It is traditionally believed that cerebral activation (the presence of low voltage fast electrical activity in the neocortex and rhythmical slow activity in the hippocampus) is correlated with arousal, while deactivation (the presence of large amplitude irregular slow waves or spindles in both the neocortex and the hippocampus) is correlated with sleep or coma. However, since there are many exceptions, these generalizations have only limited validity. Activated patterns occur in normal sleep (active or paradoxical sleep) and during states of (...) anesthesia and coma. Deactivated patterns occur, at times, during normal waking, or during behavior in awake animals treated with atropinic drugs. Also, the fact that patterns characteristic of sleep, arousal, and waking behavior continue in decorticate animals indicates that reticulo-cortical mechanisms are not essential for these aspects of behavior. (shrink)
In men and women sexual arousal culminates in orgasm, with female orgasm solely from sexual intercourse often regarded as a unique feature of human sexuality. However, orgasm from sexual intercourse occurs more reliably in men than in women, likely reflecting the different types of physical stimulation men and women require for orgasm. In men, orgasms are under strong selective pressure as orgasms are coupled with ejaculation and thus contribute to male reproductive success. By contrast, women's orgasms in intercourse are (...) highly variable and are under little selective pressure as they are not a reproductive necessity. The proximal mechanisms producing variability in women's orgasms are little understood. In 1924 Marie Bonaparte proposed that a shorter distance between a woman's clitoris and her urethral meatus (CUMD) increased her likelihood of experiencing orgasm in intercourse. She based this on her published data that were never statistically analyzed. In 1940 Landis and colleagues published similar data suggesting the same relationship, but these data too were never fully analyzed. We analyzed raw data from these two studies and found that both demonstrate a strong inverse relationship between CUMD and orgasm during intercourse. Unresolved is whether this increased likelihood of orgasm with shorter CUMD reflects increased penile–clitoral contact during sexual intercourse or increased penile stimulation of internal aspects of the clitoris. CUMD likely reflects prenatal androgen exposure, with higher androgen levels producing larger distances. Thus these results suggest that women exposed to lower levels of prenatal androgens are more likely to experience orgasm during sexual intercourse. ￼￼￼. (shrink)
How can an abstract sequence of sounds so intensely express emotional states? In the past ten years, research into the topic of music and emotion has flourished. This book explores the relationship between music and emotion, bringing together contributions from psychologists, neuroscientists, musicologists, musicians, and philosophers .
The relationship between emotional arousal and long-term memory is addressed in two experiments in which subjects viewed either a relatively emotionally neutral short story or a closely matched but more emotionally arousing story and were tested for retention of the story 2 weeks later. Experiment 1 provides essential replication of the results of Heuer and Reisberg and illustrates the common interpretive problem posed by the use of different stimuli in the neutral versus emotional stories. In Experiment 2, identical slides (...) were used in both the neutral and arousal stores. Two different stories were created by varying the narration that accompanied each slide. In both experiments, subjects who viewed the arousal story both experienced a greater emotional reaction to the story than did the subjects who viewed the neutral story, and subsequently exhibited enhanced memory for the story. Subjects in Experiment 2 who viewed the arousal story also recalled more slides than did the subjects who viewed the neutral story. This effect was greatest for story phase 2, the phase in which the emotional slide narration occurred. Because this enhanced retention of the story slides cannot be explained by any differences in the slides themselves, the results provide new evidence to support the contention that emotional arousal influences long-term memory in normal human subjects. (shrink)
The understanding of emergent, self-organizing phenomena has been immensely deepened in recent years on the basis of simulation-based theoretical research. We discuss these new ideas, and illustrate them using examples from several fields. Our discussion serves to introduce equivalent self-organized phenomena in social interaction. Interaction systems appear to be structured partly by virtue of such emergents. These appear under specific conditions: When cognitive buffering is inadequate relative to the levels of stress persons are subjected to, anxiety-spreading has the potential of (...) pushing their interaction into nonlinear conditions. Arousal in these conditions produces effects on behavior arising from biological sources-indeed, behavior can come under the control of reflex patterns. When this occurs, psychological activity no longer screens off biological controls over behavior. As the direct effects of biological activity spill into interaction, attachment behavior introduced into an interaction system can produce effects that are transmitted beyond dyads to produce global social patterns. These effects illustrate how strong interactions based in biological activity can produce an architecture for social systems. (shrink)
