Human Motivation 6th Edition by Robert E. Franken – Test Bank
Goal-Congruent (Positive) Emotions
Overview: Goal-directed behavior involves the interaction between the person and the environment in the pursuit of specific outcomes from that interaction. According to Lazarus, emotions result from our cognitive appraisals of such interactions. Whereas negative (goal-incongruent) emotions can act to disrupt goal-directed behavior, positive (goal-congruent) emotions not only act as feedback that progress is being made toward the goal, but also serve to sustain and reinforce the goal-directed behavior. By examining the biological, learned, and cognitive factors involved in goal-congruent emotions, this chapter provides insight as to how positive emotions such as happiness, and positive states of mind (implicit theories about the self and the world) such as optimism, self-efficacy, and hope, act to facilitate goal-attainment.
The following is a summary of the contents of this chapter:
I. On Happiness, the Prefrontal Cortex, and Coping: Happiness as an emotion is introduced in this chapter by using Lazarus’s definition of happiness (that happiness is ‘making reasonable progress toward the realization of a goal’), by describing how happiness is measured (e.g., questionnaires on ‘subjective well-being’, SWB), and by briefly discussing three myths (few people are happy, money can make you happy, and the level of happiness can’t be changed) about the origins of happiness. The biological contribution to happiness as a positive emotion is then described by pointing out (1) that twin studies indicate a heritability ratio of 50% for happiness; (2) that extraversion is positively related to happiness while neuroticism is negatively related to happiness (both traits being strongly influenced by the genes); (3) that a more active BAS relative to the BIS characterizes extraversion, happiness, optimism, and approach behaviors, while a more active BIS relative to the BAS characterizes neuroticism, negative affect, and avoidance behaviors, and, finally, (4) that a more active left prefrontal cortex relative to the right prefrontal cortex is linked to positive emotions while a more active right prefrontal cortex relative to left prefrontal cortex is linked to negative emotions. The learning and cognitive contributions to happiness are discussed in the context of an evolutionary argument: that the emergence of the prefrontal cortex, with its disposition and capacity to appraise and inhibit emotions and to make and communicate plans or strategies for goal achievement, served the adaptive purpose of allowing humans to learn how to conquer theirs fears and to effectively cope with threats to their survival; reduction of fear and effective coping are major sources of positive emotion such as happiness. The flow experience is described as an illustration of the relationship between freedom from fear, effective coping, and happiness. It is also argued that the left prefrontal cortex, which is associated with positive affect, is in the service of the prosocial affective system (Buck), and, as such, the emergence of the prefrontal cortex, with its disposition for planning, served the adaptive function of promoting the survival and subjective well-being of the species through mechanism of cultural evolution. In support of the latter is data indicating a positive relationship between good social relations and happiness. Finally, the relationship between happiness and coping is further explored by discussing the biological mechanisms that underlie the relationship between effective coping and positive affect, and the learning and cognitive mechanism involved in this relationship by describing Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. The latter theory (broaden-and-build)
holds that positive emotions broaden people’s momentary ‘thought-action repertoires’ which sums with their previously existing thought-action repertoires to open up more possibilities and/or alternatives of action and, thereby, enhance the likelihood of successful coping. It also holds that people who are resilient are good at triggering positive emotions which allow them to cope and move forward by looking for the positive when faced with adversity.
- The Question of Uncertainty and Coping: This section discusses how the ambiguity or uncertainty associated with events in everyday life can work against happiness by inducing fear and anxiety. This fear and anxiety can cause inaction, either because no clear pathway to effective coping exists, or because we lack the knowledge and skills needed to effectively cope in such situations. From a biological perspective, uncertainty induces increased levels of epinephrine and heightened arousal, the physiology that underlies fear and anxiety. If attempts at coping are made, there is an increase in epinephrine and norepinephrine, and if the coping action is effective, epinephrine and arousal decrease while norepinephrine remains high, the physiology that underlies a reduction in stress and the experience of positive affect. However, whether an individual attempts to take action (cope) appears to depend upon learning and cognitive factors: people whose experiences have lead them to develop a high sense of self-efficacy are more likely to take action in the face of uncertainty than those who are low in a sense of self-efficacy, and people who are able to cognitively reframe negative situations into positive ones are also more likely to take action. Although taking action in the face of uncertainty can be ineffective and even embarrassing, it can also allow the individual to avoid experiencing a major negative affect (regret) associated with inaction, and thereby permit greater happiness in the long run.
III. Optimism and Hope: This section focuses on the mechanisms thought to be responsible for optimism and hope, which allows people to persist in the pursuit of goals in the face of difficulties and adversity. Scheier’s and Carver’s definition of optimism is presented (that optimism is a generalized expectancy that good, as opposed to bad, outcomes will generally occur when confronted with problems across important life domains), and it is pointed out that, whereas pessimism is principally linked to neuroticism and negative affect, optimism is principally linked to extraversion and positive affect, suggesting that they are not simply opposite ends of the same continuum. From the biological perspective, it is argued that optimism evolved as an adaptation to the problem faced by our ancestors of having to persist in their hunting behavior in the face of adversity and injury in order to survive. One mechanism that is thought to have emerged to promote optimism is the release of endorphins that reduce pain and produce euphoria when injuries occur. The contribution of learning and cognition to optimism is described through a discussion of Seligman’s theory that learned explanatory styles differentiate between optimist and pessimist, and several studies supporting the theory are discussed in detail. Snyder’s cognitive conception and definition of hope (that hope involves agentic and pathway thinking; that is, that hopeful people believe that they have the ability to achieve a goal–agentic thinking, and that they know how or can come up with the way(s) to achieve that goal–pathway thinking) is also briefly described.
IV. The Question of Attachment: In this section the importance of parent-child bonding in producing feelings of happiness and self-worth is discussed. From the biological perspective, evolutionary psychologists argue that the infant is designed to form secure attachments because such attachments provide a sense of protection that frees the child from fears and threats, making them more willing to explore their environments and learn. That learning and cognition contribute to this sense of attachment is supported by data that suggest that different parenting styles (such as secure attachment, anxious/ambivalent attachment, and avoidant attachment) lead to different feelings of self-worth and happiness, and differentially affects the willingness to explore the environment and learn.
- Goal-congruent emotions facilitate and sustain the attainment of personal goals.
- Lazarus suggests that the core relational theme of happiness is making reasonable progress
toward the realization of a goal.
- Twin studies indicate that 50% of happiness is inherited. Although cognitive theorists view
happiness as a means to an end (goal), hedonists conceptualize happiness as an end (goal).
- Happiness has been linked to our conquest of various fears and our ability to make plans.
- The flow experience is often used as an example of what is involved in the happiness
- Research indicates that norepinephrine is released when organisms make coping responses
and that making coping responses typically lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety.
- Bandura has argued that people do not avoid potentially threatening situations because they
experience anxiety and arousal but, rather, because they fear they will not be able to cope
either behaviorally or cognitively.
- Ozer and Bandura have suggested that there is a dual route to controlling anxiety. Their
research suggests that the main route to anxiety control comes from developing skills
- Optimists and hopeful people tend to view all desired outcomes as potentially attainable.
- Seligman has suggested that optimism arises from people’s explanatory style. Optimists
view (explain) setbacks, failures, and adversity as temporary, specific to a given situation,
and caused by external causes.