This discussion explores the development of personality, motivation and emotion.
Using the material covered in chapters 11 and 15 and at least 2 to 3 other sources (e.g., other texts, online books, library database articles etc.), discuss one of the theorists and theories of personality, motivation or emotion.
What concepts, elements, and/or theories are still with us today?
What are some of the criticism of these approaches and how would you address them?
Please post a one to two paragraph summary (with in-text citations and references at the end).
Below is the attachment reference
Hunt, M. (2007). The Story of Psychology (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Anchor Books.
PSY 499 Module 7 AVP Transcript
Title: Emotion Research
Narrator: The following presentation briefly outlines some important theories and ideas of
emotion research. Emotion has become an increasingly important topic in psychology over the
past 30 years. Prior to that, emotion research was under the radar or subsumed in other areas
of research (e.g., learning, social, personality, etc).
Slide Title: What is an Emotion?
Consciously experiencing physiological arousal to a stimulus and expressing it
o Darwin suggested emotions served as a ?first language?
Narrator: A source of initial thinking on emotions comes from Darwin?s writings. Darwin saw
emotions as humans? first language. With the piercing of the mouth and squinting of the eyes,
emotions gave us the ability to communicate important information about our current bodily
state, enabling survival before spoken and written word developed. Being able to communicate
that the berry that we just ate tasted rotten is important ? without speaking a word, we can tell
others to not consume these bitter or rotten-tasting berries. The berry might be poisonous and
could lead to illness or death, the exact thing most living species are trying to avoid! Thus,
emotions are contributed to survival needs.
Slide Title: Emotional Expression
Slide Content: [images of six different people with different expressions]
Some variability across cultures
Facial expressions?seemingly universal for basic emotions
Narrator: For many years, people all but forgot about Darwin?s ideas regarding emotions.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead postulated the emotions varied across cultures and reflected
customs rather than ancient mechanisms for survival. It wasn?t until Paul Rozin, an emotion
researcher, challenged this view. His research guided him around the globe, including visits to
remote islands that had little to no contact with outside cultures. What he observed, even in
these remote places, is that people shared common emotional experiences. Specifically, six
universal emotions were documented: happiness, surprise, fear, sadness, anger, and disgust. If
you look at the faces in the current slide, you can likely readily identify each of these emotions
based simply on the individual?s facial expression.
Slide Title: Which Comes First: Cognition or Emotion?
Schachter and Singer (1962)
o Role of attribution (and thus cognition)
o Preferences need no inferences
We feel, then interpret
Narrator: While the concept of universal emotions remains, for the most part, with us today,
understanding what an emotion is at the most basic level is a bit more complicated. One
question that has been revisited over a few occasions across emotion research is when an
emotion happens. Which comes first: cognition or emotion? One of the more traditional
theories of emotion, the James-Lange theory (which is explained in your text), explains that an
emotion is a sense of our body that we then determine is a specific feeling: we experience
something threatening and because we are sweating and trembling, we thus feel fear.
Other theorists and researchers, however, say this eliminates the role of appraisal, or cognition,
in the experience of an emotion. Schachter and Singer in 1962 pointed out the spillover effect.
The spillover effect is essentially this: we first search for a reason why this event is happening.
Once we find a reasonable cause for the event, we then feel the corresponding emotion. In
short, we make an appraisal and then, based on the nature of the appraisal, we have an
On the contrary, Robert Zajonc proposed a different view. He stated that emotion does not need
an appraisal to be elicited. More akin to the James-Lange theory, Zajonc states that an event
occurs and that particular event creates a type of emotional response. Zajonc comes to this
conclusion based on his work examining the mere exposure effect. This effect is basically this:
objects that we are repeatedly exposed to we tend to like (and thus prefer) more. Familiarity
breeds liking, if you will. And, importantly, this does not have to be something we are conscious
of. In one of Zajonc?s studies, he implicitly primed participants with Chinese ideograms (which
participants had no prior experience with). At the end of the session, the ideograms that were
primed more often were liked more ? even though participants did not know they saw them!
Zajonc?s work points to the intriguing role of the unconscious processes and their integral link to
Slide Title: Two Routes to Emotion
Slide Content: [flow chart depicting event/appraisal paths. Zajonc route to emotion is Event to
Emotional response. Schachter-Singer route is Event to Appraisal to Emotional response.]
