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Universal Emotions and Adaptive Role of Emotion – Emotions (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:00 Okay, next take a look at universal emotion.

    00:03 Now this is the premise that across the globe, across the world, universally we have six common emotions.

    00:13 So these are fear, anger, disgust, sadness, happiness and surprise.

    00:19 So Darwin, Charles Darwin had made, he had proposed that this is actually driven behind biological drivers.

    00:29 Meaning that this isn't a culturally specific thing.

    00:33 This is something that is universally consistent.

    00:36 So he proposed that this is driven by natural selection and has a universal cross cultural expression.

    00:43 So doesn't matter if you are here in Germany, if you are there in Canada, or if you are over there in India, there's going to be a consistent expression of these 6 emotions.

    00:54 Now this isn't to say that you are going to have, you are not going to have other emotions as well.

    00:58 But these 6 remain consistent.

    01:00 So this is actually been validated and supported by what we say pre-literate cultures.

    01:06 Meaning before things were actually documented in this consistent fashion.

    01:09 It looked at things like cave drawings or other paintings, allegories and stories of emotion.

    01:16 And these ones would always come up.

    01:18 So these are the 6 major universal emotions.

    01:21 And these are the ones that you should be familiar with.

    01:26 We're going to talk about how emotion can change.

    01:31 And to discuss that, we're going to look at Yerkes-Dodson's law.

    01:34 So Yerkes-Dodson's law states that the relationship between performance and emotional arousal is a U-shaped correlation.

    01:41 So let me break that down for you in English.

    01:43 So what we're saying is, emotion can actually impact how well and how poor you do on a specific task.

    01:50 And it's going to do so in a U-shaped curve.

    01:53 So we are going to walk through that curve.

    01:54 And we'll break down each component.

    01:57 Ok, so now let's walk through this curve.

    01:59 Let's take an example where you have low arousal.

    02:02 You just got out of your bed.

    02:04 It's dead quiet.

    02:05 It's dark in your room.

    02:07 And you're really not doing anything.

    02:09 At that point there is no arousal.

    02:11 And whatever task you doing like, trying to say for example, study or do a task, your performance is going to be quite weak.

    02:19 Now let's look at the other end of the spectrum.

    02:21 High, at this point let's think, you just got up of bed.

    02:26 But you got up because a fire alarm went off.

    02:28 And your mother is screaming at you.

    02:30 And may be there's a small fire happening in the rear corner of your bedroom.

    02:34 You're highly aroused right now.

    02:36 Because there's a lot going on.

    02:37 There's a lot of stimulus.

    02:39 You kind of freaking out, right.

    02:40 So now you're thinking, if somebody said to you, I need you to answer these 5 questions on this MCAT exam.

    02:46 How are you going to do? Not very well.

    02:48 You're thinking, "Oh my god! my bedroom is on fire." Why is my mother yelling at me.

    02:52 And why is that fire not going off.

    02:54 You are not going to do well at all.

    02:56 So again in terms of performance you are going to be on the weak side of things.

    03:00 Now let's find somewhere in the middle.

    03:02 You just got up.

    03:04 You had a shower.

    03:05 Your desk is clean.

    03:06 You have a little bit of chill music happening in the background.

    03:09 Your desk is perfectly setup.

    03:11 You have a coffee there.

    03:12 And you have a picture on the wall of the medical school that you want to go to.

    03:17 You are highly aroused looking at it.

    03:19 And you're thinking I'm ready for this.

    03:22 Let's do this.

    03:22 And you sit down on your desk.

    03:24 And you're task is to study for the MCAT.

    03:27 Now how well you are going to do.

    03:28 You are going to do quite well.

    03:30 You're aroused at that right amount.

    03:32 And that will impact your performance.

    03:34 And so if you look at things, U-shaped curve that is the point on the curve where you be at your highest.

    03:39 Your optimal arousal equals optimal performance.

    03:42 Now this is a very individual process.

    03:44 So for some people music is too much arousal.

    03:47 Or not enough music is not enough arousal.

    03:50 So it's very much individual.

    03:52 So whatever it takes is for you to find that sweet spot, is an individual experience and it's something you had to figure out.

    04:01 Okay, now let's take a look at another scenario.

    04:05 And this is when how we're looking at emotion can actually have some survival impact.

    04:11 So think of a scenario, you are going down to your car in dark garage.

