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What are the theories of emotion? Show more Show less

Emotions are a central part of the experience of being human. People's feelings and moods affect their behavior, choices, and perspectives in myriad ways. The physical and psychological mechanisms behind emotions are correspondingly complex, and many different theories of emotion have been proposed to explain them. What are these theories, and are they supported by biology, psychology, physiology, or even common sense?

James-Lange Theory of Emotion Show more Show less

The James-Lange theory contends that emotions are driven by physiological responses to events.
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Emotions are caused by physiological reactions

The physiological response comes first, then the emotion follows.
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Context

The Argument

Many different physiological responses, such as an increased heart rate, sweating, and trembling, are strongly associated with emotional experiences. As a result, many people have made the "common sense" assumption that their emotions cause these physical sensations. The James-Lange theory of emotion inverts the common sense understanding of emotion, arguing that physiological responses to stimuli occur first and cause the emotions, not the other way around. Psychologist William James and physiologist Carl Lange each independently developed this argument in the late 19th century, leading to this theory of emotion being known as the James-Lange theory. Since that time, some studies have shown a link between specific physiological responses and emotions, including an association between elevated adrenaline levels and fear.

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    This page was last edited on Friday, 21 Feb 2020 at 21:22 UTC