Richard Lazarus's cognitive-motivational-relational Theory of emotion.  Lazarus believed that all emotions were the result of cognitive appraisals of the personal meaning of events and experiences.  Therefore he suggests emotions occur as the result of the person cognitive interpretation of a stimulus or event to determine if the event is positive, negative or neutral. Then a secondary appraisal takes place to assess our thoughts and emotions and determine if we are able to successfully cope with the event.

Lazarus also, proposed that we have four categories of emotion[s].

1.    negative emotions that result from harm, loss or threats: anger, fear, shame, sadness, jealousy, and disgust

2.  positive emotions that result from reaching goals: happiness, joy, pride, and love

3.  borderline emotions ; hope, contentment, compassion

4.  non-emotions or arousal or cognitive evaluations that could lead to emotions: grief, depression, frustration, disappointment, nervousness, tension, curiosity, surprise and amazement.



Facial expressions of emotion


Some scientists believe many facial expressions, such a smiling, laughing, and crying are almost universal among cultures and have a genetic bias. Children who are born blind display the same facial gestures as sighted children do. Paul Ekman of the University of California argued that emotions we experience occur because they help us adapt to the challenges we face.  Sylvan Tomkins [1962] facial feedback hypothesis, proposed that biological brain networks underlie each motion, and a specific facial expression is associated with it.  Specifically, facial feedback hypothesis states that changes in facial expressions can produce changes in emotional feelings.  Joseph A. Gardnerand Paul Ekman conducted a  study on recognition of facial expressions at various distances they chose six emotional expressions that previously been shown to be reliable; happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, and disgust.  Subjects were able to identify the correct emotion at a distance of 45 meters.  They predicted that happiness and surprise could be recognized even at a 100 meters.  Research has generally supported Ekman and Gardner's claim that facial expressions of emotion can be readily identified. Researchers continually try to determine the extent to which facial expressions universally communicate emotion across cultures.  Wagner and colleagues reported that subjects can  reliably identify three emotions [happiness, anger, and disgust] that Ekman had found reliable but not the other three[surprise, fear, and sadness].  Russell and Fehr. argued that the interpretation of a particular facial expression depends upon other expressions to which it is compared.  For instance, they found that a neutral face appears sad when compared with a sad face and happy when compared with a happy face.

Carroll and Russell suggested situational information or cues are used to determine a person's emotion. The found that when a person was in a fearful situation but displayed a facial expression of anger, subjects identified the emotion as fear.

Research on social referencing suggests that infants are able to interpret facial expression correctly.

Robert Zajonc and his colleagues proposed the  vascular theory of emotion to explain how facial expression might influence emotion. The suggest that changes in facial expression influence the blood vessels of the brain that regulate brain temperature.  It is thought that brain temperature increase with negative emotions and decreases with positive emotions.  These temperature changes result in release of neurotransmitters. Note worthy is Zajonc found  that subjects shown negative facial expressions  decreased the amount of air they breathed through their nose and their forehead temperature increased.

Some research suggests that people might be taught how to control their emotional feeling by controlling their facial muscles.


Interpersonal attraction:


Social psychology is the area of psychology that is interested in why and how people interact. Research has indicated three major influences on why people interact and develop relationships.

Proximity is the physical closeness that people are to each other.  Leon Festinger studied college students living in an apartment complex.  Festinger studied patterns of communication, movement, and various types of verbal and non-verbal interaction. As a result of his study he found that the closer physically people were the more they would interact and the higher the likely hood they would report positive thoughts or feelings about the individuals they established relationships with.  An example was those whose apartments were on the same floor were more apt to develop friendships  than those on different floors.  This is called the Propinquity Effect.


Similarity people tend to interact and report liking those individuals that share similar values, intellectual ability, interests, and activity preferences. 


Physical attractiveness also plays a role in which we wish to continue interacting.  Research indicates that physically attractive people are more likely to be rated more favorable.  Keep in mind the physical attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder and is culturally biased. Research finds that both male and females share some of the same standards. 

Michael Cunningham designed a study to determine standards of beauty.  He had college males to rate the attractiveness of 50 photographs of women.  High attractiveness in women was associated faces with large eyes, small nose, small chin, prominent cheekbones, narrow cheeks, high eyebrows, large pupils and a big smile.


