1. Study suggests association between gut bacteria and emotion

    July 19, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences press release:

    Researchers have identified gut microbiota that interact with brain regions associated with mood and behavior. This may be the first time that behavioral and neurobiological differences associated with microbial composition in healthy humans have been identified.

    Brain-gut-microbiota interactions may play an important role in human health and behavior. Previous research suggests that microbiota, a community of microorganisms in the gut, can influence behavior and emotion. Rodent models have demonstrated the effects of gut microbiota on emotional and social behaviors, such as anxiety and depression. There is, however, little evidence of this in humans.

    For this study the researchers sought to identify brain and behavioral characteristics of healthy women clustered by gut microbiota profiles.

    Forty women supplied fecal samples for profiling, and magnetic resonance images were taken of their brains as they viewed images of individuals, activities or things that evoked emotional responses. The women were divided by their gut bacteria composition into two groups: 33 had more of a bacterium called Bacteroides; the remaining seven had more of the Prevotella bacteria. The Bacteroides group showed greater thickness of the gray matter in the frontal cortex and insula, brain regions involved with complex processing of information. They also had larger volumes of the hippocampus, a region involved in memory processing. The Prevotella group, by contrast, showed more connections between emotional, attentional and sensory brain regions and lower brain volumes in several regions, such as the hippocampus. This group’s hippocampus was less active while the women were viewing negative images. They also rated higher levels of negative feelings such as anxiety, distress and irritability after looking at photos with negative images than did the Bacteroides group.

    These results support the concept of brain-gut-microbiota interactions in healthy humans. Researchers do not yet know whether bacteria in the gut influence the development of the brain and its activity when unpleasant emotional content is encountered, or if existing differences in the brain influence the type of bacteria that reside in the gut. Both possibilities, however, could lead to important changes in how one thinks about human emotions.


  2. A new way out of the cycle of rejection

    by Ashley

    From the Society for Consumer Psychology press release:

    Have you ever hosted a party, but as the day approaches, your closest friends say they won’t be able to attend? Or maybe you sent a friend request to someone on Facebook who never responded, or weren’t invited to an event that most of your friends are attending.

    People in these situations usually feel socially excluded, which often leads to antisocial and self-defeating responses. What would it take to persuade people to counteract this spiral toward isolation and instead re-engage in healthy relationships?

    Jayati Sinha, PhD, a professor of marketing at Florida International University, suspected that messages that appeal to emotion — rather than rationality — would be more successful in motivating people in these situations to pursue social activities again.

    When people feel excluded, they keep thinking about that negative experience, and this depletes mental resources,” Sinha says. “This makes it harder to process rational details, so an emotional message is more appealing.”

    To test this hypothesis, Sinha’s team asked participants in one group to write about details of an experience when they felt excluded, and another group to write about an event when they felt included. The third group wrote about a neutral event (the experience of waking up the previous day). Then they showed groups different types of blood donation advertisements. The emotional ad emphasized that blood donation was the gift of life, while the other ad emphasized the number of lives saved.

    The group that had written about feeling socially excluded was much more likely to prefer the emotional ad, while the other groups preferred the rational ad.

    To test whether the messages would translate into action, the researchers conducted another experiment in which the participants viewed different messages about recycling. The emotional ad stated that “The plastic bottles you recycle today will become a new carpet in the future,” while the rational ad presented facts about the number of recycled bottled needed to make a carpet. The participants who were primed to feel socially excluded were much more likely to recycle the plastic juice bottles they received during the experiment if they had seen the emotional message, but the rational ad was more effective for the other groups.

    These findings offer hope to groups that are at risk of feeling isolated, such as the elderly, disabled, widowed, divorced or people living alone, Sinha says. Policy makers and businesses might have more success helping these groups participate in positive activities if messages focus on visual images and words that arouse emotions, rather than highlighting product benefits, deals and convincing arguments.

    “People who feel excluded may be struggling to take care of themselves, so the goal is to communicate to them in ways that persuade them to make changes that improve their quality of life,” Sinha says.


