AP Psychology : Theories of Emotion

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Theories Of Emotion

The James-Lange theory refers to which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The many different archetypes that represents a person during the process of individuation

The development of an "ego identity" through one's life

A type of learning that occurs when a subject continually experiences a stimuli and corresponding response, and thus begins to associate the two together

The instinct to satisfy "deficiency needs" in order to avoid unpleasant feelings or outcomes

The hypothesis that in response to environmental changes, a physiological change happens first, which then prompts an emotion

Correct answer:

The hypothesis that in response to environmental changes, a physiological change happens first, which then prompts an emotion

Explanation:

A theory developed by William James and Carl Lange in the 19th century, this hypothesis explores the idea that emotion does NOT precede physiological changes. Instead, a person experiences an event, has an instinctual physiological response to the event, and the brain, sensing the physiological change through the nervous system, prompts an emotion.

For example: A person sees a bear. Their heart rate rises, their perspiration increases, and their mouth becomes dry. Based on these responses, the brain decides fear is an appropriate emotion for the environmental stimuli.

The reasoning behind this theory is that emotions help a person figure out the best course of action. In this example, the brain picks fear as the emotion, and the person picks "flight" as course of action in order to get away from the source of fear. 

Example Question #2 : Theories Of Emotion

Which theory of emotion states that phsyiological arousal towards a stimulus happens first, and then the person must cognitively interpret the reason behind the arousal and assign an emotion to it?

Possible Answers:

Darwinian Theory

Cannon-Bard Theory

Schachter-Singer Theory (Two-Factor Theory)

James-Lange Theory

Social Learning Theory

Correct answer:

Schachter-Singer Theory (Two-Factor Theory)

Explanation:

The Schachter-Singer Theory, also known as the Two-Factor Theory, is a cognitive theory of emotion. It states that physiological arousal occurs, and then one must appraise the reason for that arousal and assign an emotion to it.

Example Question #1 : Theories Of Emotion

What is achievement motivation?

Possible Answers:

When we are driven to achieve complex tasks and reach goals

When we are driven to achieve goals to avoid punishment

When we are driven to achieve goals because they fulfill us in some way

When we are driven to achieve goals for an external award

Correct answer:

When we are driven to achieve complex tasks and reach goals

Explanation:

Achievement motivation is a social motivation wherein we are driven to achieve complex goals and attain knowledge or skils. This need to achieve varies and is inconsistent amongst people. 

Example Question #115 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

Which of the following describes the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion?

Possible Answers:

The cognitive awareness preceeds the physiological state in reaction to a stimulus.

The physiological state preceeds the cognitive awareness in reaction to a stimulus.

The general physiological state and cognitive awareness occur simultaneously and independently in reaction to a stimulus. 

The specific physiological state and cognitive awareness occur simultaneously and independently before a stimulus occurs.

The specific physiological state and cognitive awareness occur simultaneously and independently in reaction to a stimulus. 

Correct answer:

The specific physiological state and cognitive awareness occur simultaneously and independently in reaction to a stimulus. 

Explanation:

Unlike the James-Lange theory of emotion, the Cannon-Bard theory indicates that a specific physiological state and cognitive awareness occur simultaneously.

Example Question #5 : Theories Of Emotion

Which theory of emotion suggests that emotions directly stem from our awareness of our physiological responses?

Possible Answers:

Schachter-Singer theory of emotion

Cannon-Bard theory of emotion

Carter-DiHarto theory of emotion

James-Lange theory of emotion

Henn-Berini theory of emotion

Correct answer:

James-Lange theory of emotion

Explanation:

The James-Lange theory of emotion suggests that our emotional experiences occur because we are aware of our physiological responses to emotionally-charged stimuli. For example, if we witness an emotional moment in a movie and begin to feel our eyes tear up and our cheeks get hot, our brain processes this physiological state and determines that we are feeling sad.

Example Question #6 : Theories Of Emotion

According to Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), what is the order of the stages of stress?

