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Emotions . S. Richards Spring 2010. Emotions:. Emotions – States of feeling. 1. May increase due to situations. 2. May motivate certain behavior. Strong emotions spark activity in the Autonomic Nervous System . . History of Emotions: .

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S. Richards

Spring 2010


  • Emotions – States of feeling.

  • 1. May increase due to situations.

  • 2. May motivate certain behavior.

  • Strong emotions spark activity in the Autonomic Nervous System.

History of emotions
History of Emotions:

  • Many ancient Chinese believed that there were four inborn (instinctive) human emotions: Happiness, Anger, Sorrow or Fear.

  • John B. Watson believed that there are three instinctual emotions: fear, rage and love.

  • Katherine Bridges in 1932 believed that everyone is born with one basic emotion: excitement, then excitement divides into other emotions as children develop.

Emotions scientific research
Emotions & Scientific Research:

  • 99% of mothers reported that their babies showed curiosity.

  • 95% of mothers reported that their babies showed joy.

  • 84% reported their babies showed anger.

  • 74% reported their babies showed surprise.

  • 54% reported their babies showed fear.


  • William James (1902) said that the motive behind everything people do is “How to gain, how to keep and how to recover happiness.”

  • When someone is unhappy, it affects the rest of their life. When someone is happy, it affects the rest of their life.

  • The happier you are, the more likely you will help someone else.


  • This is a common response to an insult or an attack.

  • Angry people may seek revenge against a person.

  • Some people get angry a few times a week, some people several times a day.

Anger continued
Anger Continued…

  • What is the BEST way to handle anger?

    Hold it in? Lash out?

  • The most effective way to handle anger is to become assertive instead of hostile.

  • Talk to the person who is creating anger, which will reduce that feeling of anger.

  • Handling anger can also be a cultural situation.

Facial expressions
Facial Expressions:

  • Cross-cultural evidence suggests that facial expressions are probably inborn – certain facial expressions appear to be the same around the world.

  • Smiling – universal sign of friendliness and approval.

  • Baring teeth – universal sign of anger.

  • They conducted a study with college students at a European university to tribal members in New Guinean – In all groups, they agreed with the emotions that was being portrayed in each photograph they were shown.

Theories of emotions
Theories of Emotions:

1.) The Opponent-Process Theory

  • Richard Solomon believed that emotions come out in pairs, with one emotion being followed by its opposite.

  • People are trying to maintain balance in their emotional lives.

  • When balance is upset by a situation, an emotion come, then the person must retain balance.

Theories of emotion
Theories of Emotion:

2.) The Commonsense Approach

  • When a certain situation happens, a person quickly interprets the situation.

  • Body senses a feeling, feeling turns into an emotion.

  • Thoughts/Feelings/Emotions are all intertwined.

  • Activities of there nervous system and hormones play a more important role in determining emotion than what people are thinking about their situations.

Theories of emotion1
Theories of Emotion:

3.) The James-Lange Theory

  • Williams James suggested that people’s emotions follow rather than cause their behavioral reactions to their situations.

  • People ACT first THEN react!

  • Instinctive Bodily Response Patterns – certain situations trigger reactions.

Theories of emotion2
Theories of Emotion:

4.) The Cannon-Bard Theory

  • Walter Cannon (1927) and Philip Bard (1934) suggested that emotions come with bodily responses that are created by situations a person is in.

Theories of emotion3
Theories of Emotion:

5.) The Theory of Cognitive Appraisal

  • The way people label an emotion depends on their thinking of the situation.

  • If the people they are with overreact, that person is MORE likely to overreact.


    Activity: Two Truths & a Lie!