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Four Theories of Emotion

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Four Theories of Emotion

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  • November 2009
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The Four Theories of Emotion

The four main theories of emotion are interesting views of four scholarly psychologists. The theories are the James-Lange theory, the Cannon-Bard theory, the Schacter-Singer theory, and the Lazarus theory. Each of these four theories explains the order of events that occur when an emotion is present. Each theory is a hypothesis waiting to be tested out. Each of these theories is held by a psychologist(s). The psychologists no matter how far past our time they are experimented to give us the explanations we have today. Emotions aren’t something to play around with. They change us so quickly if we are real enough to let ourselves experience them. Everyone has their own interpretation of their emotions but what is concluded is the majority rule. The first of these theories is the James-Lange theory. Discovered separately by William James and Carl Lange. The James-Lange theory claims that an event first causes physiological arousal and also a physical response. It is not until then that the person interprets the physical response as an emotion. For example, we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, or afraid because we tremble. Basically what this is saying is that the physical aspects appear before the emotions are perceived. So until we physically respond to a situation we do not perceive or understand the emotions surrounding it.

The second theory of emotion is the Cannon-Bard theory. This theory was originally developed by Walter Cannon and later expanded upon by physiologist Phillip Bard. The Cannon-Bard theory suggests the following chain of events: emotion-provoking stimuli are received by the senses and are then relayed simultaneously to the cerebral cortex, which provides the conscious mental experience of the emotion, and to the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the physiological state of arousal. Basically what this is saying, is that you experience both the physical aspect and the...

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