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Human Motivation. Chapter 10 Goal-Incongruent (Negative) Emotions. Goal-Incongruent Emotions. Thwart the attainment of personal goals Generally negative Negative emotions produce negative affect

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human motivation

Human Motivation

Chapter 10

Goal-Incongruent (Negative) Emotions

goal incongruent emotions
Goal-Incongruent Emotions
  • Thwart the attainment of personal goals
  • Generally negative
  • Negative emotions produce negative affect
  • Even though these emotions are negative, they have evolved to ensure our survival, and therefore, should not be shunned.


fear and anxiety
Fear and Anxiety

Fear: an emotional system that is sensitive to cues, unlearned or learned, that signal physical punishment (pain).

Anxiety: an emotional system that is attuned to situations characterized by uncertainty, social comparison, personal failure, and negative evaluation of personal worth.

Fear evolved to ensure our immediate survival, and anxiety evolved to ensure our social survival.

fear and anxiety1
Anxiety is a negative emotion that alerts us to potentially threatening situations:

Helps us focus on social-evaluative stimuli

Activates reverberating circuits (brain circuit that has been activated stays activated for a period in the absence of the stimulus) that give rise to ruminative thoughts (thinking about ways to prevent social rejection/ostracization).

Many of the same psychological antecedents that underlie anxiety also underlie depression (Example: tendency to be self-critical; perceived sense of loss of control.)

Fear and Anxiety
fear and anxiety2
Fear and Anxiety

The Biological Component:

  • Considerable evidence suggests heritability of trait anxiety; heritability for part of brain to be highly active.
  • Fear is caused by activation of the fight-flight system; anxiety caused by the activation of the behavioral inhibition system (BIS). When the BIS system is activated, the organism directs attention to environmental stimuli.
  • Anti-anxiety drugs reduce activity of BIS.
  • The right side of the prefrontal cortex (responsible for negative/inhibiting emotions) is more active in anxious/depressed individuals.
fear and anxiety3
Fear and Anxiety

The Learned Component:

  • The BIS can be conditions by cues of punishment forthcoming and cues of rewards being withheld.
  • Anxiety is an anticipatory response to the possibility of an aversive outcome.
  • Phobia is a persistent and recognizable irrational fear of an object/situation and is characterized by distress and compelling desire to avoid the object or situation.
  • Systematic desensitization (repeated exposure to stimuli while learning who to become relaxed) is effective procedure for eliminating fears.
fear and anxiety4
Fear and Anxiety

The Learned Component: (Cont.)

  • Panic attacks: characterized by somatic symptoms, dear of dying, and fear of losing control. Left untreated, often increase over time.
  • Treatment of panic attacks includes providing basic information about attacks.
  • Two types of anxiety:
    • Fear: governed by alarm reaction; fight/flight response.
    • Anxious apprehension: governed by BIS; prepares individual to cope with challenges of everyday life.
      • Plays mediating role in panic-related disorders.
fear and anxiety5
Fear and Anxiety

Cognitive factors play important role in arousal of fear and anxiety:

  • Viewing the world as threatening
    • Negative affectivity/avoidance temperament.
    • Bias in interpreting ambiguous stimuli.
    • Attentional bias to process threat cues.
  • Unwanted or intrusive thoughts
  • Loss of control
  • Ruminative thoughts about loss of control
  • Inability to make a coping response
pessimism and depression
Pessimism and Depression

Types of depression:

  • Normal: passing demoralization
  • Unipolar: a chemical or clinical disorder and needs to be treated with drugs/psychotherapy.
  • Bipolar: characterized by both manic and depressive episodes.
  • Depression is twice as high among university students vs. comparable group on nonstudents.
  • Women are 2-5 times more prone to depression.
modern individualism and the rise of depression
Modern Individualism and the Rise of Depression
  • Depression in the U.S. has increased ten times in last two generations.
  • Depression is mainly prevalent in technologically advanced countries.
  • New form of individualism is highly susceptible to depression.
    • Basic characteristics of modern individualism are autonomy and self-reliance (we do not need other people).
the biological component of depression
The Biological Component of Depression
  • Evidence indicates depression runs in families; although studies have failed to disentangle genetic/environmental influences.
  • Depressed individuals show relatively more electrical activity in the right hemisphere of the brain.
  • Type A depression: deficiency of norepinephrine and dopamine; failure to meet environmental challenges.
  • Type B depression: depletion of serotonin; inability to meet social challenges.
  • Depression is initially treated with drugs.
the learned component of depression
The Learned Component of Depression
  • Feelings of learned helplessness and loss of control are major antecedents to depression.
  • Helpless individuals do not believe that their responses will have any effect on aversive or noxious events.
  • Giving people a controllable experience produces a proactive interference against attempts to induce helplessness.
the cognitive component of depression
The Cognitive Component of Depression

Individuals’ propensity to become depressed is associated with their personal explanatory styles:

  • Permanence: cause of bad events is permanent vs. temporary; good outcomes temporary vs. permanent.
  • Pervasiveness: bad events affect all parts of life vs. seeing bad event as specific; wallow in misery vs. stopping self from sinking deeper into depression; explaining good events by transient causes vs. permanent causes.
  • Personalization: when bad things happen, blame themselves vs. others; believe good things come from outside sources vs. self.
the cognitive component of depression1
The Cognitive Component of Depression
  • People who think more pessimistically are more likely to become depressed.
  • Teaching people to think more optimistically does result in the lessening/elimination of their depression.
  • Depressed people tend to engage in excessive analysis or rumination.
  • Pessimism has been linked to more health concerns.
  • Depressed people tend to view their current/future situations in negative terms.
  • Perfectionistic thinking can lead to high levels of depressive symptomatology and anxiety.
beck s four errors in thinking
Beck’s Four Errors in Thinking
  • Exaggeration: exaggerating negative aspects of experiences.
  • Dichotomous thinking: viewing a partial failure as a complete failure.
  • Selective abstraction: seeing only the negative aspects of an experience and using that information to make an inference about our ability.
  • Overgeneralization: using one outcome to make inferences about our ability.
guilt and shame
Guilt and Shame
  • Are uniquely human emotions.
  • Play a role in a wide variety of behaviors.
  • Have been linked to pessimism and depression.
  • The capacity for these emotions are innate, but their mode of expression is learned.
  • Tend to disrupt adaptive behavior when they become excessive.
guilt and shame1
Guilt and Shame

The Biological Component:

  • Adaptive emotions that serve to ensure good social relationships- dependent on being sensitive to other’s needs and being motivated to make amends when problems occur.
  • Guilt functions to prevent waste and exploitation; inhibits aggression and encourages people to make reparations.
guilt and shame2
Guilt and Shame

The Learned Component:

  • Guilt is a conditioned negative feeling- when our parents show disappointment, we experience a negative emotion (a punishment), which we come to associate with the initiating event.
  • Power assertion leads to low levels of moral development; induction high levels.
  • Researchers have found a positive relationship between parental warmth and the development of consciousness and guilt in children.
guilt and shame3
Guilt and Shame

The Cognitive Component:

  • Guilt is a cognitive process that involves a well-developed self-structure.
  • Guilt occurs through self-reflection, when we conclude our behavior has failed to meet some internal standard of conduct.
  • Guilt and depression have been linked in a couple theories.