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Emotions, Stress, and Health. Emotions. I. Measuring Emotions. A. Self-Reports: are fast and easy but may have questionable accuracy. B. Behavioral Observations: especially of facial expressions are useful. 1) Micro-expressions: brief and involuntary expressions of

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I. Measuring Emotions

A. Self-Reports:are fast and easy but may have questionable


B. Behavioral Observations: especially of facial expressions

are useful.

1) Micro-expressions:brief and involuntary expressions of

emotion (like fear and anger) can be very revealing.

C. Physiological Measures:use autonomic nervous activity

like perspiration and heart rate.

II. Theories of Emotions

A. James-Lange Theory: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.

B. Schachter and Singer Theory:the intensity of the

physiological reaction determines only the intensity of the

emotion, not the type of emotion. It is a person’s cognitive

appraisal of the situation that determines the emotion that we


III. The Range of Emotions

A. Basic Emotions Should…

  • 1) emerge early in life without requiring a great deal of experience.
  • 2) be found across cultures.

3) have a unique biological basis and distinct facial


B. Producing Facial Expressions...

1) Voluntary Smile:only utilizes the mouth muscles.

2) Duchenne Smile:involves the eye muscles along with

the mouth muscles.

IV. Emotions and Decision-Making

A. Are emotions a good or bad influence on the decisions

we make?

1) Phineas Gage

2) Antonio Damasio’s patient “Elliot”

B. Emotional Intelligence:the ability to perceive, imagine and

understand emotions and to use that information in


1) Trolley Dilemma and Footbridge Dilemma

V. A Survey of Emotions

I. Happiness

A. Positive Psychology:the study of features that enrich life,

such as hope, creativity, courage, spirituality, and responsibility.

B. Subjective Well-Being: an individual’s assessment of the

degree to which his or her life is pleasant, interesting, and


C. Keys to Happiness and Personal Fulfillment

1) Intimacy

2) Personal Growth

3) Contribution to the Community

4) Other Influences on Happiness:
    • Inborn temperament or disposition.
    • Being married.
    • Having a religious faith.
  • Being healthy.

D. Adaptation-Level Phenomenon: our tendency to judge

various stimuli relative to those we have previously experienced.

E. Social Comparison Theory:we tend to feel happier when

we compare ourselves to people less fortunate than ourselves

and less happy when we compare ourselves to those more

fortunate than ourselves.

  • F. The Feel-Good, Do-Good Phenomenon: when we are
  • happy, we are more willing to help others.
II. Sadness
  • 1) Crying may function mainly to draw attention and
  • sympathy.
  • 2) Interestingly, the actual shedding of tears due to
  • sadness occurs exclusively in humans.

3) Despite the good press given to a cheerful outlook, it appears as if those who are sad or mildly depressed make better decisions than those who are happy and optimistic.

III. Fear and Anxiety

A. Learning Fear

B. Lie Detection

1) Polygraph:measures

arousal such as blood

pressure, heart rate,

respiration and electrical

conduction of the skin in

reaction to a series of


2) Guilty-Knowledge Test:the interrogator asks about

information that would only be known to someone who had

been involved in the crime.

3) Sending Capacity Hypothesis: as we attempt to control

the parts of ourselves that we think would give away our lying

(ex. face), we forget to monitor other parts (ex. legs, feet).

IV. Anger and Violence

A. Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis: frustration caused

bya failure to obtain a desired or expected goal leads to

aggressive behavior. The potential for aggression depends on

being able to attribute the cause of the frustration to someone

or something.

B. Reconciliation

C. Sexual Violence

D. Controlling Violence

Stress and Health

I. Health Psychology:examines how human behavior can improve health, prevent illness, and aid in the recovery from illness.

A. Stress:the pattern of responses an organism experiences

when stimuli disrupt its equilibrium or coping abilities.

B. Stressor:an internal or external event or stimulus that

induces stress.

C. Acute Stress:a temporary state of arousal with typically

clear onset and offset patterns.

D. Chronic Stress:a continuous state of arousal in which an

individual perceives demands as greater than the inner and

outer resources available for dealing with them.

E. The General Adaptation Syndrome…

1) Alarm:a brief period of high arousal of the sympathetic

nervous system, which readies the body for vigorous activity.

2) Resistance:if the stressor goes on for longer than a few

minutes, the body enters a phase of prolonged but moderate


3) Exhaustion:intense and long-lasting stress causes a

depletion of proteins in the immune system that can lead to

illness, fatigue, weakness, and possibly death.

F. Allostasis:the ability to adapt to stress.

G. Allostatic Overload:excessive stress resulting in psychological and / or physiological damage.

H. Occupational Burnout: emotional exhaustion and a sense that one can no longer accomplish anything related to one’s job.

II. Measuring


A. Resources Relative

to Magnitude of Threat

Model of Stress and

Activity:an unhealthy

level of stress occurs

when the stressful

situation is one that a

person regards as

threatening and

possibly exceeding

his or her resources.

III. Handling Stress

A. Anticipatory Coping: efforts made in advance of a potentially

stressful event to overcome, reduce, or tolerate the imbalance

between perceived demands and available resources.

B. Problem-Focused Coping (Monitoring): people attend

carefully to the stressful event and try to take effective action.

C. Emotion-Focused Coping (Blunting):people try to

weaken their emotional reaction to a stressful event through

relaxation, exercise, and / or distraction.

IV. Stress and Illness

A. Psychosomatic Illness:an illness that is influenced by

someone’s experiences, particularly stressful experiences, or

by his or her reactions to those experiences.

B. Procrastination and Stress…

Time of Semester

Early Late

College students that procrastinate,

report significantly more symptoms

of physical illness by the end of a

semester than do those who do

not procrastinate.



C. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):a prolonged

period of anxiety and depression following the experience of

an extremely stressful event.

D. Type A Personality:describes a highly competitive,

impatient, hurried person who typically has an angry and

hostile temperament.

E. Type B Personality:designates those who are easygoing,

less hurried, and less hostile.

F. Type C Personality??? the quiet worrier.

V. Positive Effects of Stress

A. Distress vs. Eustress…

B. Posttraumatic Growth: positive psychological change in response to serious illnesses, accidents, natural disasters and other traumatic events.

C. Social Hindrance vs. Social Facilitation…

1) Social Hindrance: an individual’s tendency to perform

worse on a difficult task or a task that is not well learned

when in the presence of other people than when performing

that task alone.

2) Social Facilitation: an individual’s tendency to perform

better on an easy task or well learned task when in the

presence of other people than when performing that task


Social Facilitation

Social Hindrance