to look for when you are trying to interpret body language.” (About psychology)
The Facial Feedback Hypothesis
Our facial expressions can often tell another person what our thoughts or feelings are at the moment. The facial feedback hypothesis also known as FFH teaches us that the actions of an individual’s facial muscles are the personal sensation of emotions (Deckers, 2005). Free expression of a person’s physical appearance of what their emotions are is what is displayed for others to see in which followed by the emotion itself. Facial feedback seems to moderate the emotion rather than be the actual causing agent of the emotion. (Buck, 1980, p. 812). Our facial expression is what is intended on giving others an idea of what we may be feeling at the moment therefore being the result of the emotion versus the cause. An individual’s facial movement is often what the influencing factor of what others will see for example, someone who is upset yet there facial expression does not display that. We often will refer to an individual who has the ability to hide their facial expression is known as having a poker face (Buck, 1980).
Unlike the facial hypothesis where a facial expressions acts as a guide into expressing ones emotion, the event-appraisal-emotion sequence is the evaluation of emotions that is expressed based on events or assessments. An example of the event-appraisal-emotion-sequence would be a couple going out on their first date. The experience of the initial date is believed to be viewed as favorable. A person could experience different emotion such as being excited, happy or even elated because this could be the beginning of a long term effects. Some examples of long term effects would be a relationship that would lead to an engagement ultimately ending in the couple getting married. On the other hand if the initial date was not enjoyed by both parties and someone is left with negative feelings then the emotion that one feels may be sadness, disappointment or even bitterness. Both the facial feedback hypothesis and the event-appraisal-emotion structure are based on the behavior that has the ability to be motivated by either an even or an individual’s emotional feelings. No matter which one you refer to both the sequence of emotions and facial hypothesis can leave a person with a pool of thoughts and feelings. (Nerb, 2007)
Conclusion
The connection between motivation and emotions can be seen in everyday life. To show the connection this paper we discussed two of the historical theories of emotion and arousal as they relate to human motivation; the Cannon-Bard Theory and the James-Lange Theory. Facial expressions and reading body language are two research methods used for uncovering basic emotions. Finally we analyzed the facial feedback hypothesis, particularly the event-appraisal-emotion sequence. The facial feedback hypothesis also known as FFH teaches us that the actions of an individual’s facial muscles are the personal sensation of emotions (Deckers, 2005).

References Cherry, Kendra. “What is the Cannon-Bard theory?” http://psychology.about.com/od/cindex/g/cannonbard.htm. Web. Retrieved, August 12, 2014 at 10:35 am. Hori, Etsuro and Tazumi, Toru. “Central and peripheral theories of emotion: –Flow of emotional process–“. http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/science/article/pii/S0168010207003720. Web. Retreived, August 12 at 11:55am. Open Educational Resources. “Emotions: The Cannon-Bard theory”. http://www2.derby.ac.uk/ostrich/intro_to_bio_psych/emotion/page_05.htm. Web. Retreived, August 14 at 9:53am.
Buck, R. (1980). Nonverbal behavior and the theory of emotion: The facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 38(5), 811-824. Retrieved August 17, 2014
Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
Nerb, J. (2007). Exploring the dynamics of the appraisal-emotion relationship: A constraint satisfaction model of the appraisal process. Cognition & Emotion, 21(7), 1382-1413. Retrieved August16, 2014.

Sarah Mae Sincero (Nov 26, 2012). James-Lange Theory of Emotion. Retrieved Aug 17, 2014 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/james-lange-theory-of-emotion

http://psychology.about.com/od/nonverbalcommunication/ss/understanding-body-language_3.htm
Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Lopatovska, I., & Arapakis, L. (2010, September). Theories, methods and current research on emotions in library and information science, information retrieval and human–computer interaction. Information Processing and Management, (), 1-18.
http://psychology.about.com/od/nonverbalcommunication/ss/understanding-body-language.htm

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