Questions for discussion:
1) What divisions of emotions are mentioned in the text?
2) Characterize the following emotions: a) fear, b) anger, c) happiness.
Can we divide them strictly into positive and negative? Why or why not?
3) What do the adaptation-level and relative-deprivation principles mean?
4) What factors should take place in our life for us to be happy?
Adaptation-level phenomenon – the tendency for our judgements (of sounds, of lights, of income, and so forth) to be relative to a « neural » level that is based on our prior experience.
Catharsis – emotional release. In psychology, the catharsis hypothesis maintains that aggressive urges are relieved by « releasing » aggressive energy (through action or fantasy).
Emotion – a response of the whole organism, involving 1) physical arousal; 2) expressive behaviors; 3) conscious experience.
Relative deprivation – the perception that one is worse off relative to those with whom one compares oneself.
Two – factor theory – the theory that to experience emotion one must 1) be physically aroused, and 2) cognitively label the arousal.
Most people are fascinated by things out of the ordinary – by exceptional occurrences, unusual experiences and abnormal behaviors. One reason of this fascination with disturbed people is that in them we often see something of ourselves. At some time, all of us feel, think, or act as disturbed people do much of the time: wee, too, may be anxious, depressed, withdrawn, suspicious, deluded, or antisocial. « Abnormal » people share these characteristics with « normal » people – but their experience is intensified and more enduring. Studying psychological disorders may therefore at times evoke an eerie sense of self-recognition that illuminates our own personality dynamics.
Another reason for our curiosity is that so many of us have been touched, either personally or through friends or family members, by the bewilderment and pain of a psychological disorder.
Many psychiatrists and psychologists believe that a system for naming and describing psychological disorders facilitates treatment and research. They differentiate between anxiety disorders, somatoform, dissociative, mood, schizophrenic and personality disorders.
Those who suffer an anxiety disorder may for no apparent reason feel uncontrollably tense and uneasy (generalized anxiety disorder), or troubled by repetitive thoughts and actions (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
The somatoform disorders involve a somatic (bodily) symptom – a physiologically unexplained but genuinely felt ailment. Freud was particularly fascinated by conversation disorders, in which anxiety seemed to be converted to a symptom that had no physiological basis. Today, hypochondriasis (interpreting one’s normal sensations as symptoms of a dreaded disease) is a much more common disorder.
Under stress a person’s conscious awareness will sometimes become dissociated, or separated, from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings. Dissociative amnesia usually involves selective forgetting in response to stress. Fugue involves not only forgetting one’s identity but also fleeing one’s home. Most mysterious of all dissociative disorders are cases of multiple personality in which a person is said to have two or more distinct personalities, with the original typically unaware of the other(s).
Among mood disorders they differentiate a) major depression and b) bipolar disorder.
In major depression, the person – without apparent reason – descends for weeks or months into deep unhappiness, lethargy, and feelings of worthlessness before rebounding to normality.
In the less common bipolar disorder, the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the hyperactive, wildly optimistic, impulsive phase of mania.
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