7.5 Key Takeaways, Knowledge Check and Key Terms

Key Takeaways

In this chapter, we learned that:

  • Affect helps us engage in behaviors that are appropriate to our perceptions of a social situation.
  • Our emotions are determined in part by responses of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the limbic system (particularly the amygdala). The outcome of the activation of the SNS is the experience of arousal.
  • The basic emotions of anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise are expressed and experienced consistently across many different cultures. Cultural display rules help dictate when and how to show emotions to others. These display rules are different across cultures.
  • There are also a large number of secondary emotions, such as guilt, shame, and embarrassment, that provide us with more complex feelings about our social worlds and that are more cognitively based. Cognitive appraisal also allows us to experience a variety of secondary emotions.
  • We express our emotions to others through nonverbal behaviours, and we learn about the emotions of others by observing them.
  • Emotional intelligence is the degree to which an individual has the ability to perceive (recognizing emotions when they occur – self-awareness), understand (the ability to understand why emotions and feelings arise – self-management), communicate (articulating one’s emotions and feelings to another person – social awareness), and manage emotions and feelings (being able to use emotions effectively during interpersonal relationships – relationship management).
  • Emotional awareness involves an individual’s ability to recognize their feelings and communicate about them effectively. One of the common problems that some people have with regards to emotional awareness is a lack of a concrete emotional vocabulary for both positive and negative feelings. When people cannot adequately communicate about their feelings, they will never get what they need out of a relationship.
  • Stress as the physical and psychological reactions that occur whenever we believe that the demands of a situation threaten our ability to respond to the threat
  • Situations causing stress are known as stressors. Stressors can vary in length and intensity.
  • People who have recently experienced extreme negative situations experience stress, but everyday minor hassles can also create stress.
  • The general adaptation syndrome is the common pattern of events that characterizes someone who experiences stress. The three stages of the syndrome are alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.
  • The experience of prolonged stress creates an increase in general arousal in the SNS and physiological changes through the HPA axis.
  • Not all people experience and respond to stress in the same way, and these differences can be important. One difference in response is between the fight-or-flight response and the tend-and-befriend response.
  • The four As of stress reduction can help us reduce stress. They include: avoid, alter, adapt, and accept. By using the four As to determine the best approach to deal with a certain stressor, we can begin to have a more positive outlook on the stressor and learn to handle it better.
  • Two common types of stress at work are frustration when goals are impeded and anxiety if an individual feels that they are not capable of dealing with future problems. The damage resulting from stress is called strain.
  • Four organization influences on stress can be identified:  occupational differences,  role ambiguity, role conflict, and role overload or underutilization.
  • Three personal influences on stress are: personal control, or the desire to have some degree of control over one’s environment; rate of life change; and Type A personality.
  • The effects of potential stress can be buffered by two factors: social support from one’s coworkers or friends and hardiness, or the ability to perceptually and behaviorally transform negative stressors into positive challenges.
  • Sustained stress can lead to health problems; counterproductive behavior, such as turnover, absenteeism, drug abuse, and sabotage; poor job performance; and burnout.
  • Burnout is defined as a general feeling of exhaustion that can develop when a person simultaneously experiences too much pressure to perform and too few sources of satisfaction.
  • Individual strategies to reduce stress include developing one’s self-awareness about how to behave on the job, developing outside interests, leaving the organization, and finding a unique solution.
  • Organizational strategies to reduce stress include improved personnel selection and job placement, skills training, job redesign,  company-sponsored counseling programs, increased employee participation and personal control, enhanced work group cohesiveness, improved communication, and health promotion programs.
  • Developing emotional intelligence and using positive self-talk can help us to better manage stressors.

Knowledge Check

Review your understanding of this chapter’s key concepts by taking the interactive quiz below.



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