Some philosophers have regarded the connection between hues and certain arousal or affective qualities as so intimate as to make them inseparable, and this “necessary concomitance view” has been invoked to defend functionalism against arguments based on inverted spectra. Support for the necessary concomitance view has sometimes been thought to accrue from experiments in psychology. This paper examines three experiments, two of which apparently offer support for the view. It argues that careful consideration of these experiments undermines this appearance (...) of support. General lessons are drawn concerning the problem that individual differences present for functionalism, and the difficulty of supporting strong conclusions about concomitance by using the methods of experimental psychology. (shrink)
Kensinger (2009) and Mather (2007) both argue that intrinsic features of emotional items are remembered better than intrinsic features of non-emotional items. However, Kensinger attributes these effects to negative valence whereas Mather attributes them to arousal. In this paper, we note several reasons why arousal may be the driving factor even when a study reveals more detailed memory for negative items than for positive items. We also reanalyze previous data (Mather & Nesmith, 2008) to show that although both (...)arousal and negative valence were correlated with memory accuracy, enhanced memory accuracy was accounted for by arousal rather than valence. (shrink)
Subjective feelings of familiarity associated with a stimulus tend to be strongest when specific information about the previous encounter with the stimulus is difficult to retrieve . Recognizing: The judgment of previous occurrence. Psychological Review, 87, 252–271.]). When a stimulus has been encountered previously and the circumstances of the encounter cannot be recollected, additional cognitive resources may be directed toward recollection processes; this resource allocation is accompanied by autonomic arousal [Dawson, M. E., Filion, D. L., & Schell, A. M. (...) . Is elicitation of the autonomic orienting response associated with allocation of processing resources?. Psychophysiology, 26, 560–572]. One easily measurable index of autonomic arousal is the skin conductance response . In the present study, participants studied lists of words and then gave recognition ratings to briefly displayed and masked studied and nonstudied test words while their SCRs were monitored. Results revealed a relationship between recognition ratings and the temporal characteristics of the SCR, supporting the idea that feelings of familiarity are indeed “feelings” in that they stem from autonomic arousal associated with cognitive resource allocation. (shrink)
Moderate physiological or emotional arousal induced after learning modulates memory consolidation, helping to distinguish important memories from trivial ones. Yet, the contribution of subjective awareness or interpretation of arousal to this effect is uncertain. Alexithymia, which is an inability to describe or identify one’s emotional and arousal states even though physiological responses to arousal are intact, provides a tool to evaluate the role of arousal interpretation. Participants scoring high and low on alexithymia learned a list (...) of 30 words, followed by immediate recall. Participants then saw either an arousing or neutral video . Memory was tested 24-h later. Physiological response to arousal was comparable between groups, but subjective response to arousal was impaired in high alexithymia. Yet, delayed word recognition was enhanced by arousal regardless of alexithymia status. Thus, subjective response to arousal, i.e., cognitive appraisal, was not necessary for memory modulation to occur. (shrink)
Decety (2011) considers the cognitive neuroscience of empathy and, in particular, his three-component model of empathic responding. His position is highly influential with its emotional awareness/understanding and emotional regulation components representing clear extensions of previous theorizing on empathy. In this brief commentary, I will critically consider the third of his components: affective arousal. In particular, I will consider the implications of the literature to the proposed computations, based on perception—action coupling, that underlie this component of his model. I will (...) suggest that perception—action coupling does not underlie affective arousal but rather that this is mediated by far more simple mechanisms of emotional arousal based on conditioning. (shrink)
Nell restricts cruelty to hominids, although good evidence suggests that secondary aggression in rodents and particularly primates may be considered cruel. A considerable literature shows that glucocorticoid secretion stimulated by stress facilitates learning, memory, arousal, and aggressive behavior. Either secondary aggression (to a conspecific) or increased affiliative behavior reduces stressor-induced activity, suggesting the reward system can be satisfied by other behaviors than cruelty.
