Theories of Emotion
Created by Jeffrey Walsh.
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- In 2016, what theory do scientist believe actively?(31 votes)
- Is the primary difference between James-Lange and Schachter-Singer theories just that Schachter-Singer identifies reason for the event as well as the emotion? Because James-Lange's Interpretation phase appears to only interpret the physiological response and not the event. Also, could we say that the Lazarus Theory sort of integrates elements of all the other theories into a more comprehensive theory?(13 votes)
- Yes, Schachter-Singer has to identify the event as well as the physiological response in order to produce an emotion. James-Lange only has to identify the physiological response. From my point of view I think the Lazarus theory is putting the cognitive response first before both physiological and emotion. I think it doesn't comprehend all the other theories because in the first three physiological response is either first or concurrently activated with emotion.(14 votes)
- Why is there no theory that puts emotion before a physiological response? It seems more reasonable than James-Lange, Schachter-Singer or Cannon-Bard at least. When you spot a pack of wolves closing in on you, you need to first identify wolves as a threat for your body to get ready and run, this must involve a cognitive phase. Infants that don't have fear for wolves will not get a fight-or flight response. There is no fixed innate physiological response for most stimuli without a cognitive phase.(13 votes)
- I think the Schatcher-Singer theory addresses this quite well actually. Basically, it says that for us to experience emotion we must: 1) be physically aroused and 2) cognitively label that arousal. In other words, while being aroused is what triggers our emotion, it's our cognition that directs that emotion.
You're right in saying infants don't have the same flight or flight response but this is because they aren't able to cognitively appraise the situation as we are.
To address this scenario using the S-S theory: You see a pack of wolves and that causes an arousal, you cognitively label that arousal (palpitating heart) as fear. Another example of cognitive labeling is: you come home to find a box with your name on it and a big bow. Naturally, your heart starts to palpitate. You would cognitively label this emotion as excitement (in contrast to the previous example where you labeled it as fear).
It would not be possible to have an emotion BEFORE a physiological response. This is simply because emotion IS a physiological response. (If you are able to prove otherwise, you may be the next famous psychologist :). Just be sure you give me the credit for inspiring you with this response ).
*note: the Lazarus theory also helps answer your question a bit but since it won't be on the MCAT I left it out.*
Hope this helped/made sense!(13 votes)
- Ok Im confused, at3:00, when discussing how cannon-bard felt that james-lange theory was inconsistent because you can experience a physiological response of increased heart-rate from running and an emotion not be triggered, Isn't that the same thing as cannon-bard theory saying that physiological response and emotion happen at the same time. My heart racing after running a mile doesn't simultaneously trigger an emotion.(3 votes)
- What he is saying is Cannon-Bard believed that you experience raised heart rate and other things without having to have an emotion to back it up, though if you do have an emotional trigger it will happen at the same time though, I'm with you he could have been a little more thorough about the whole physical activation and separating it from the emotional activations.(4 votes)
- Just curious as where Behavioural responses come into play here? There doesn't seem to be any mention of them, only physiological responses(3 votes)
- Well, in the other ones it covered how behavioral responses are similar to physiological responses. So, crying for example, is a behavioral response to being sad because not all people cry.(3 votes)
- I don't see the usefulness of these theories(0 votes)
- Don't skimp out on learning these, even if they don't seem useful. I am revisiting them for a reason.(8 votes)
- So in this video, it is specifically stated that cognitive appraisal is not part of Schacter-Singer, while in other materials I've read, Lazarus Theory isn't even mentioned & cognitive appraisal is considered part of Schacter-Singer. Can I have a clarification please?(2 votes)
- Why does the physiological have to be before or after or even connected to the emotional response? They seem to perform perform different functions. The physiological response prepares instantly for action, for example, it may even include jumping out of the way. The event is the result of a crude form of pattern recognition which is probably directly taken from the sensory information with no analysis (the smell of a cat for example). The emotional response is more a reaction in accordance with a 'rough' reaction in accordance with beliefs and a general pattern recognition of the event (there is a perception of a cat so evoke memories of family pets, scratching or dangerous allergic reactions). Kind of like a preliminary analysis. This provides a quick response to the situation and secondary physiological responses like smiling. Later, after thinking and applying problem solving, the reaction can be reassessed (the cat didn't scratch me this time) and relearning of a more appropriate response, so there are three pathways: physiological, emotional and rational and they play into each other but are not dependent on each other.(0 votes)
- The three categories you have created for responses to stimuli are all dependent on one another. The main problem is that your first category, 'physiological' should really be called 'reflex.'
Reflexes, generally, move through a reflex arc: sensation of a stimulus is received by sensory neurons, which fire and send signals through the afferent pathway to interneurons in the spinal cord (usually). These interneurons, without sending the signal to the brain for processing, then pass the signal along to the efferent pathway to the motor neurons, which will tell skeletal muscle (in most cases, though it can be many different things like an endocrine organ) how to react to the stimulus.
This is what you meant by a physiological response - it is a reflex. It is not subjected by the brain to perception or to cognitive processing such as in what you categorized as 'rational' response. However, reflexes, emotions, and rational thought ALL have a physiological basis. They are all subject to the same physiological processes and all depend on neurons talking to one another by the same basic functionality.(4 votes)
- The way I've differentiated the Schachter-Singer and James-Lange theories is that the SS theory, is better represented by a circle then a line.
For example something like anxiety wouldn't make sense fully with the James-Lange theory, because people with anxiety stress over certain scenarios because they see it as something that distresses them. They aren't anxious (solely) because their heart rate increased.(1 vote)
- For Schachter-Singer Theory - is this cognitive labeling defined to be unconscious or conscious, or both?
