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Science
EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER - SERIES 2
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Why have we evolved to experience emotions?

Tuesdays 2 to 30 March 2004, 9.30-9.45am

The emotions have long been ignored by psychologists, who have concentrated on more easily measurable processes like memory and learning. But social scientists are now finally focussing on feelings, as evidence piles up that we are at the mercy of our emotions.

Emotions

Listen again to Series 1 here >>

Listen again to Series 2 below

Emotions are defined as complex reactions that engage our bodies and minds. After the success of the first series of Emotional Rollercoaster, Claudia Hammond climbs aboard again to examine 5 more emotions. In each programme she'll range from why we've evolved to experience it to how the brain produces it, introducing us both to the scientists who are conducting the latest research and to people like you and me who ride the emotional rollercoaster daily.

Programme 1 - Disgust - 2 March 2004

It's been described as 'the pull-away' emotion, yet we're also fascinated by disgusting things, particularly as children. There's a huge range of things that make us go 'ugh!' and this programme asks why? Could it be a way of making us shun contamination and potential disease-threat? Is what we're pulling away from actually a reminder of our own mortality? Or is disgust simply a way of providing the rules we need if we're to function as a social group? And could sufferers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder simply be hyper-sensitive to disgust?

Listen again to Programme 1 Listen again to Programme 1

Test your sensitivity to disgust here >>

Taking part:

Dr Val Curtis - Senior Lecturer in Hygiene Promotion at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Hygiene in the Home: relating bugs and behaviour - Social Science and Medicine 57
Talking Dirty: How to save a million lives - International Journal of Environmental Health Research 2003

Paul Rozin - Professor of Psychology at University of Pennsylvania

Mary Douglas - Professor of Anthropology, University College London (retired)
Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo - Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Books
Paperback - 12 September, 2002 ISBN: 0744800110

Paul Ekman, Professor of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco
Emotions Revealed: Understanding Faces and Feelings - Weidenfeld and Nicholson 2003 ISBN: 029760757X
Paperback due out June 2004 Phoenix ISBN: 0753817659

Michael Rosen
Howler - Bloomsbury 2004 ISBN: 0747556369
This is Not My Nose - Penguin Books 2004 ISBN: 0141015837

Programme 2 - Joy - 9 March 2004

While we have endless ways of describing sadness and misery, joy and happiness occupy a very small portion of our everyday vocabulary. Yet we find joy in many and varied ways, right from the start of life - scans have even shown babies smiling in the womb. But what is joy? Is it simply a label we give to a certain sense of well-being we get when we laugh? Research shows that the simple act of laughing makes us feel happy, and now there's evidence that just by imagining ourselves laughing we can capture that joyful feeling.

Listen again to Programme 2 Listen again to Programme 2

Taking part:

Nicola Green - artist
Nicola presents Laugh Out Loud here on Radio 4 at 8.30pm on May 3rd.

Paul Ekman, Professor of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco

Randy Cornelius (see series 1)
The Science of Emotion: Research and Tradition in the Psychology of Emotions - Randoph R Cornelius 1997
US Imports & PHIPEs; ISBN: 0133001539

Dr Dylan Evans - Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Autonomous Systems, University of the West of England
Emotion: The Science of Sentiment - Oxford University Press 2001; ISBN: 019285433X

Dr Joanna Hawthorne - Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge
Nakia Gordon - Research Associate, Michigan State University


Programme 3 - Sympathy - 16 March 2004

It used to be thought that the ability to feel sympathy did not emerge until an infant was well over a year old - until they had the beginnings of a theory of mind, and were able to distinguish themselves from the world around them. But new research shows that even small babies cry when they hear other babies crying; it seems that we're born sympathetic. But the danger lies in feeling too much empathy; if you put yourself in another's shoes, you may experience their distress to such an extent that you're rendered incapable of helping them. General practitioners have to tread this fine line daily.

Listen again to Programme 3 Listen again to Programme 3

Taking part:

Dr Riccardo Draghi-Lorenz, Lecturer in Dept of Psychology, University of Surrey (see series 1)

Dr Dylan Evans - Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Autonomous Systems, University of the West of England

Nancy Eisenberg - Regents Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University

Jo Silvester - Professor of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London


Programme 4 - Love - 23 March 2004

It's the emotion we all crave, yet it's the one that can cause the most pain. Why do we not learn the lesson of love, but continue to seek out the partner of our fantasies, instead of settling for the steady, reliable one next door? Is it simply a way of re-creating an adrenolin rush? And is mother-love best, after all? New research shows that oxytocin, the brain chemical which controls the mother-infant bonding process, also features in sexual love.

Listen again to Programme 4 Listen again to Programme 4

Taking part:

Elaine Hatfield - Professor of Psychology, University of Hawaii
Love, Sex, and Intimacy: Their Psychology, Biology, and History - by Elaine Hatfield, Richard L. Rapson 1994
Longman ISBN: 0065007026

Randy Cornelius (see series 1)
The Science of Emotion: Research and Tradition in the Psychology of Emotions - Randoph R Cornelius 1997
US Imports & PHIPEs; ISBN: 0133001539

Dr Dylan Evans - Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Autonomous Systems, University of the West of England

Andreas Bartels - Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics


Programme 5 - Hope - 30 March 2004

How realistic are our hopes? Researchers have now coined the term 'false hope syndrome' to account for our regular and repeated failures to stick with our new year's resolutions. Yet without hope, it seems, we die. Depression can be defined as the condition of hopelessness, but while we're depressed we're actually much more realistic in our expectations of what is achievable - a gauge of recovery from depression is when the patient's outlook returns to one of unrealistic optimism. So hope is essential, but we must make it realistic if we're to avoid being constantly disappointed.

Listen again to Programme 5 Listen again to Programme 5

Taking part:

Janet Polivy - Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto
The False Hope Syndrome: Unfulfilled Expectations of Self Change - Janet Polivy and C Peter Hermann, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol 9, No 4, August 2000

Chris Peterson - Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan

Randy Cornelius (see series 1)
The Science of Emotion: Research and Tradition in the Psychology of Emotions - Randoph R Cornelius 1997
US Imports & PHIPEs; ISBN: 0133001539

Dr Dylan Evans - Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Autonomous Systems, University of the West of England
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EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER
Series 1:
Fear, Anger, Guilt & Shame, Sadness and Jealousy
Series 2:
Disgust, Joy, Sympathy,
Love and Hope
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