Narrator: Here you can visually see how different researchers have outlined the role of
cognition or appraisal and its link to emotions. You see that Zajonc?s model, there is no need for
appraisal, whereas with the Schachter-Singer model, it is the route that comes prior to emotion.
Slide Title: Both?
o Different types of cognition
Knowledge by acquaintance
Knowledge by description
o But what constitutes ?knowledge??
Narrator: A social psychologist, Ross Buck, pointed out that in many ways, both theories are
correct. What matters is how one is defining cognition or knowledge. We can think of
knowledge as things that are directly experienced or as things that we interpret. In effect, Buck
states that emotion and cognition are inter-related and constantly feed off of one another. But a
question remains: what do we mean by ?knowledge?? How is that derived?
Slide Title: Do We Think or Feel About Morality?
o Social Intuitionist Model, Haidt (2001)
We build cases using socio-cultural information to justify our
judgments and emotions
Reasoning is overemphasized when considering moral emotions
Narrator: The ?which comes first?? debate cracked open again when Psychological Review
published ?The emotional dog and its rational tail: A social intuitionist approach to moral
judgment? by Jonathan Haidt in 2001. Haidt, in effect, cracked open the debate once again.
Invoking Hume?s observation of emotions, Haidt posits that thought processes are post hoc
justifications for our emotions; reasoning has been over-emphasized. That is, we feel something
first, but then based on socio-cultural standards, explain the emotion. We use these standards
to explain our guttural reaction, not the other way around. In his research, Haidt uses scenarios
that typically elicit strong reactions to, typically of the moral kind. The next slide presents an
example from Haidt?s research.
Slide Title: Scenario ? Think of Haidt?s Model
Julie and Mark are brother and sister. They are traveling together in France on summer vacation
from college. One night they are staying alone in a cabin near a beach. They decide that it
would be interesting and fun if they tried to make love. At the very least it would be a new
experience for each of them. Julie was already taking birth control pills, but Mark used a
condom too, just to be safe. They both enjoy making love, but decide not to do it again. They
keep that night as a special secret, which makes them feel even closer to each other.
? What do you think about that, was it OK for them to make love?
Narrator: Julie and Mark are brother and sister. They are traveling together in France on
summer vacation from college. One night they are staying alone in a cabin near a beach. They
decide that it would be interesting and fun if they tried to make love. At the very least it would
be a new experience for each of them. Julie was already taking birth control pills, but Mark used
a condom too, just to be safe. They both enjoy making love, but decide not to do it again. They
keep that night as a special secret, which makes them feel even closer to each other.
Now, what you make of this story? Do think it was ok for Julie and Mark to make love? Many of
you are probably stating things such as ?Of course it is wrong, we have old rules about incest.
Incest that results in pregnancy can lead to a shortening of the gene pool and health problems.?
I would like to point out that they doubled up on birth control.
Or how about ?These two people are going to be emotionally scarred for life. This will ruin their
brother-sister relationship.? As stated, they felt closer after making love.
What do you notice about your reasons? Stop for a moment before you go to the next slide and
see what it is that you think really motivates your judgment of Mark and Julie.
Slide Title: Which is It?
Thoughts or beliefs
o Most of which are socially constructed
They used a condom, were not hurt by experience
Emotion motivates moral thinking
Haidt?s social intuitionist explanation
Narrator: When we think about this situation, many of the thoughts or beliefs we have about
incest come from social constructs on what one should and should not do. These come from
laws or religious doctrine or our beliefs on how the human spirit works.
However, what is the feeling that you feel when you hear this story? For the majority of people,
it is disgust ? one of the six universal emotions. The emotion of disgust rises up and makes us
think about why it is wrong. Many of your immediate, intuitive reactions were probably ?Eww!
Gross!? and then you thought of reasons why it is gross. If we follow this line, then it is the basic
emotion that then motivates the thinking, not the other way around.
Haidt?s work on the social intuitionist model has re-sparked interest in not only this debate of
cognition and emotion, but also has led to advances in research on moral emotions. Check out
some of his other work if and when you get a chance ? very thought provoking information. He
also does a lot of guest speaking ? you can probably find one of his talks on YouTube.
End of presentation
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