For Lazarus Theory - is this cognitive appraisal (due to situation factors) defined to be unconscious or conscious, or both?(1 vote)
So let's continue our discussion of emotions. If you remember from the previous video, emotion is made up of a series of cognitive, physiological, and behavioral responses to a stimulus. But which response comes first? And this one of those topics that I think a lot of us take for granted. It's something that occurs in everyday life. But we generally don't break it down and think of it in these components and wonder, gee, which one comes first? So thank goodness we have psychologists who do that for us. And as you might imagine, this is a pretty complicated topic. So there isn't just one theory of emotion. There's many theories of emotion. And for our purposes, we're going to discuss four different theories of emotion. The first one is called the James-Lange theory of emotion. And it's named after two researchers who both independently came up with this theory back in the 1800s. So they actually weren't working together. They just each came up with it around the same time. So in the interest of fairness, they decided to name it after both of them. So that's why it's known as the James-Lange theory of emotion. And what it hypothesizes is that the experience of emotion is due to the perception of your physiologic responses. So what does that mean? Well, let's think about an example of maybe holding your pet. Let's say you have a pet cat. And holding your pet cat elicits the emotion of happiness. So how does it do that? Well according to James-Lange theory of emotion, holding your pet cat causes the physiologic response of maybe increased heart rate. Certain neurotransmitters change in your brain. Maybe you'll start to smile as you're holding your cat. And what makes the James-Lange theory of emotion unique is that they say it's the interpretation of this physiologic response that causes the emotion of happiness. So it's not actually holding your cat per se that's making you happy. It's what the cat is doing to your body that makes you feel the way you do. So it's your awareness of these processes occurring that make you realize you're happy. In another example, you could say that when you're sad, you don't cry because you're sad. You're sad because you cry. It's your mind's interpretation of your physiological response. Now, you might be sitting there finding that hard to believe. And if you feel that way, it might interest you to know that there are other theories of emotion as well that sprung up because they didn't agree with this James-Lange approach. And one such theory is known as the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion. And these were two theorists who disagreed with the James-Lange theory. And they believed there were some major flaws in the idea that physiologic responses triggered emotion. So first they felt that a person could experience physiological arousal without feeling any particular emotion. So think about it. Your heart will race when you're feeling afraid. But your heart also races if you just had a long run. So how can that be? If the physiologic response was all that was necessary to produce an emotion, shouldn't any person with a racing heart feel afraid? In that same line of thought, these researchers also noticed that many different emotions had the same patterns of physiological response. So think about like your heart racing or rapid breathing, those accompany feelings of anger, as well as excitement. And those are two totally different emotions. And lastly, they felt that the physiological response system was just too slow to produce emotions that often seemed to happen almost instantly. So for example, if you hear a loud sound, maybe you'll feel fear or surprise almost instantly. And subsequent physiologic responses of your heart racing, increased muscle tone, et cetera, they come later. And the theory they put forth was the Cannon-Bard theory. And they believed that the physiological responses and the experience of emotion both occurred simultaneously. So you have an event occurring, which causes a physiological response, as well as an emotion at the same time. So going back to the example of holding your cat, if you hold your cat, that's the event. And by holding your cat, maybe your heart rate starts to increase ever so slightly. Maybe there's some changes going on in your brain in terms of your neurotransmitters. And while that's happening, at the same time you're feeling a feeling of joy. And that's the emotion that you're experiencing. But the main point here is this theory says these two actions happen at the same time. Now, another key theory of emotion is the Schachter-Singer theory of emotion. And in this view, physiological and cognitive responses may simultaneously form the experience of emotion. More specifically, if we become physiologically aroused, we don't feel a specific emotion until we're able to label or identify the reason for the situation. So in our previous example, we spoke about holding your cat. So the event is holding your cat, which produces a physiological response of again maybe increased heart rate or changes in your neurotransmitter levels. But we don't necessarily feel happy until we consciously label the situation. So you identify the reason for this physiologic response. And you identify the reason for the event. So you would say to yourself, this is really nice. I like holding my cat. This makes me happy. And that's what produces the emotion of happiness, this identification and that cognitive ability to understand what's going on that causes it. Now, another theory is known as the Lazarus theory. And that proposed that the experience of emotion depends on how the experience is cognitively appraised. Now, you might think that sounds very similar to the one we just discussed in the Schachter-Singer theory. But it's different. And I'll show you why. So we have an event, let's say again holding your cat. In the Lazarus theory, next comes appraisal or labeling the situation. And what the Lazarus theory says, if we label the situation as bad, the emotion will be negative. And if we label the situation as good, the emotion will be positive. So one of differences here is that how we label the event is completely dependent on personal experience or cultural differences and situational factors. And once this appraisal has occurred, then the emotion will occur simultaneously with the physiological response. And as you can see, it is a different order of things, as compared to the Schachter-Singer theory. So using our example holding a cat, if a person has held a cat before and happened to be maybe bitten by a cat or had a bad experience with a cat, that individual may label the situation as scary. And the emotion that will be produced is fear. But on the other hand, if someone is a cat lover, grown up with cats their whole life, they might label that situation of holding a cat as wonderful and feel joy. So it's all in the label. And the way I like to think about this is in terms of hobbies. So take skydiving, for example. Some people would label the activity of jumping out of a plane as something terrifying. And they would experience the emotion of fear. Whereas someone else who's maybe a daredevil, they would label the situation as exhilarating. And they would experience happiness. But as you can see here, the event of skydiving is the same. But it's producing two very different emotions in different people, who have different appraisals on the event occurring. So that's the four theories of emotion that we're going to discuss today.