You will be assigned one of the readings below:

Write a paragraph (minimum 2 PEEs) that explains how cognitive and biological factors interact in emotion according to the article you read. Be sure to reference 1 research study within your response to support your points and make clear when you are explaining cognitive or biological factors. Paste your response in the appropriate box in the table below:

The article “Facial Expression and Emotion” by Paul Ekman talks about how certain feelings in our body lead to facial expressions that show what emotion we are portraying. Paul Ekman asks a question, and the question is if it is “[possible to express] emotion without facial expression”. Ekman takes this question and splits it into two separate questions. The first question he goes about answering is, if you consider the emotions that have a universal facial expression attached to them (such as sadness or happiness), can these “emotions occur without any semblance of the expression”. He goes to explain how there has been evidence, through past experiments conducted with EEG’s, that it is possible for some people to have no facial movement even with emotions changes in their autonomic nervous system. Another idea that the article suggests is if facial expressions can be present with no emotion being present. Obviously, Ekman mentions that it is possible for people to “fabricate” their facial expressions when they do not feel any sort of emotion at all. One example that he brings up help explain his answer is taken from a research study conducted by a French neurologist. The French neurologist found out that the muscle that is present around the eye constricts when someone feels actually happiness or enjoyment. This article identifies how biological factors, the autonomic nervous system and muscle contractions, connects to emotion and how it is presented from humans.

Research has shown that what people have believed to be true about facial expressions have actually been false all along. While most believed that facial expressions were the key to sensing other people’s emotions, according to Harold Schlosberg, “the face was considered a meager source of mostly inaccurate, culture-specific stereotypical information” (Bruner and Tagiuri, 1954). When attention is focused solely on specific facial expressions, they can trick someone by “contradicting the emotion the person verbally claims to be feeling” (Ekman, 1992). Studies have shown that there are certain factors that play a crucial role in determining emotions through facial expressions. Studying emotion, considering both nature and nurture, searching for emotion-specific physiology, specifying the events that precede emotions, examining ontogeny, examining more than verbal behavior, considering emotions as families, considering emotions to be discrete states, and finally considering expressions in determining how many emotions there really are, are all ways to really seek out what emotions are hidden behind certain facial expressions. “Can there be emotion without facial expression?” is also a question that is often raised when considering how emotions are intertwined with certain facial expressions. According to recent research, there have been challenges from psychologists who study how “words are used to judge photographs of facial expressions” (Ekman, 1992). However, nobody has proved with evidence that the interpretation of fear, anger, disgust, sadness, or happiness is different throughout different cultures. Some findings on facial expressions have even led researchers to view emotion as psychobiological, influenced by evolution and genetics as well as environmental circumstances.
- linjaime linjaime May 16, 2010

Research has shown that touches can help to bring about particular emotions through cognitive and biological factors. For example, researchers at University of California, Berkeley have conducted a study to see how physical interactions between basketball players affect their performance. They found that players who touch their teammates the most also tend to be the more talented players. Consequently, their contribution to the team also helps the team be a better team, as is the case with Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics. Researchers have found that touches such as high fives or pats on the back releases oxytocin and reduces the level of cortisol. Theses changes in hormone levels changes the attitude of those who experience a touch, gaining the feeling of trust or encouragement from oxytocin and feeling less stress from the reduction of cortisol. Biological factors of changing levels of hormones and cognitive factors of feeling trust or less stress create positive emotions and eliminate negative emotions. Additionally, researchers have found that the prefrontal areas of the brain also relax through a touch. The prefrontal cortex deals with problem solving, and when the prefrontal cortex relaxes, less problem solving can take place. When someone is touched, this occurs in the brain because the body will interpret a touch as trust and mutualism, where the other person will help share the load. Through the biological factor of the relaxation of the prefrontal cortex, and the cognitive factor of mutualism, better emotions can arise as stress is unloaded. Biological factors in the function of the brain or changing hormone levels as well as cognitive factors of interpreting a touch all interact in creating certain emotions.
- vkung vkung May 12, 2010
Recent research has shown that oxytocin has both biological and cognitive factors in the way it functions. It has been commonly known that oxytocin is released during birth labour and breast feeding, as well as during sexual intercourse for both males and females, but recent studies have shown that maybe oxytocin can be administered and cause changes within people. The research study conducted by Rene Hurlemann and Keith Kendrick examined whether a person’s feelings of empathy and learning could be manipulated with the administration of oxytocin (Kluger, 2010). The participants were 48 men, half of which were administered with oxytocin, and the other half with placebo. It was discovered that “You enhance empathy and in the process, you enhance social learning” (Kluger, 2010). People who had been administered with oxytocin showed higher emotional empathy levels when exposed to the same scenarios as the people who received placebos (Kluger, 2010). This suggests that the release of oxytocin can be increased in order to increase the feelings of empathy in a person. This becomes a possible cure for the people who have autism or have slight depression, because it can boost their ability to recognize and empathize with other people’s situations. A cognitive implication of oxytocin was also discovered by Hurlemann and Kendrick in the second part of their experiment. They discovered that men who had been administered with oxytocin showed enhanced social learning skills, which suggests that oxytocin improves the cognitive learning process. This is to say that the emotion of empathy is affected by the biological factor of the level of oxytocin hormone released in a person, and also by the process of social learning(referred to as ‘social cognition', our ability to feel what other people are feeling and take their point of view).
- sakujun_marylu sakujun_marylu May 12, 2010


