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Researchers have developed several theories of how human emotions arise and

how they are represented in the brain.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE

Compare and contrast the James-Lange, Cannon-Bard, and Singer-Schachter/Two


Factor theories of emotion.

KEY POINTS

The James-Lange theory of emotion states that the self perception of bodily changes
produces emotional experience. For example, you are happy because you are
laughing, or you feel sad because you are crying.

The Cannon-Bard theory states that emotional expression results from action of the
subcortical centers. They determined that the optic thalamus is a region in which
resides the neural organization for the different emotional expressions.

The two factor theory (otherwise known as the Singer-Schachter theory of emotional
experience) views emotion as a compound of two factors: physiological arousal and
cognition.

TERMS

epinephrine
a hormone and a neurotransmitter that regulates heart rate, blood vessel, air
passage diameters, and metabolic shifts, and is a crucial component of the fight-orflight response of the sympathetic nervous system

thalamus

Either of two large, ovoid structures of grey matter within the forebrain that relay
sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex

subcortical
Of or pertaining to the subcortex, the portion of the brain located below the cerebral
cortex

autonomic
Acting or occurring involuntarily, without conscious control; pertaining to the
autonomic nervous system.

visceral
Having to do with the response of the body as opposed to the intellect, as in the
distinction between feeling and thinking.

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FULL TEXT

Theories of Emotions

Researchers have developed several theories of how human emotions arise, and
they investigate how each is represented in the brain.

James-Lange
The James-Lange theory of emotion states that the self perception of bodily changes
produces emotional experience . For example, you are happy because you are
laughing, or you feel sad because you are crying. Alternatively, when a person sees
a spider, he or she might experience fear. One problem, according to this theory, is
that it is not clear what kind of processing leads to the changes in the bodily state,
and whether this process can be seen as a part of the emotion itself.

James-Lange Theory
James-Lange Theory
The James-Lange theory of emotion states that the self perception of bodily changes
produces emotional experience.
When an individual is presented with an emotional object, it first stimulates the
appropriate sensory organs. These afferent signals are then sent to the cerebral
cortex, triggering variously combined ordinary motor-sensorial brain processes.
According to James, it is the afferent proprioceptive signals from bodily changes,
especially fluctuation of visceral responses, mediated by signaling from these motor
and sensory centers that account for the emotional experience. Proprioception
refers to the sense of the position of parts of the body, relative to other neighboring
parts of the body.

Cannon-Bard
The Cannon-Bard theory states that emotional expression results from action of the
subcortical centers of the brain . This theory determined that the optic thalamus is a
region in which the neural organization for the different emotional expressions
resides. An individual's sensory organs take in the emotional stimulus, and then the
stimulus is relayed to the cerebral cortex. It is in the cortex where impulses are
associated with conditioned processes, which determine the direction of the
response, which therefore stimulate the thalamic processes.

Cannon-Bard Theory
Cannon-Bard Theory
The Cannon-Bard theory states that emotional expression results from action of the
subcortical centers.
Singer-Schachter and Two Factor Theories
The two factor theory (otherwise known as the Singer-Schachter theory of emotional
experience) views emotion as a compound of two factors: physiological arousal and
cognition . This theory is based on labels in response to physiological stimulation.
Cognitive factors are thought to be major determinants of emotional states. The
individual senses the particular emotional object of the situation through the sense
organs, and an induced form of autonomic stimulation then follows this perception.
Accompanying this excitation is a specific cognitive label, which allows one to

interpret the state in terms of characteristics related to the situation. Additionally,


past experience provides the framework within which one understands and labels
his or her feelings.

Schachter-Singer Theory
Schachter-Singer Theory
Two factor theory views emotion as a compound of two factors: physiological
arousal and cognition.
Singer and Schachter injected participants in their research with adrenaline
(epinephrine), which causes a number of effects like increased blood flow to the
muscles and increased heart rate. The result was that the existence of the drug in
the body did not lead to experiences of emotion. Contrary to the James-Lange
theory, this study suggests that bodily changes can only support conscious
emotional experiences but do not create emotions. Therefore, the interpretation of a
certain emotion depends on the physiological state in correlation to the subject's
circumstances.

Source: Boundless. Theories of Emotions. Boundless Psychology. Boundless, 04


Nov. 2014. Retrieved 27 Jan. 2015 from
https://www.boundless.com/psychology/textbooks/boundless-psychologytextbook/emotion-13/emotion-68/theories-of-emotions-264-12799/

Source: Boundless. Theories of Emotions. Boundless Psychology. Boundless, 04


Nov. 2014. Retrieved 27 Jan. 2015 from
https://www.boundless.com/psychology/textbooks/boundless-psychologytextbook/emotion-13/emotion-68/theories-of-emotions-264-12799/
Lecture 2014-02