Possible Answers:

Resistance, exhaustion, alarm reaction

Resistance, alarm reaction, exhaustion

Exhaustion, alarm reaction, resistance

Alarm reaction, resistance, exhaustion

Alarm reaction, exhaustion, resistance

Correct answer:

Alarm reaction, resistance, exhaustion

Explanation:

Selye's outline of the GAS holds that the first stage is alarm reaction, in which the body readies itself by activating the sympathetic nervous system. The second stage is resistance, in which the body remains in a state of readiness, but gradually becomes weaker. The third, and final, stage is exhaustion, in which the parasympathetic nervous system returns the body to a normal state.

Example Question #2 : Theories Of Emotion

Which of the following theorists proposed the theory that emotion held evolved adaptive value?

Possible Answers:

Sigmund Freud

Victor Frankl

Charles Darwin

Carl Lange

William James

Correct answer:

Charles Darwin

Explanation:

Charles Darwin posited that emotions evolved because they had an adaptive value to the human species. For instance, fear allows us to act in ways that avoids a potential danger, which makes it a very useful emotion for our basic survival. This core idea is generally accepted by evolutionary psychologists who have since expanded the tenets of this claim.

Example Question #117 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

Which core emotions do evolutionary psychologists generally accept as universal to all human beings?

Possible Answers:

Contempt, happiness, anger, hunger, pain, and ecstasy

Contempt, happiness, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust, and fear

Enthusiasm, happiness, anger, surprise, and sadness

Confusion, contempt, happiness, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust, and fear

Anger, rage, happiness, joy, confusion, sadness, self-satisfaction

Correct answer:

Contempt, happiness, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust, and fear

Explanation:

Amongst evolutionary psychologists who have expanded on Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, it is generally accepted there are seven core emotions that have evolved due to their adaptive value. These are contempt, happiness, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust, and fear. They argue that any other emotion is a blend of these core emotions, or a variation of intensity within these emotions basic emotions (for example, feeling ecstatic would not be another basic emotion, but rather a variation in the intensity of happiness).

Example Question #4 : Theories Of Emotion

Which of the following is one of Cannon and Bard's counter-arguments to the James-Lange theory of emotion? 

Possible Answers:

Emotion is the result of the very long process of evolution and is adaptive to nature. Each emotion serves to signal use to either continue or discontinue a particular action. Anger, for instance, tells us something is not right and must be fixed.

Bodily reactions precede emotional awareness of the cause of those actions.

Emotions that are repressed will not actually manifest in our dreams, but in our behaviors in real life. If left untended to, emotions can manifest in mania.

Emotion does not occur along a spectrum, but can only be divided into two different camps: positive and negative. The majority of emotions are negative since emotions themselves are designed to signal threats to our wellbeing.

One can feel an emotion, for instance fear, before one acts to avoid the stimulus causing that fear.

Correct answer:

One can feel an emotion, for instance fear, before one acts to avoid the stimulus causing that fear.

Explanation:

The James-Lange theory of emotion posits that emotions reflect physiological states in the body. The James-Lange theory holds that human bodies FIRST experience physical sensations, and that humans will think, act, then feel afterwards. One of the Cannon-Bard's counter-arguments to this is that one can experience an emotion simultaneously with a physical reaction and prior to an action. For instance, I see a bear holding a knife, I feel fear (and possibly bewilderment) and my body tenses up immediately, then I run away. By the time I am running away, I have definitely already felt afraid of the knife-wielding bear.

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Emotion

What is the cognitive appraisal theory of emotion?

Possible Answers:

One's emotional experience depends on one's cognitive energy.

One's emotional experience depends on one's interpretation of the situation.

One's emotional experience depends on one's ability to engage in metacognition.

One's emotional experience depends on one's cognitive coping strategies. 

One's emotional experience depends on inner physiology.

Correct answer:

One's emotional experience depends on one's interpretation of the situation.

Explanation:

The cognitive appraisal theory holds that one's emotional experience depends on one's interpretation of the situation. This was the first theory of emotion to consider the person's appraisal of a situation, in addition to physiology and behavior.

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