Men will always be men. That is, they will always behave the same way about love and sex.They are biologically wired to do so. Although males and females are of the same species, there are slight, yet distinct differences in the way their brains are structured. (Brizendine, 2010) These slight differences in the formation of the male and female brain, coupled with cognition, play a big part in the varying emotions that they experience. For example, males have a larger dorsal premammillary nucleus, which is an area associated with the male tendency to establish territories, while females have a larger mirror-neuron system, which is associated with empathetic feelings. (Brizendine, 2010) This accounts for the competitiveness of males, as well as their increased experience of the flight or flight response, and for a women’s abilities to be in sync with the emotions of others. Furthermore, despite the belief that men tend to be more tolerant than women, they actually have stronger emotional reactions than women. One study of men’s faces revealed that the male brain’s initial reaction to a stimuli is stronger than the female brains. (Brizendine, 2010) However, the reason as to why women are generally more emotional is because males have have been brought up to believe that they should not reveal their emotions. Therefore, they tend to mask their true emotions, which can potentially cause them to appear as if they are void of any feelings whatsoever. They also tend to make decisions, which is a cognitive process, based on analytical data. (Brizendine, 2010) This means that instead of responding emotionally to a situation like women tend to do, a man’s initial response is to analyze the situation in order to think of a way to solve it. This is due to the analytical way that the brain is wired. As a result, the emotions that men experience are influenced by the interaction of cognitive and biological factors.

- VonLyn VonLyn May 12, 2010
In the article “The Moral Life of Babies” by Paul Bloom we read that babies may have a sense of morality and interpretations of the world from the moment they are born. Scientists have had trouble figuring out how to study babies, after all, they have no method of communication. They found out that they could study babies through their eye. When babies see something interesting they look at it for a longer time than other this. In an experiment from the 1980s, researchers found out that babies already have a concept of physics in the world. When babies saw things that defied their sense of physics, such as a block floating in mid air, or disappearing to reappear somewhere else, they stared at the object for a while. This can show surprise. Here, the babies’ perception of the world is shattered when they see something that defies their perception. Biologically, the baby’s eyes see the object doing something unexpected, take that to the brain, and then they have a physiological response to stare at the object for longer than usual. Babies also seem care for others from an extremely young age. “Human babies, notably, cry more to the cries of other babies than to tape recordings of their own crying, suggesting that they are responding to their awareness of someone else’s pain, not merely to a certain pitch of sound. Babies also seem to want to assuage the pain of others: once they have enough physical competence (starting at about 1 year old), they soothe others in distress by stroking and touching or by handing over a bottle or toy.” (Bloom, 2010) From this we see that the babies’ cognition allows them to realize the other is in pain, or unhappy (perception) and they react with a physiological response to cry. They also try to soothe others pain in different ways (problem solving) by the physiological response of a comforting touch.
- Azthic Azthic May 12, 2010
Cognitive and biological factors do interact on various levels in emotion. In an experiment conducted by Speisman et al. (1964), participants were shown a film about a ceremony involving unpleasant genital surgery. The aim was to see whether people’s emotional reaction to the unpleasant film could be manipulated. This was done by showing the film with three different soundtracks. In the first condition, the trauma condition, a soundtrack was played which emphasized the pain and mutilation. In the second condition, the denial condition, the soundtrack showed the participants as willing and happy. In the third condition, the intellectualization condition, the soundtrack gave the anthropological interpretation of the ceremony. As a result, it was shown that “participants reacted more emotionally to the trauma condition” (pg. 90). This could explain that it is not the events themselves that bring out emotional stress, but rather an individual’s interpretation or appraisal of those events. Meanwhile, LeDoux’s model of two biological pathways in the brain could also explain the interaction between the cognitive and biological factors. For example, there are two biological pathways of emotions in the brain. The first is a short route that goes from thalamus to amygdala; the second is a long route that passes via the sensory cortex and hippocampus before it results in an emotional response. The short route enables the brain to send signals to the body so that it can prepare for immediate action. At the same time, the thalamus sends the information through the long route to the cortex and hippocampus for closer examination. This results in a more thorough evaluation of the stimulus through the cognitive appraisal, and the outcome of this is then sent to the amygdala. According to LeDoux, the advantage of having “direct and indirect pathways to the amygdala is flexibility in responses” (pg. 89). Whereas the fast and direct pathway is useful because it saves time, which can be important in terms of life and death, the long pathway allows for a more thorough evaluation of a situation, preventing people from making inappropriate responses to situations.
- iamjeff33 iamjeff33 May 12, 2010
Works Cited:
Brizendine, L. (2010, March 25). Love, sex and the male brain. Retrieved from

Crane, J., & Hannibal, J. (2009). Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.