Cunningham and along with Anita Barbee, and Carolyn Pike replicated the early study on this time had women rate male attractiveness.  They found high attraction ratings were associated with faces.  Large eyes, prominent cheekbones, a large chin, and a big smile were rated highly.


Theories of Love


Webster's dictionary defines love as:

Intense affection and warm feelings for another. 2. Strong sexual desire for another person 3. Strong fondness or enthusiasm. 4. A zero score in tennis

The romantics write songs, poems, plays, books, and movies about love, falling in love, and falling out of love.  There is a variety of non-scientific literature exposing what love and romance is.  The mass media has attempted to exploit this area in the selling of products.  A good example was a few years ago Folgers Coffee used two people developing a romantic relation to market and sell their instant coffee. Social psychology attempts to understand and explain this phenomenon scientifically.  Zick Rubin a social psychologist developed the Rubin's Liking and Loving scales. He developed two questionnaires to measure liking and loving. He attempted to measure the degree of liking that one person has for another.  He found that respect, similarity, and favorable evaluation were important for liking and caring, attachment and intimacy were important in loving an other person.

Hatfield proposed that there was companionate love and passionate love.  Companionate love or affectionate love was characterized by deep attachment, trust, respect, affection, loyalty, and familiarity.  It is less intense than passionate love but more enduring.

Passionate love or romantic love is a intense emotional experience that includes sexual desire, elation, anxiety, ecstasy, and tenderness.  Hatfield argued that this "passionate love" was time limited, usually 6 -30 months. Further it could lead or evolve into compassionate love but not necessarily.

Walster and Walster suggested three conditions must be met for a person to "fall in love".

1.    We must learn via our culture and society what love is.

2.  We need an appropriate stimulus

3.  We must experience  physiological arousal

 A classic study by Dutton and Aron examined the effects of anxiety and arousal on sexual attraction. They hade young men interview by an attractive female in a anxiety prone situation and in a non anxiety prone situation.  The results were those in the anxiety situation reported more feelings/arousal toward the interview than the low anxiety situation.


Attachment Theory of Romantic love.

Cindy Hazen and Phillip Shaver proposed that people approach love as adults in a similar manner they as attachment when they were infants. Secure, avoidant, and ambivalent/ anxious.


Robert Sternberg of Yale University proposed the Triangular Theory of Love. Love consists of three components:

Intimacy- feelings in love that encourage closeness which include respect, happiness, understanding, support, and intimate communication.

Passion- physiological arousal and expressed sexual desire along with self-esteem and affiliation

Decision/commitment- short-term decision to love a person and long-term commitment to continue with the relationship.


Sternberg proposed that these components could determine eight different kinds of love:

Non love- the absence of the 3 components

Liking- intimacy present and friendship

Infatuated love- only the passion component and arousal present

Empty love- only the decision/commitment component is present

Romantic love- intimacy and passion components along with a emotional bond

Companionate love - decision/commitment and intimacy are present

Fatuous love -  passion and decision/commitment are present [an example would be the whirlwind romance]

Consummate love - all three components are present intimacy, decision/commitment, and passion


Hendrick and Hendrick found 5 factors involved in love; passionate love, closeness, ambivalence, secure attachment, and practicality


Human Sexuality


Gender identity is the psychological identification with a particular sex - a learned sense of maleness or femaleness

Sex roles are the set of behaviors and attitudes that are determined to be appropriate for male of femaleness in a society.

Biological characteristics of sex differential - biologically male or female this includes physical, hormonal, and chemical  characteristics


Psychoanalytic theory, proposes that children are confused by the genital differences between male and female and tend to identify with the same-sexed parent.

Social learning theory, argues that society reinforces certain behaviors in boys and girls. The child identifies with same sex parent and learns via imitation

Cognitive-development theory holds that children naturally categorize themselves as male or female and develop the associated behaviors that fit in with cognitive gender identity

Gender-schema theory emphasizes development of cognitions that classify behaviors as masculine or feminine. The interprets the world from his or her's gender perspective.





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Psychology a Connectext 4th edition, Terry F. Pettijohn

Discovering Psychology, Don Hockenbury & Sandra Hockenbury

Social Psychology, 5th edition, Deaux Wrightsman