  3. Study examines the secret connection between anxiety, sleep

    July 17, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Tsukuba press release:

    You may have experienced sleepless nights when you were anxious, stressed or too excited. Such emotions are well-known to affect wakefulness and can even cause insomnia, though the underlying mechanisms in our brain have still been unclear. Scientists in the Sleep Institute in Japan spotted neurons that play crucial roles in connecting emotions and sleep, shedding light on the future discovery of drug targets for anxiety disorder and/or sleep disorders.

    Encountering predators, adapting to a novel environment or expecting a reward ? these stressful or emotionally-salient situations require animals to shift their behavior to a vigilant state, altering their physiological conditions through modulation of autonomic and endocrine functions.

    The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is a part of the extended amygdala, which is generally considered as a key player in stress response, fear and anxiety. Through projections to various brain regions including relay nuclei of the autonomic nervous system, hypothalamic regions and the central nucleus of the amygdala, the BNST controls endocrine and autonomic reactions in response to emotionally-salient stimuli, along with behavioral expression of anxiety and fear.

    A group of researchers led by Takeshi Sakurai, Vice Director of the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (WPI-IIIS), University of Tsukuba, found that acute optogenetic excitation of GABAergic neurons in BNST during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep in mice resulted in immediate transition to a wakefulness state without the function of orexins, highly important neuropeptides for maintaining wakefulness. Notably, stimulation of the same neurons during REM sleep did not show any effects on sleep/wakefulness states.

    Prolonged excitation of GABAergic neurons in BNST by a chemogenetic method evoked a longer-lasting, sustained wakefulness state, and it was abolished by administering a dual orexin receptor blocker (antagonist) DORA 22 in advance, meaning that orexins are involved in this phenomenon.

    “Our study revealed a role of the BNST GABAergic system in sleep/wakefulness control, especially in shifting animals’ behavioral states from NREM sleep to wakefulness. It also provides an important insight into the pathophysiology of insomnia and the role of orexin in arousal regulation, which will hopefully lead to the first step to develop remedies for sleep disorders,” Sakurai says.


  4. Study examines effects of digital dating abuse on teens

    by Ashley

    From the University of Michigan press release:

    Teens expect to experience some digital forms of abuse in dating, but girls may be suffering more severe emotional consequences than boys, according to a new study.

    Researchers at the University of Michigan and University of California-Santa Barbara examined the impact of gender on high schoolers’ experience of digital dating abuse behaviors, which include use of cell phones or internet to harass, control, pressure or threaten a dating partner.

    Overall, teens experience this digital dating abuse at similar rates, but girls reported that they were more upset by these behaviors and reported more negative emotional responses.

    “Although digital dating abuse is potentially harmful for all youth, gender matters,” said Lauren Reed, the study’s lead author and an assistant project scientist at University of California-Santa Barbara.

    The study involved 703 Midwest high school students who reported the frequency of digital dating abuse, if they were upset by the “most recent” incidents, and how they responded. Students completed the surveys between December 2013 and March 2014.

    Participants reported sending and receiving at least 51 text messages per day, and spending an average of 22 hours per week using social media. Most participants reported that they text/texted their current or most recent dating partner frequently.

    The survey asked teens to indicate the frequency of experiencing several problematic digital behaviors with a dating partner, including “pressured me to sext” (sending a sexual or naked photo), sent a threatening message, looked at private information to check up on me without permission, and monitored whereabouts and activities.

    Girls indicated more frequent digital sexual coercion victimization, and girls and boys reported equal rates of digital monitoring and control, and digital direct aggression. When confronted with direct aggression, such as threats and rumor spreading, girls responded by blocking communication with their partner. Boys responded in similar fashion when they experienced digital monitoring and control behaviors, the study showed.

    Boys often treat girls as sexual objects, which contributes to the higher rates of digital sexual coercion, as boys may feel entitled to have sexual power over girls, said study co-author Richard Tolman, U-M professor of social work.

    Girls, on the other hand, are expected to prioritize relationships, which can lead to more jealousy and possessiveness, he said. Thus, they may be more likely to monitor boys’ activities.