Saccadic chronostasis refers to the subjective temporal lengthening of the first visual stimulus perceived after an eye movement. It has been quantified using a duration discrimination task. Most models of human duration discrimination hypothesise an internal clock. These models could explain chronostasis as a transient increase in internal clock speed due to arousal following a saccade, leading to temporal overestimation. Two experiments are described which addressed this hypothesis by parametrically varying the duration of the stimuli that are being judged. (...) Changes in internal clock speed predict chronostasis effects proportional to stimulus duration. No evidence for proportionality was found. Two further experiments assessed the appropriateness of the control conditions employed. Results indicated that the chronostasis effect is constant across a wide range of stimulus durations and does not reflect the pattern of visual stimulation experienced during a saccade, suggesting that arousal is not critical. Instead, alternative processes, such as one affecting the onset of timing are implicated. Further research is required to select between these alternatives. (shrink)
Aristotle, in the Rhetoric, appears to claim both that emotion-arousal has no place in the essential core of rhetorical expertise and that it has an extremely important place as one of three technical kinds of proof. This paper offers an account of how this apparent contradiction can be resolved. The resolution stems from a new understanding of what Rhetoric I. I refers to - not emotions, but set-piece rhetorical devices aimed at manipulating emotions, which do not depend on the (...) facts of the case in which they are deployed. This understanding is supported by showing how it fits with evidence for how rhetoric was actually taught in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, in particular by Thrasymachus and Gorgias. The proposed interpretation fits well with Aristotle's overall view of the nature of rhetoric, the structure of rhetorical speeches, and what is and is not relevant to the pragma, the issue of the case at hand. (shrink)
This commentary extends arousal theory to suggest an explanation for the well-established inverse correlation between church attendance and involvement in crime. In addition, the results of two surveys of social scientists are reviewed to reveal just how little impact the biosocial/sociobiological perspective has had thus far on social science.
There are wide individual differences in the ability to detect a stimulus contingency embedded in a complex paradigm. The present study used a cognitive masking paradigm to better understand individual differences related to contingency learning. Participants were assessed on measures of electrodermal arousal and on working memory capacity before engaging in the contingency learning task. Contingency awareness was assessed both by trial-by-trial verbal reports obtained during the task and by a short post-task recognition questionnaire. Participants who became aware had (...) fewer non-specific skin conductance responses and tended to score higher on a digit span assessment. Skin conductance level was not significantly lower in the aware group than in the unaware group. These findings are consistent with studies showing that lower arousal and greater cognitive processing capacity facilitate conscious perception of a greater breadth of information within a scene or a task. (shrink)
The key questions arising from Mealey's analysis are: Do environmental factors such as early maternal rejection also contribute to the emotional deficits observed in psychopaths? Are there psychophysiological protective factors for antisocial behavior that have clinical implications? Does a disinhibited temperament and low arousal predispose to primary psychopathy? Would primary or secondary psychopaths be most characterized by prefrontal dysfunction?
Background: Human sexual classical conditioning effects are less robust compared with those obtained in other animals. The artificiality of the laboratory environment and/or the unconditioned stimulus (US) used (e.g. watching erotic film clips as opposed to participating in sexual activity) may contribute to this discrepancy. The present experiment used a field study design to explore the conditioning of human sexual arousal. Method: Seven heterosexual couples were instructed to include a novel, neutrally preferred scent as the conditioned stimulus (CS+) during (...) sexual interaction and another novel scent during non-sexual coupledinteraction (e.g. watching a movie, studying together). Seven control couples used both scents during nonsexual interaction. Conducted over a 2-week period, both experimental and control couples had three sexual interactions (oral sex and/or intercourse). In addition, experimental couples had three, while the controls had six, non-sexual interactions. Genital responding to and affective preference for the odors were assessed in the laboratory before and after the experience in the men. Results: We observed significantly increased genital responding to the CS+in the experimental relative to the control group; however, conditioned responses were not much stronger than those obtained during laboratory conditioning. Experimental males also showed a trend for decreased preference for the CS-odor. They may have learned that this odor predicted that sexual interaction with their partner would not occur. Conclusion: The present study provides another demonstration of conditioned sexual arousal in men, specifically an instance of such learning that happened in a real-world setting. It also suggests that inhibitory learning may occur, at least with the affective measure. Keywords: sexual classical conditioning; humans; evaluative conditioning (Published: 15 March 2012) Citation: Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2012, 2 : 17336 - DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17336. (shrink)
What is the biological function of daily mood variations? What is the relationship between mood and such factors as exercise, time of day, nutrition, stress, and illness? Drawing on his own wide-ranging research concerning subjective assessments of mood and on extensive research by others, Dr. Thayer presents a comprehensive theory of normal mood states, viewing them as subjective components of two biological arousal systems, one which people find energizing, and the other which people describe as producing tension. The author (...) explains these two mood effects in relation to a complex relationship between energy and tension. Relevant research is systematically reviewed, and moods are analyzed in relation to circadian rhythms, exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress, and cognition. Perceptual and motivational effects of mood are also discussed, as are measurement and research design issues. Unique in its depth and comprehensiveness, this book will be of interest not only to researchers in psychology, biology, and medicine, but its clear style of presentation and the practical activities suggested for mood regulation will make it interesting to general readers as well. (shrink)