    04:17 And you have your keys in hand.

    04:19 And you are approaching your car and you hear footsteps.

    04:21 And you start to do what.

    04:25 Typically, you're like, "Is this person following me?" "Should I pull up my gun?" Or it's just an old lady who's walking very slow.

    04:32 You don't know.

    04:33 So at this point emotion kicks in.

    04:35 And this gives you a very useful tool.

    04:37 And if you think of evolutionary speaking, this is a survival reflex that kicks in.

    04:41 And this is helping you plan yourself for quick decisions.

    04:44 And do I need to turn around and Kung Fu chop this person.

    04:48 Or do I need to run away.

    04:50 Or is this nothing.

    04:51 Regardless of what the reaction is going to be, your system needs to be prime.

    04:56 And emotion can really help will that.

    05:00 Let's take a look at modulating individual behavior within a social context.

    05:05 Now you're at a party.

    05:07 And you are sitting there.

    05:10 And everybody is speaking quite softly.

    05:12 And if you all of sudden start speaking very loudly.

    05:16 And you are swearing a lot.

    05:17 And you are moving your hands a lot.

    05:19 And this is a very quiet, somber occasion.

    05:22 People are going to look at you a little bit funny.

    05:24 And you might feel embarrassed.

    05:25 Saying why is this guy such a loud mouth.

    05:28 What is wrong with him.

    05:29 And why can't he just relax and sit down and talk with the rest of us.

    05:32 Say you're at a library.

    05:33 Every body's quiet, doing their work.

    05:35 And you're humming a song.

    05:36 You are singing an AC/DC tune.

    05:38 And people are looking at you and giving the evil eye.

    05:40 There all of sudden you feeling embarrass.

    05:43 And here's the example of how that emotion is helping shape your social conformity.

    05:47 Or how are you fitting in that societal context.

    05:49 So here we're saying emotion provides means for non-verbal communication and empathy.

    05:56 Empathy refers to you feeling emotion when somebody is else is expression emotion.

    06:01 And usually done in a non-verbal way.

    06:04 So say for example, you are walking down the street.

    06:07 And you see an old man crossing the street with a cane.

    06:10 And he trips on a pothole.

    06:12 And he falls on the ground.

    06:13 And he is holding his knees, "Oh my god! I'm so hurt." Oh my god! And he's looking at you and has tears in his eyes.

    06:19 Now our normal human reaction is to look at him and feel sorry for him or feel empathy.

    06:25 And we want to assist and help him.

    06:27 So there is an example of how emotion expressed by the old man on the ground bleeding, looking at you, saying I need help.

    06:36 Through his eyes, through the tears, you feel empathy.

    06:39 And that emotion therefore allows that communication to happen.

    06:44 Another example might be when your making daily life choices.

    06:49 For example, you thinking of your loving wife.

    06:52 And she is told that you repeatedly don't leave dirty dishes in the sink.

    06:57 But you're on your way to study group for the MCAT exam.

    07:01 And so have your breakfast and your eggs.

    07:04 And you throw them in the sink.

    07:05 And you leave.

    07:06 After a full day working really hard on your MCAT exam.

    07:09 You come home and you go to hug your wife.

    07:13 And she looks at you and she gives you that look.

    07:15 You know that look.

    07:16 The death look.

    07:18 And she's saying to you, with her eyes, "Why did you leave the dry egg plate in the sink?" And just with her eyes you know pretty much you might get stabbed in the face with that fork.

    07:30 And it's because of that emotion that's she's conveying.

    07:33 And that helps frame the situation.

    07:36 The situation usually means, "I'm sorry." "Let me take you out for dinner." Or you are in the sink cleaning those dirty dishes.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Universal Emotions and Adaptive Role of Emotion – Emotions (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Responding to the World.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Nostalgia
    2. Happiness
    3. Sadness
    4. Fear
    5. Disgust
    1. 6
    2. 8
    3. 4
    4. 3
    5. 9
    1. Yerkes-Dodson law
    2. James-Lange theory
    3. Cannon-Bard theory
    4. Two factor theory
    5. Arousal theory
    1. It has a linear relationship.
    2. It is based on complexity of a task.
    3. It is based on emotional arousal.
    4. After a certain level of arousal, performance decreases.
    5. The impact of arousal on performance can vary across a population.

    Author of lecture Universal Emotions and Adaptive Role of Emotion – Emotions (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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