  5. Study suggests facial expressions are innate rather than imitative

    July 13, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Université de Genève press release:

    Facial expressions play a powerful role in social interactions from birth to adulthood. Fear, joy, anger — all our emotions are articulated and understood thanks to universal codes. Common sense sees this enterprise as an act of imitation: children imitate their parents by reproducing the facial expression linked to each emotion. But if this is the case, does the same hold true for people who were born blind? Do they show their emotions in the same way? The UNIGE researchers analyzed 21 scientific studies conducted between 1932 and 2015 to find the answer, and you can read a summary of their results in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

    The debate about how human beings express their emotions has been with us since Darwin’s time. In short, are expressions of fear, joy and anger innate or acquired? Are they modelled and reinforced through the various observations and visual exchanges occurring in our social life? There is one particular study group that can shed light on the argument: people who have been blind since birth. If they produce facial expressions similar to those of sighted people without the help of visual experience, it might be an important piece of evidence to show that this behaviour is at least in part innate.

    Refined methodology

    The team led by professor Edouard Gentaz from the faculty of psychology and educational sciences (FAPSE) at UNIGE analysed 21 scientific studies that focused on the expression of emotions in people who were born blind. Professor Gentaz discovered that from the 1930s to the 1980s, scientists mainly observed blind babies, finding that their expressions were similar to those of sighted babies, thereby supporting the thesis that there is an innate and universal emotional character. But this method was still dependent on the subjective view of the researchers. From the 1980s, the possibility of analysing the muscles used to express individual emotions in more detail (known as the FACS method) backed up the earlier results: when a blind person spontaneously expresses an emotion, such as surprise, he or she uses the same muscles — in other words, his or her reaction is similar to that of a person who can see. However, when researchers asked someone who was blind to express emotions on demand, they found differences from the expressive norms they expected. And the same results were seen in the decade from 2000. Scientists analysed the 2004 Paralympic Games: blind and sighted athletes articulated their happiness and disappointment in similar ways, including the forced smiles of competitors who finished second, so close to their goal.

    The importance of making faces in front of the mirror

    “The fact that the same muscles are at work when spontaneously expressing emotions may be evidence that it is innate and universal, and not just dependent on social learning by imitation,” explains professor Gentaz. “On the other hand, the fact that blind people can’t voluntarily reproduce these emotions shows the importance of social conventions in learning about the intensity of expressing emotions,” adds Gentaz. Sighted children have multiple opportunities to train themselves to express their emotions, for instance in front of a mirror. They learn to modulate their expressions according to the results they seek. It follows that sighted people develop a structure for expressing their emotions that the blind, deprived of these training opportunities, cannot easily acquire, whence their difficulties in correctly proportioning on demand the intensity of an emotion.

    The role of the other senses in expressing emotions

    The importance of being able to see appears self-evident not just for expressing emotions but also for the perception of the expression of an emotion. Yet, a blind person does not have this sense for understanding and interpreting the emotions of a third party. So, what role do other senses — touch and hearing, for example — play? Dannyelle Valente, a researcher at FAPSE, says: “We are working on how to replace sight with other means of communicating emotional states, in particular by using the other senses.” This entails making sure that blind people have access to emotional codes in the form of models or drawings they can touch. In fact, being able to touch their own face is a tremendous advantage for the learning process. Blind people can enhance their own perceptions as well as learn how to manage the intensity of the expression of their emotions.


  6. Study suggests uncomfortable summer heat makes people moody and unhelpful

    July 11, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Lehigh University press release:

    Associate professor Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Maryam Kouchaki, assistant professor at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois, conclude in a new study, that when when it’s uncomfortably hot, we’re less likely to be helpful or “prosocial.”

    In an interview with Quartz, lead author Belkin said, “The point of our study is that ambient temperature affects individual states that shape emotional and behavioral reactions, so people help less in an uncomfortable environment, whatever the reason they come up with to justify why they cannot do.”

    The three-part study, “Exploring the impact of ambient temperature on helping,” published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, helps to explain how and through what mechanisms ambient temperature influences individual helping.

    Data provided by a large Russian retail chain for part one of the study allowed the authors to analyze differences in individual behavior under hot versus normal temperature conditions. Clerks working in an uncomfortably hot environment, according to the data, were 50% less likely to engage in prosocial behaviors, including: volunteering to help customers, listening actively, and making suggestions.

