Motivated behavior is often fueled by powerful emotions that color our lives.

In times of stress, emotions can disrupt or save your life.

Emotions are both phycological and physical. (Short breath, heart pump, red face etc.)

Emotions are subjective, but they are 100% real.

Emotions are our body’s adaptive response, they support our survival (can make us focus).

Emotions can put our senses on high alert, and eyes tear up, but prolonged can be harmful.

  1. A chicken-and-egg debate: does your bodily arousal come before or after emotional feelings?
  2. How to thinking and feeling interact: Does cognition come before emotion?

James-Lange Theory: arousal comes before emotion, common sense tells us that we cry because we are sad, and lash out because we are mad, Carl Lange trough it came before, William James thought it came after.

Cannon-Bard Theory: arousal and emotion occur simultaneously, Walter Cannon disagreed with James-Lange, Emotion and action are too similar, to happen independently from each other, this also supported by people who in WWII lost their spinal cords, and therefore showed more or less emotion.

Schachter-Singer Two-Factor Theory: arousal + label = emotion, to experience emotions, you must (1) be physically aroused and (2) cognitively label the arousal. Physical reactions and our thoughts (memories, perceptions etc.) together create emotion.

Spill-over effect: emotions spill over, if someone else is happy, you might become happy.

Zajonc, LeDoux, and Lazarus: Does Cognition Always Precede Emotion?: Zajonc said that we had some emotional reactions apart from cognition, you might like something, but don’t know why. 

Neuroscientists are charting the neural pathways of emotions.

There are two pathways (Joseph LeDoux):

  1. High Road (Thalamus), for complex emotions like love and hatred to the cortex (analyzed) and then to the amygdala to be sent out
  2. Low Road (likes, dislikes, and fears), goes directly from thalamus to amygdala (isn’t analyzed by cortex)

The amygdala sends more neural projections to the cortex, than it receives back, which makes it easy for emotions to hijack our thinking.

Lazarus says that we appraise an event as dangerous or good and react, and first after that, we think about what it is.

Reappraisal, which happens in more complex emotions can help relieve stress.

Feelings affect the body, some are easy to notice some are not.

The Basic Emotions: Anger, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, and Happiness.

Carroll Izard isolates 10 basic emotions: joy, interest-excitement, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shame, and guilt.

Some people also regard love and pride are emotions but aren’t unanimously agreed upon.

In a crisis, the Sympathetic Division of your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) mobilizes.

It directs your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), to provide the energy the liver pours more sugar into your system.

The Insula is activated when we experience various negative social emotions, such as lust and pride.

Some emotions activate the amygdala more than others, like fear (more) and anger (less).

Positive moods are found more in the left frontal lobe.

Depressive moods are found more in the right frontal lobe.

A Polygraph: a machine used in attempts to detect lies, by monitoring heart rate, breathing, etc.

To decipher emotions, we read their bodies, listen to their voices, and study their faces.

Our brain is an amazing detector of subtle expressions.

Physically abused people perceive anger, more as fear, so experiences influences how we perceive emotions.

Duchenne smile: Fake smile, that can just be turned off or on.

Natural smiles make people like us and believe us more.

Introverts are better at reading emotions, and extraverts are easier to read.

Visual feedback gives way more information than written expressions.

Egocentrism: people can’t understand “just kidding” or sarcastic statements, online or in a letter.

Women are better than men at reading emotional cues, given thin slices, which stems from early development, which explains women’s greater emotional literacy.

Men are generally linked with anger, and women are linked with joy and kindness.

Females are also more likely to express sympathy and empathy.

Women also experience emotional events, like looking at old pictures, more deeply.

Gestures and other body language varies in definition greatly between cultures.

Facial expressions speak a universal language, which was also a theory of Darwin.

Even blind people smile and make facial expressions.

Western people express more emotion than Asians.

Emotion isn’t purely biological, but also socially and culturally, happiness is the easiest to identify.

Facial Feedback Effect: Facial muscles trigger corresponding feelings, like anger or happiness.

Botox paralysis can make you less sad or angry.

Behavior Feedback Effect: Behavior like facial muscles can influence our and others’ feelings & think.

Healthy Psychology: Using Psychology for behavioral medicine.

Stress: The process by which we perceive or respond to events called stressors, which we appraise as being threatening or challenging.

The event is the stressor, but the physical and emotional responses, are considered “stress reactions”

Short-lived Stressors can have positive effects (start immune response).

The mind interacts with the body, everything psychological is also physiological.

Stressors fall into 3 categories:

  1. Catastrophes (Seismic stress)
  • Unpredictable large scale events
  • Relocating causes Acculturative stress, which declines over time
  1. Significant life changes
  • A family member dies, friend moves, graduating high school, etc.
  • People who get these life changes are more susceptible to fall ill or get a disease
  1. Daily hassles (incl. Social stress)
  • Dead cellphones, too many to-do’s, irritating siblings, etc.
  • These stressors add up, and can also cause health effects, especially blacks

On orders from the cerebral cortex (hypothalamus and pituitary gland), the outer part of the adrenal glands secretes glucocorticoid stress hormones like cortisol.

Epinephrine is the one handing out guns and glucocorticoids are the ones making blueprints for new planes.

In an experiment with a crashing plane, people who were completely safe still needed medical assistance after the event.

