What we know about emotion and how it is produced is very limited. There is quite a complexity to acknowledge before trying to define emotion because different theorists define emotion differently. For example, some believe emotion to be a purely physiological change to a stimulus (increased heartbeat) yet some believe emotions are the feelings we get when interpret a stimulus. Emotion is difficult to define, making it especially difficult to determine the extent as to which biological and cognitive factors interact to produce it. In some older theories where emotion is defined as purely a physiological change are James-Lange and Cannon-Bard. These theories claim there is a limited interaction between cognitive and biological factors. However, when emotion is defined as the interpretation of a stimulus in creating a feeling such as in Lazaurus’ appraisal theory there is a high interaction shown between cognitive and biological factors in the creation of emotion. So, the degree of interaction has changed over time. Newer studies argue that the extent is much higher than theories had originally suggested. We know both biological and cognitive factors play a role in emotion but it is difficult to determine the interaction due to the complexity of defining emotion.
Early theories of emotion argue that cognitive and biological factors interact to a limited extent. This is because emotion is being defined as a physiological change (i.e. blood pressure rising or increased heartbeat). James Lange theory from the 1880’s says that physiological responses cause specific emotional feelings and that physiological arousal is necessary and sufficient for emotions to occur. This means that James Lange believes that only biological factors are needed to produce emotion. However his theory cannot explain emotion without any arousal and it does not even recognize the roles of learning and cognition. Cannon-Bard (1927) was another early theory claiming the extent to which...
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