    Liuba says “In part two of the study — a randomized online experiment — we asked paid online panel to just recall or imagine situations where they were uncomfortably hot and then, after measuring their feelings and perceptions and a number of survey questions, asked them to help with another survey for free. Participants weren’t even experiencing heat at the moment — and we still found that, compared to the control group, the participants were more fatigued, which reduced their positive affect and, ultimately, prosocial behavior.”

    Only 34% of the participants who were asked to recall a time when they were uncomfortably hot were willing to help with the free survey, compared to 76% in the control group. Interestingly, Belkin and her co-author also saw that recalling being uncomfortably hot also increased their negative affectivity, but it did not have any impact on prosocial behavior, while reduction in positive affect did.

    In part three of the study, Belkin and her co-author found that even slight fluctuations in temperature changed behavior. Belkin chose students in two sections of a college management course as subjects for a field experiment (one group sat in a lecture in a room that was uncomfortably warm, the other group sat in a room that was held in an air conditioned room — there was a 15% difference in the actual room temperature). She then asked the students to answer a series of questions and fill out a survey “for a non-profit organization that serves children and underprivileged individuals in the local community.”

    Only 64% in the hotter room agree to answer at least one question, while in the cooler room 95% did so. Interestingly, even those who agreed to help in the hotter room, they helped less, answering, on average, 6 questions, almost 6 times less than the number of questions answered in the in cooler room (average 35).

    Some of those students probably wanted to leave and escape the stickier room, said Belkin to Quartz, “but whatever the reason, it affected their perceptions, emotions and behavior.”

    Belkin adds that she was also able to replicate the mechanism that drives reduction in prosocial behavior — the same pattern of results as in study 2 showed that uncomfortably warm classroom temperature increased fatigue, reduced positive affect and led to less helping.


  7. Study examines link between job stress, junk food and sleep

    July 10, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Michigan State University press release:

    Stress during the workday can lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices at dinnertime, but there could be a buffer to this harmful pattern.

    A good night’s sleep can serve as a protecting factor between job stress and unhealthy eating in the evening, indicates a new study co-authored by a Michigan State University scholar.

    The study, published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology, is one of the first to investigate how psychological experiences at work shape eating behaviors.

    “We found that employees who have a stressful workday tend to bring their negative feelings from the workplace to the dinner table, as manifested in eating more than usual and opting for more junk food instead of healthy food,” said Chu-Hsiang “Daisy” Chang, MSU associate professor of psychology and study co-author.

    “However, another key finding showed how sleep helped people deal with their stressful eating after work,” she added. “When workers slept better the night before, they tended to eat better when they experienced stress the next day.”

    The research involved two studies of 235 total workers in China. One study dealt with information-technology employees who regularly experienced high workload and felt there was never enough time in the workday. The second study involved call-center workers who often got stressed from having to deal with rude and demanding customers.

    In both cases, workday stress was linked to employees’ negative mood while on the job, which in turn was linked to unhealthy eating in the evening, said Yihao Liu, co-author and assistant professor at the University of Illinois.

    The study proposed two potential explanations, Liu said.

    “First, eating is sometimes used as an activity to relieve and regulate one’s negative mood, because individuals instinctually avoid aversive feelings and approach desire feelings,” he said. “Second, unhealthy eating can also be a consequence of diminished self-control. When feeling stressed out by work, individuals usually experience inadequacy in exerting effective control over their cognitions and behaviors to be aligned with personal goals and social norms.”

    Chang said the finding that sleep protects against unhealthy eating following workday stress shows how the health behaviors are related.

    “A good night’s sleep can make workers replenished and feel vigorous again, which may make them better able to deal with stress at work the next day and less vulnerable to unhealthy eating,” she said.

    To address the problem, companies should emphasize the importance of health management for their employees and consider sleep-awareness training and flexible scheduling.

    Companies should also reconsider the value of food-related job perks, which have become very common.

    “Food-related perks may only serve as temporary mood-altering remedies for stressed employees,” Chang said, “and failure to address the sources of the work stress may have potential long-term detrimental effects on employee health.”


