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PSYCH403: Cultural Psychology

Unit 4: Emotion   There are a number of different theories that aim to explain why and how we have emotions because it is impossible to prove whether they are right and wrong.  Even something as seemingly straightforward as the definition of an emotion is a source of disagreement.  Emotion is a particularly interesting topic because of its intensely personal nature; what makes one person mad will not necessarily make another person mad.  That is, emotions are highly subjective—both on a personal level and in terms of cultural norms as well.  Certain emotions are more likely to be felt, or expressed, in certain cultures as a result of set of stimuli.  This leads us to the question of whether an individual’s culture plays a role in determining a person’s emotional response.  There are two theoretical models that aim to answer this question: one argues that emotions are culture-specific and the other claims that there are universal emotions.  You will learn about them both here, recognizing that the debate as to which is correct continues to this day.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 9 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.4: 4 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • List the innate emotions as described by Ekman and Plutchik.
  • Describe the theories representing emotional expression and the cultural variations in expectancy.
  • Explain the concept of universal emotions as they appear amongst divergent cultures.
  • Articulate culture-specific emotions, including the “how” and “why” they manifest.

4.1 Innate Emotions   - Web Media: Walden University: Dr. Gordon Vessels’ “Emotion” Link: Walden University: Dr. Gordon Vessels’ “Emotion” (PowerPoint)
 
Instructions: Please click the provided link and navigate to line item “Contemporary Issues in Psychology 6—Walden” and the corresponding PowerPoint presentation entitled “Emotion” and click “slide show” to download the file. You may also choose to gain additional background in this domain and review the lecture notes that accompanythis title by clicking “Yes” under the corresponding lecture link.  Please review the PowerPoint presentation regarding the development and measurement of emotional responses.  Note that this presentation covers the material you need to know for subunits 4.1.3–4.1.6.
 
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4.1.1 The Traditional Theory of Emotions   - Reading: Psychological Review: Northwestern University’s Anthony Ortony and Terence J. Turner’s “What’s Basic about Basic Emotions?” Link: Psychological Review: Northwestern University’s Anthony Ortony and Terence J. Turner’s “What’s Basic about Basic Emotions?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click the above link.  Once the webpage opens, please navigate to “Downloadable Publications” and locate the article with the above title.  Please read the entire article to learn about the basic theory of emotions and their biological and psychological basis. Note that this reading covers the material you need to know for subunits 4.1.3–4.1.6.
 
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4.1.2 Six Innate Emotions: Happiness, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Fear, and Surprise   - Reading: Emotion, Evolution, and Rationality: City University of New York, Graduate Center: Jesse J. Prinz’s “Which Emotions Are Basic? Link: Emotion, Evolution, and Rationality: City University of New York, Graduate Center:Jesse J. Prinz’s “Which Emotions Are Basic?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click the provided link.  Select “Research” from the left-hand side menu.  Under the “Emotion” category, select the corresponding title and click on it to retrieve the article. This article will review emotions as an innate evolutionary development and also as a socially constructed element—nature versus nurture.
 
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4.1.3 Plutchik’s (2002) Eight Innate Emotions: Joy, Sadness, Acceptance, Disgust, Fear, Anger, Surprise and Anticipation   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.1.1.  Please review Plutchik’s theories of the eight innate emotions as presented by the author. 

4.1.4 Plutchik Based his Model on Opposite Spectrums   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.1.1.  Please review how Plutchik developed his model of emotional development. 

4.1.5 Evolutionary Base to Models   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.1.1.  Please focus on the biological basis of emotions. 

4.1.6 Plutchik’s Emotion Pairs: The Creation of Feelings   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.1.1.  Please pay particular attention to the pairs of emotions that Plutchik discussed in his theory and how this creates the phenomenon of feelings. 

4.2 Theories of Emotion   4.2.1 James-Lange Two-Stage Process   - Reading: AllPsych Online’s “Emotion Theories” Link: AllPsych Online’s “Emotion Theories” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please review the differing theories of emotion, and decide for yourself which you most identify with based on your own background, perception, and knowledge.  Please read and compare and contrast the different theories of emotion.  Note that this reading covers the material you need to know for subunits 4.2.2–4.2.4.
 
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4.2.2 Physiological Arousal Leads to Innate Emotions   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.2.1.  Please focus on how many of the theories rely on physiological arousal as the basis for inward and outward experiences of emotions. 

4.2.3 James-Lange: Emotions as Universal Processes   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.2.1.  Please pay particular attention to the James-Lange theory of emotions

4.2.4 Schacter & Singer’s Two-Factor Theory   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.2.1.  Please pay particular attention to Schacter and Singer’s theory of emotions.

4.3 The Case for Universal Emotions   - Reading: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: Disa A. Sautera, Frank Eisner, Paul Ekman, and Sophie K. Scott’s “Cross-Cultural Recognition of Basic Emotions through Nonverbal Emotional Vocalizations” Link: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: Disa A. Sauter, Frank Eisner, Paul Ekman, and Sophie K. Scott’s  “Cross-Cultural Recognition of Basic Emotions through Nonverbal Emotional Vocalizations” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this article in its entirety to learn about the emotions that are not specific to any culture but are universal amongst all human beings, and the purpose of such.
 
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4.3.1 Evolutionary Theory   - Reading: University of California, Santa Barbara: Center for Evolutionary Psychology: Leda Cosmides and John Tooby’s “Evolutionary Psychology and the Emotions” Link: University of California, Santa Barbara: Center for Evolutionary Psychology: Leda Cosmides and John Tooby’s “Evolutionary Psychology and the Emotions” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the section entitled, “An evolutionary psychological theory of the emotions” to learn about how evolutionary theory and psychology integrate to explain emotions.  Note that this reading covers the materials you need to know for subunit 4.3.2. 
 
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4.3.2 Emotions as Signals: Decoding Emotions for Survival   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 4.3.1.  Please focus on the biological and physiological purpose and goal of emotional output.

4.3.3 Ekman Review: Distinguishing Emotional Facial Expressions from Different Cultures   - Reading: DataFace: University of California-San Francisco: Joseph C. Hager and Paul Ekman’s “The Inner and Outer Meanings of Facial Expressions” Link: DataFace: University of California-San Francisco: Joseph C. Hager and Paul Ekman’s “The Inner and Outer Meanings of Facial Expressions” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire document to learn the purpose of facial expressions and the variance from one culture to another in terms of their purpose and appearance.
 
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4.4 The Case for Culture-Specific Emotions   - Reading: Western Washington University: Center for Cross-Cultural Research: Jeanette Altarriba, Dana M. Basnight, and Tina M. Canary’s “Emotion Representation and Perception across Cultures” Link: Western Washington University: Center for Cross-Cultural Research: Jeanette Altarriba, Dana M. Basnight, and Tina M. Canary’s “Emotion Representation and Perception across Cultures” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the section of the document entitled, “The Processing of Facial Expressions across Cultures,” to learn about culture-specific emotions.
 
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4.4.1 Izard’s (1969, 1971) Cultural Studies   - Reading: Boston College: James A. Russell’s “Is There Universal Recognition of Emotion from Facial Expression? A Review of the Cross-cultural Studies” Link: Boston College: James A. Russell’s “Is There Universal Recognition of Emotion from Facial Expression?  A Review of the Cross-cultural Studies” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please open the above link and use the left-hand sidebar to navigate to “Publications and Posters” and then click it.  Afterwards, please click “Publications.”  Once there, scroll down to locate author, Russell, J. A. (1994), and select the title as listed above.  Please read the entire document regarding cultural studies on the concept of universality as posed by Izard.
 
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