The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS): Hans Selye’s concept of the body’s adaptive response to stress in 3 phases.

  1. Phase 1, you have an alarm reaction, as your SNS is activated
  2. Phase 2, resistance, temperature, blood pressure remain high, as the body’s reserve dwindles
  3. Phase 3, exhaustion, you are more vulnerable to disease, illness, and death

Conclusion: The body handles temporary stress well, but prolonged stress can damage you

Stress in children leads to a higher risk of heart disease, slow neuron production, and neural circuits degenerate faster.

Kids with many stressors had shortened telomeres.

Tend-and-Befriend Response: under stress people (mostly women) often provide support to others and bond with and seek support from others.

Psychoneuroimmunology: a sub-branch of Health Psychology, focused on mind-body interactions Thoughts and feelings (Psycho), influence the brain (Neuro), which influence endocrine hormones, that affect your (immune system), and it is a study (Ology).

Immune System has 4 types of cells that are active:

  1. B lymphocytes: releases antibodies
  2. T lymphocytes: attack cancer, viruses, bacteria, etc.
  3. Macrophage cells (big eaters), which identity, pursue and ingest harmful invaders and worn out
  4. Natural killer cells (NK cells), which attack diseased cells (those infected by virus or cancer)

Your age, nutrition, genetics, temperature, and stress all influence your immune system.

Your immune system can fricc up in two main ways:

  1. Respond too strongly, killing every cell
  2. Underreacting, won’t do enough duh.

Stress can trigger immune suppression by reducing the release of lymphocytes.

Surgical wounds heal slower, vulnerable to colds, speed up the transition of HIV to AIDS.

Stress makes sense, because it takes energy away from systems that fight invaders.

Coronary heart disease: the clogging of blood vessels

Friedman and Rosenman made terms for two people:

Type A: competitive, hard-working and impatient

Type B: relaxed and laid back

Type A people died more of heart attacks and none of the pure type B’s suffered any heart attacks.

This is because when we are angry our blood goes to our muscles instead of internal organs like the liver, which monitors cholesterol in the blood.

Catharsis: releasing aggressive energy (but usually fails).

Better ways to manage anger: Wait, find a healthy distraction, distance from the situation.

Health maintenance includes alleviating stress, prevent illness and promoting well-being

Optimism is better than pessimism when it comes to being healthy.

Social support promotes both happiness and health, lonely people might turn to smoke or drugs.

Happy people have lower amounts of stress hormones.

Pets can also provide social supports.

Suppressing emotions can be detrimental to physical health, even diaries can help.

Aerobic Exercise: sustained oxygen-consuming exertion, such as jogging and swimming, that increases heart and lung fitness. People who exercise more live longer approx. 7 years.

Vigorous exercise can give you a mood boost, with neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin and the endorphins.

Neurogenesis: produce a molecule that stimulates production of new stress-resistant neurons.

Better self-image also helps with better health.

Biofeedback: a failed system of recording, amplifying, and feeding back information about the subtle physiological response, many controlled by the ANS

Relaxation and mediation work and were the ultimate result of Biofeedback.

Mindfulness Meditation: People attend current experiences in a nonjudgemental and accepting manner.


  1. Strengthens connections among brain regions associated with focus, processing what we see and hear, and activates being reflective and aware.
  2. Calms brain activation in emotional situations, like watching sad movies.

Massage also helps with relaxation, even for premature infants.

Religiously active people tend to live longer, a correlation called the faith factor.

This might be because of 3 different explanations:

  1. Religion Promotes self-control (not smoking, drinking, etc.) (not that good of an explanation, because Isreal)
  2. Social Support, encourages marriage, the biggest factor
  3. Positive Emotions, more optimistic

Moods matter, being happy makes you healthier.

Feel-good, do-good Phenomenon: Happiness makes you feel good and does good, and the reverse is also true, doing good also promotes a good feeling.

Humanistic psychologists were interested in advancing human fulfillment.

Positive Psychology: the scientific study of human flourishing, with the goals of discovering and promoting strengths and virtues to help individuals and communities thrive.

Subjective Well-Being: Self-perceived happiness or satisfaction with life. Used along objective well-being (Physical health, wealth, etc.) to determine people’s quality of life.

When a society is at peace it can start to repair weaknesses, and make itself better.

A study of Facebook and Twitter status updates concluded that people were happier on Fridays and Saturdays.

People who become blind or paralyzed might never go back to their previous well-being.

The surprising reality is: We overestimate the duration of our emotions and underestimate our resiliency and capacity to adapt.

Money does buy happiness up to a point, and differently for everyone.

People in rich countries are happier than people in poor countries.

Generally, we haven’t become happier, even though western society has become immensely more economically well-off.

The Adaption-level Phenomenon: our tendency to form judgments (of sounds, lights, income) relative to a neutral level defined by our prior experience, AKA we build up a tolerance to our current level of pleasure and need more to feel happy.

Relative deprivation: the perception that we are worse off than the people we compare ourselves to.

It’s better to make $50.000 when friends make $25.000 than making $100.000 when friends make $200.000. (“I cried because I didn’t have shoes until I met a man who had no feet”)

Genetics matter in happiness, twins raised apart were often similarly happy.

A nation that is happy is often more prosperous.

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