  8. Study suggests accentuating the positive may help reduce risk of chronic disease

    July 1, 2017 by Ashley

    From the American Psychological Association press release:

    People who experience not just positive emotions but a diversity of positive emotions appear to have lower levels of systemic inflammation, which may reduce their risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

    “There is growing evidence that inflammatory responses may help explain how emotions get under the skin, so to speak, and contribute to disease susceptibility,” said lead author Anthony Ong, PhD, of Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medical College. “Our findings suggest that having a rich and diverse positive emotional life may benefit health by lower circulating levels of inflammation.”

    The research was published in the APA journal Emotion.

    Ong and his colleagues sought to build upon previous research suggesting that people who experience more positive emotions tend to have better health outcomes over time. They specifically sought to determine whether range and variety of emotions that individuals experience — what they dubbed “emodiversity” — would be related to an objective biological indicator — namely, inflammation. High levels of systemic inflammation have been associated with chronic disease (e.g., atherosclerosis, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis) and increased risk of premature death, according to Ong.

    The researchers followed 175 participants, ages 40 to 65, from the Phoenix metropolitan area for 30 days. During that period, participants used a tablet computer given to them for the study to keep a daily record of their emotional experiences. Six months later, blood samples were taken and tested for markers of inflammation (i.e., IL-6, CRP, fibrinogen).

    Greater diversity in day-to-day positive emotions was related to lower systemic inflammation,” said Ong. “This association remained significant after accounting for average levels of positive or negative emotions, differences in demographic characteristics, body mass index, personality, medication use and medical conditions.”

    It is important to note that this effect was only found for diversity of positive emotions, according to Ong, a finding that was surprising to the researchers because they had expected to find similar associations for negative and overall emotional diversity as well.

    To determine positive emotional diversity, the researchers had participants indicate their experience of 16 different positive emotions (enthusiastic, interested, determined, excited, amused, inspired, alert, active, strong, proud, attentive, happy, relaxed, cheerful, at ease, calm) across the 30-day period. Diversity was measured not only by the number of discrete emotions experienced but by overall distribution and the number of times each emotion was experienced.

    “Specifically, low emodiversity is characterized by emotional experiences that are relatively homogeneous and concentrated in a few emotion categories, whereas high emodiversity reflects emotional experiences that are relatively diverse and distributed more evenly across categories,” said Ong.

    While previous studies have looked at the independent role of positive and negative emotions on inflammation, Ong believes this may be the first to look at the role of the diversity of emotion as well. He warns, though, that the findings, which specifically focus on middle-aged individuals from a single geographic area, need to be replicated in larger, more culturally diverse samples.


  9. Study looks at emotional spillover in the brain

    June 29, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Association for Psychological Science press release:

    Life is full of emotional highs and lows, ranging from enjoying an activity with a loved one and savoring a delicious meal to feeling hurt by a negative interaction with a co-worker or that recent scuffle with a family member. But when we let emotions from one event carry on to the next, such spillover can color our impressions and behavior in those new situations — sometimes for the worse.

    Researchers at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are discovering what happens in the brain when such emotional spillover occurs and, for the first time, are able to pinpoint areas directly responsible. Their findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

    Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a technique that produces a magnetic field that can temporarily “knock out” or inhibit activity in specific parts of the brain, the team discovered that when the lateral prefrontal area of the brain (a region known for executive function) was inhibited by the stimulation, participants showed more emotional spillover. In the experiment, they measured this by collecting people’s ratings and first impressions of neutral faces they saw immediately after faces that were smiling (prompting positive emotions) or fearful (prompting negative emotions).

    The findings, supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, are part of larger efforts to understand the complexity of the brain and what types of mental training or activities can best improve emotional reactions known to promote higher levels of well-being. TMS therapy is approved for depression by the FDA, and this work may shed light on why stimulating parts of the prefrontal cortex is successful in improving the ability to regulate negative emotions.

    “It was interesting because participants saw the emotional faces very briefly,” says Regina Lapate, Center for Healthy Minds collaborator and current postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the work. “And when asked afterward, they didn’t think that they had been influenced by it in their ratings. Having their prefrontal cortex disrupted generated spillover onto their unrelated events that followed. Emotional spillover can happen without us being aware of it.”

