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PSY 100

Lecture Thirteen
Emotions, Stress and Health
• Theories of Emotions
• Expressing Emotions
• Experiencing Emotions
• Stress and illness
• Coping with Stress
Emotions Defined
• Emotions are a mix of the following:
• Bodily arousal (e.g., heart pounding)
• Expressive behaviors (e.g., quickened pace)
• Conscious experience (“is this a kidnapping?”)
• Feelings (e.g., panic, fear, joy)
Theories of Emotion
• James-Lange Theory
• First we feel our bodily response and then the emotion follows
• Cannon Bard Theory
• Bodily responses and experienced emotions occur at the same time
• Schachter-Singer Two-Factor Theory
• Arousal + Label = Emotion
Expressing Emotions
• Our brain is an amazing detector of subtle expressions
• Particularly nonverbal cues
• First impressions occur with astonishing speed
• Particularly adept at detecting non-verbal threats
• Important findings
• Introverts excel at reading others
• Extroverts easier to read
• Detecting deceit is difficult
• Women surpass men at reading people’s emotional cues
Culture and Emotions
Culture and Emotion
Emotions Universal
Facial Feedback Effect
Behavior Feedback Effect
Best Possible Self Activity
Positive Psychology
• Uses scientific methods to study human flourishing:
• Positive well-being (our feelings of happiness)
• Positive character (creativity, courage, compassion, integrity, self control,
leadership, wisdom and spirituality)
• Positive groups, communities and culture (social encology)
• Adaptation-level phenomenon
• We adapt to new “normals” and need something better to boost our

• Relative deprivation
• When we see ourselves as worse off than others with whom we compare
• The process by which we perceive and respond to certain stressors
that we appraise as threatening or challenging

• Stressors
• Catastrophes
• Significant life changes
• Daily hassles and social stress
Childhood Trauma
Stress and Illness
• Increases vulnerability to disease
• Slowed wound healing
• Vulnerability to colds
• Hasten course of diseases
• Increased risk for cancer
• Inflammation and coronary disease
Coping with Stress
• Problem focused coping
• Feel we have control
• Emotion focused coping
• When we feel we do not have control
• Explanatory Style
• Pessimism
• Optimism
Importance of personal control
• Internal locus of control
• External locus of control
Social Support
• Calms us and reduces blood pressure and stress hormones
• Fosters stronger immune functioning
• Provides opportunities to confide painful feelings
Reducing Stress
• Exercise
• Relaxation and meditation
• Faith communities