Interpersonal Communications, by Julia Wood, Chapter 7 Notes

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Chapter 7 - Emotions and communication

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize feelings and judge which feelings are appropriate for a given situation. You can feel sad and happy at the same time.
When you feel a knot in your stomach after finding out you got a low grade you experience a physiological reaction. We experience motion when external stimuli cause physiological changes.  This is the organismic view of emotions.

Perceptual view of emotions is also also called appraisal theory and asserts that subjective perceptions shape what external phenomena mean to us.  These events have no meaning and they only gain meaning if we attribute significance to them.

Perceptual view of emotions: External Event (failing an exam) -> Perception of event (you think you’re not smart or the exam was very hard) -> Interpreted emotion (shame or anger) -> Response

This problem is corrected in the cognitive labeling view of emotions, which is similar to above but explains how we move from experience to interpretation.  According to the CLVE the mechanism that allows this is language or symbols.  In other words, what we feel may be shaped by how we label our physiological responses. So if you see a low grade and you get a knot in your stomach you label the knot as evidence of anxiety.  So what you felt didn’t result from the low grade but it would be shaped by how you labeled your physiological response to the event.

The Cognitive Labeling view of emotions: External Event -> Physiological Response -> Label for Response -> Emotion

A bad grade on a test is not a judgment that I’m stupid.  It’s a challenge for me to do better.  Therefore, you should see grades as challenges that you could meet.

Social Influences on Emotions
Interactive view of emotions proposes that social rules and understandings shape what people feel and how they do or don’t express their feelings.  Three key concepts of this are framing rules, feeling rules, and emotion work. Framing rules define the emotional meaning of situations.  In Western cultures funerals are sad, but Irish Americans hold wakes when a person dies. A wake is a festive occasion when people tell stories about the person and celebrate their life. Feeling rules tell us that we have a right to feel or what we are expected to feel in particular situations. Feeling rules reflect the values of cultures and social groups. Some cultures feel expressing anger is healthy and others think it brings bad luck. All communities have rules that specify acceptable and unacceptable ways to feel. A second way in which feeling rules uphold social structure is by permitting people who have power to express negative emotions in rude or disrespectful ways toward people with limited power. Deep acting is when you’re taught to control your inner feelings. A child is taught not to feel angry when someone takes their toy. Deep acting requires changing how we perceive and label events and phenomena. Surface acting involves controlling outward expression of emotions rather than controlling feelings. Expressing gratitude is emphasized more than feeling grateful, and refraining from hitting someone who takes a toy is stressed more than being willing to share toys. Emotion Work is the effort to generate what we think are appropriate feelings in particular situations. Emotion work is the effort we put forth to show how we feel. We do emotion work most of the time but we tend to be most aware of engaging in it when we think our feelings are inappropriate in specific situations. When something bad happens to someone you don’t like you have to engage in emotion work in an effort to make yourself feel sad.

Reasons we may not express emotions
Social Expectations: Expressing our feelings is influenced by culture and social groups. In the U.S. Men are allowed to express anger and women aren’t. But men are expected to be more restrained than women in expressing emotions. In Italy men express a...
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