    The team discovered that when the lateral prefrontal cortex was intact (when the brain was not inhibited by TMS), the person did not show spillover when viewing subsequent neutral faces. And when the opposite occurred — when the lateral prefrontal cortex was inhibited by TMS, emotional spillover occurred more frequently and with greater intensity. Three days later outside of the laboratory, participants still showed that emotional bias when asked to rate the same neutral faces, suggesting that the negative emotional spillover they first showed in the laboratory produced long-lasting, biased first impressions.

    “If your first impression of someone is formed when you’re experiencing emotional spillover from a previous context, that negative impression may stick,” Lapate adds.

    In addition, research on mindfulness meditation has been suggested to improve emotion regulation and connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and more emotion-centered areas of the brain such as the amygdala. If scientists know that there’s a causal relationship between these areas of the brain, they can more accurately tailor interventions to target these areas and improve well-being.

    “We are excited about this experiment because it demonstrates the causal role of the prefrontal cortex in regulating emotional behavior,” says Richard Davidson, William and James Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry who worked on the study and directs the Center for Healthy Minds. “It invites the possibility that strategies that promote prefrontal engagement may have beneficial consequences for emotion regulation.”

    Next on Lapate’s agenda is to test whether the reverse works — can TMS stimulation that increases neural firing in the prefrontal cortex lead to a decrease in negative emotional spillover? At the University of California, Berkeley, she’ll continue exploring that question as well as how the lateral prefrontal cortex as a whole changes the neural coding for positive and negative information.

    Meanwhile, the team at UW-Madison will further examine how contemplative practices may change emotional spillover and target these areas as measured by neural activity recorded in a brain scanner.


  10. Study examines line between education and personal experience in the classroom

    by Ashley

    From the Concordia University press release:

    In the classroom, what’s the line between education and personal experience?

    This is a question addressed by Concordia alumnus Jason Butler (PhD 14) in an article recently published by The Arts in Psychotherapy.

    In the course of a North American and UK study, he found that the conflicting demands of education and therapy within the classroom can cause emotional stress and confusion among students in drama therapy and other professions using dramatic enactment.

    His conclusion? The use of personal material must be better defined to protect both students and faculty.

    “When educating therapists, particularly using experiential methods, things can become blurry,” Butler notes.

    “Instructors often take for granted that doing role-plays or other enactments within the classroom are relatively benign acts. However, this research shows that material can resonate with students in complex ways that often inhibit their learning and development.”

    Butler’s study offers eight recommendations for improving the practice of drama therapy education.

    These include increased transparency between teachers and students; clearer policies on the use of affective material in the classroom; guidelines for evaluating and assessing emotional performance; and discussions within the professions about ethical and pedagogical practices.

    “These findings point us in in the direction of creating better systems and pedagogical approaches to enhance the student experience and educate more effective therapists.”

    The impact of self-regulation

    In the study, students reported that they were asked to incorporate personal material into their assignments with the caveat that they avoid anything overwhelming.

    The expectation of self-regulation without clear guidelines for evaluating what was appropriate created stress and uncertainty.

    Some students also found the transition from mock therapy to teaching jarring, as it left emotional impacts insufficiently addressed or resolved. Others experienced uncertainty over how or if their emotional engagement would be graded.

    For example, in a teaching demonstration an instructor might ask a student to assume the role of a trauma survivor without knowing they have direct experience as such. The student may feel obliged to engage with potentially harmful material in an inappropriate setting due to classroom pressure and the potential for evaluation.

    Butler is quick to point out that affect is not the problem, however.

    Affective engagement can be a powerful tool for facilitating learning,” he notes.

    “Research has shown that therapists who are more aware of their own emotional experience are better equipped to work with the emotional experiences of their clients. The challenge here is to channel that affect in a responsible and transparent manner.”

    Better systems and pedagogical approaches

    Butler conducted interviews and focus groups with students and faculty members at three drama therapy training programs in North America and the United Kingdom.

    The data was sorted into themes and coded inductively to form a larger picture or research model of the student experience of affective engagement in the classroom.

    That model showed that students wrestle with expectations regarding the appropriate level of engagement. This often leads to strong emotional responses in the classroom, which in turn lead to negative consequences. Some students leave or fail out of the program; it is recommended that all seek therapy.

    For Butler, the findings suggest that more transparent communication is required between teachers and students.

    “Without an understanding of the processes at play, we are not able to capitalize on the strengths that come from these approaches to learning.”