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Stress and Coping Week 4

by: Freddi Marsillo

Stress and Coping Week 4 PSYC 3199

Freddi Marsillo
GPA 3.55

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About this Document

These notes cover what we learned and discussed during classes this week.
Psychology of Stress and Coping
Class Notes
Psychology, stress, clinical, coping
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Freddi Marsillo on Friday September 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 3199 at George Washington University taught by Howe in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Psychology of Stress and Coping in Psychology at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 09/23/16
Stress & Coping Week 4 Notes 9/23/16 1:14 PM So far: • Stressors commonly lead to distress, but this depends on: o How we appraise the situation o How we act to cope with the situation What is emotion? “Emotion is a person’s state of feeling in the sense of an affect” “Affect is the experience of feeling or emotion” Psychological science: • A general state of the organism that includes: o Specific experiences (what we feel from the inside) o Behavioral display o Specific motivations o Physiological arousal o Appraisal Forms of Emotional Experience Valence of the experience: • Subjective evaluation of world as positive or negative – whether the event is attractive or aversive • Basis for the study of attitudes Dual Process View of Attitudes Explicit attitudes • Slower, more deliberate • Measured with questionnaires or interviews Implicit attitudes • Automatic, effortless, very fast, often out of one’s awareness • Often measured with reaction time to simple stimuli, using Implicit Association Test Attitudes and Stress • Implicit attitudes affect behavior when: o Demands are steep o Individuals feel stressed or distracted • Explicit attitudes affect behavior when: o The individual has time for deliberate and considered action • When implicit and explicit attitudes are in conflict: o People feel uneasy, uncomfortable, bothered Emotions as Affective Display • Display: specific patterns of o Facial expression o Body language o Voice tone • Emotion displays have powerful impact of conspecifics (those of the same species) Specific affects in facial expression Paul Ekman – identifying emotions through studying faces Evidence that: Several basic emotions are universal: • Anger • Fear • Sadness • Excitement • Joy • Disgust Possibly a phylogenetic progression • Approach-avoid appears very early • Anderson & Adolphs (2014): simple elements that may have evolved into specific emotions are also found early on (even their communicative aspects) • Functional view: emotions help adaptation o That is, they organize actions that are used to deal adaptively with changing situations From simpler to more complex • Simple preference (pleasant vs. unpleasant) • Basic emotions • Social emotions (not just our species) o Shame o Pride o Jealousy o Embarrassment • Complex mixes that may be more culture-specific Human Emotion Multiple components • Facial expression that communicates internal state • Experience of pleasant/unpleasant • General arousal or relaxation • Physical sensations that are somewhat specific to particular emotion • Thoughts consistent with emotion Different elements emerge at different rates • Emotions and Stress Lazarus’s Core Relational Themes Lazarus (1999) suggested that: • Specific emotions result from core appraisals of the relationship between self and situation • They reflect organized patterns of appraisal and emotional response that shape attempts at adaptive behavior What comes first: thoughts or feelings? Lazarus – Zajonc Debate Debate between Richard Lazarus and Robert Zajonc: is appraisal always necessary for event to trigger emotion? Lazarus: appraisal precedes emotion Suggested evidence Appraisals precede and elicit emotions • Manipulate appraisals and test emotional response • E.g. Roseman (1990): o Read stories that include info about motivations, causal agency, legitimacy of behavior by protagonists o Had respondents describe emotional state of protagonist o Emotional ratings were influenced by appraisal-relevant info Emotions are differentiated by appraisals • Manipulate specific information and see if this predicts specific emotions • E.g. Roseman, Spindel, & Jose (1990) o Asked people to remember situations where they had felt specific emotions Then, describe what happened in the situation to elicit those emotions Rated those circumstances according to dimensions of appraisal • Dimensions of appraisal • Found substantial match between type of appraisal, type of emotion Zajonc: emotion precedes appraisal • Affective reactions: expressions of preference • Cognitive reactions: judgments such as recognizing or categorizing • Evidence: priming studies • Example: Murphy & Zajonc (1993) o Test whether “suboptimal priming” (too fast for consciousness) alters conscious judgments of liking o Positive prime (smiling human face) followed by random symbol o Negative prime (angry human face) followed by random symbol o Varied timing of prime: 4ms, 1000ms • Had people later rate preference for ideographs • Effects only for fast prime, suggesting unconscious priming of liking that then shapes judgment Other emotions influencing appraisal Example: priming studies (Gemar et al, 2001) • Expose person to something that stimulates sadness (Russian music, think about sad times) • Test whether cognitive associations become stronger (such as “self” with “negative”), and more negative thinking occurs • Evidence of such priming effects. (though here mainly in people with past history of depression) Outcome of debate • Neither won, because both appear correct in different circumstances o Zajonc’s view is congruent with implicit attitude research focusing primarily on valence o Lazarus’s view better accounts for the more complex experiences surrounding specific appraisals and specific emotions Chronic emotional states • Emotional states normally fluctuate, come and go • But more stable moods can reflect chronic activation of emotional states, including: o Sadness o Mania o Anxiety o Anger • In extreme forms, these are involved in serious and disabling disorders Stress and chronic emotional states • An important link to longer-term health or illness • Severe stressors are tied to increased risk for: o Onset o Severity o Failure to resolve quickly Expanded perspective on the psychology of stress 9/23/16 1:14 PM 9/23/16 1:14 PM


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