To What Extent Do Cognitive and Biological Factors Interact in Emotion?

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The most agreed upon definition of emotion is feeling state involving thoughts, physiological changes, and an outward expression or behavior. There are three basic components of emotion which are physical: arousal of the nervous system while we are not consciously aware of it, Cognitive: interpretation of a stimulus or felling, and behavioral: the fact that people cry when they are sad and smile when they are happy.

The first cognitive theory of emotion was proposed by James Lange and it is called the somatic theory. This theory states that the body informs the mind of emotions. There is a distinctive body change. We have a perception of these changes and the symptoms determine the experience of emotion. Since we have different physiological responses, we have different emotions that are associated with those differences. A study by Laird (1974) supports this theory. It is called facial feedback. He said that emotion is experienced because a change in facial muscles. These facial expressions cue the brain as to which emotions to feel. The unlimited capacity of facial configurations means that there are an unlimited amount of emotions. We make facial expressions corresponding to different emotions and the emotions remain consistent with the expression.

A second cognitive theory is the two factor theory proposed by Schachter (1964). Schachter was the first theorist to combine physiological arousal and cognition. He said that when there is a physiological state of arousal, situational factors affect how we react to the arousal. When we experience an event it causes arousal. WE then try to identify a reason for arousal. Finally, we experience and label the emotion we are feeling. For example, imagine yourself walking down a dark alley and you hear footsteps behind you. You will start to get nervous and your heart will start pumping. You assume this happens because you are walking down the alley. You know that this is dangerous and so you feel fear. The strength...
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