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Theories of Emotion.

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Presentation on theme: "Theories of Emotion."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theories of Emotion

2 Historical Approaches

3 Common Sense Theory Emotion-arousing stimulus leads to a
Conscious feeling (fear, anger) and a Physiological response. Emotional Behavior Seeing an angry dog triggers feelings of fear and physical responses such as trembling and behavior like running.

4 Common-Sense Theory Perception (Interpretation of stimulus— danger) Stimulus (Tiger) Emotion (Fear) Bodily arousal (Pounding heart) & Fearful Behavior Common sense might suggest that the perception of a stimulus triggers emotion which then causes bodily arousal

5 Debates in Emotion Research
Which comes first, physiological arousal or the subjective experience of an emotion? Can we react emotionally before appraising a situation, or does thinking always precede emotion?

6 James-Lange Theory Opposite of the Common Sense Theory
An emotion-arousing stimulus in the environment triggers a physiological reaction and behavior. Our awareness of the physiological reaction leads to our experience of an emotion. James believed that emotion followed this sequence: We perceive a stimulus. Physiological and behavioral changes occur. We experience a particular emotion.

7 Perception of a stimulus causes bodily arousal which leads to emotion
(Interpretation of stimulus-- danger) Stimulus (Tiger) Emotion (Fear) Bodily arousal (Pounding heart) & Fearful Behavior James’s Theory Perception of a stimulus causes bodily arousal which leads to emotion We do not run from a tiger because we are afraid.  We are afraid because we ran from the tiger. The relationship is See the tiger, Run from tiger, Experience fear Keywords: Peripheral feedback theory, James

8 James-Lange Theory




12 Walter B. Cannon challenged the James–Lange theory
Body reactions similar for most emotions Heart races whether we’re frightened, angry or exhilarated Emotional reaction to a stimulus is often faster than our physiological reaction . I’m scared then I tremble Artificially inducing physiological changes via adrenaline did not necessarily produce a related emotional experience You peel an onion & cry yet you don’t feel sad James had proposed that if a person were cut off from feeling bodily changes, he would not experience true emotions. Studies of people with spinal cord injuries and cats with disabled sympathetic N.S. do not support James’ idea - They still respond emotionally to a stimulus.

13 Cannon-Bard Theory An emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers both a… physiological response (sympathetic nervous system) and the experience of an emotion (brain’s cerebral cortex).

14 Cannon Bard Theory



17 Theories of Emotion: Cognition and Emotion

18 Schachter-Singer Two-Factor Theory
Emotions involve two factors: A physiological arousal A cognitive/conscious label of the arousal Study using epinephrine and a humorous or irritating situation showed that those who did NOT know their physiological responses (increased heart beat) was caused by a shot rated their emotions as more intense than those who knew (Spillover Effect)

19 Schachter’s Cognition-Plus-Feedback Theory
Type Intensity Emotion (Fear) Perception (Interpretation of stimulus-- danger) Stimulus (Tiger) Bodily arousal (Pounding heart) Perception and thought about a stimulus influence the type of emotion felt Degree of bodily arousal influences the intensity of emotion felt Keywords: Cognition-plus-feedback theory, Schachter

20 Two-Factor Theory Emotion results from physiological arousal plus a cognitive label for that arousal





25 Richard Lazarus (1922-2002) Cognitive-Mediational Theory
Emotions result from the cognitive appraisal of a situation’s effect on personal well-being (done automatically by mind) All other components of emotion, including physiological arousal, follow the initial cognitive appraisal Intense emotions come from situations whose outcomes are important to us. Critics argue emotional reactions to a stimulus or event are virtually instantaneous—too rapid to allow for the process of cognitive appraisal. They suggest that we feel first and think later.


27 Cognitive-Mediational Theory
2. I think he’s a mugger! 3. I’m afraid (heart beating) & will run away. I see a man by the parked car. I hear & recognize his voice. I know him and am not afraid I see a man by the parked car. I think he’s a mugger. I’m afraid and will run away. OR Your emotion depends on your cognitive appraisal or interpretation of the situation & the perceived outcome of it

28 Lazarus Cognitive-Mediational Theory
Cognitive Label “This is a dangerous situation!” Pounding Heart (arousal) Fear (emotion)

29 Schachter-Singer Two Factor Cognitive-Mediational
James-Lange Cannon-Bard Schachter-Singer Two Factor Cognitive-Mediational 2. I think he’s a mugger! 3. I’m afraid (heart beating) & will run away. I see a man by the parked car. I hear & recognize his voice. I know him and am not afraid

30 Cognitive Mediational Theory
Mnemonics to Help You Remember James-Lange Theory Joke – Laugh – Thrilled! think JAE which stands for "James Arousal Emotion" Cannon-Bard Theory Say the two Ns in Cannon simultaneously just like you experience arousal and emotion Cannon=Causes, Bard=Both; so it would be the "Causes Both Theory" because the theory says that the physiological response and experience of emotion happen at the same time, or "the Cause stimulates Both at the same time. Schachter-Singer Two Factor Theory "All Clowns Love, Elephants" which stands for arousal cognitive label and emotion, the comma makes you pause so that emotion is after arousal and cognitive label. Cognitive Mediational Theory

31 Robert Zajonc (1923-2008) We feel first, think later.
Argued emotions developed first then cognition in the history of human development Suggested that not all emotions involve deliberate thinking Therefore, cognition/conscious awareness of what is happening is not necessary for all emotions Some emotions skip the thinking part of the brain

32 Zajonc Theory:

33 Modern Research Supports
And the Winner is… Modern Research Supports

34 James–Lange Theory Antonio Damasio’s findings—that each basic emotion produced a distinct pattern or neural response and that the physiological changes occurred before they were interpreted as an emotion—support the theory Support is also provided by research on the facial feedback hypothesis—the view that expressing a specific emotion, especially facially, causes the subjective experience of that emotion When people mimic the facial expressions characteristic of a given emotion, they tend to report feeling that emotion. The basic explanation for this is that the facial muscles send feedback signals to the brain, which uses the information to activate and regulate emotional experience.

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