If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:8:14

Video transcript

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 is 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's 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 an interest of fairness they decide 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 save a pet cat and holding your pet cat Alissa's is the emotion of happiness so how does it do that well according to the james-lange theory of emotion holding your pet cat causes the physiologic response of maybe increase heart rate certain neurotransmitters changing your brain maybe you'll start to smile as you're holding your cat and what makes the james-lange theory of motion unique is that they say it's the interpretation of this physiologic response that causes the motion of happiness so it's not actually holding your cat per se that's making you happy it's what the cat's 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 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 minds interpretation of your physiological response now you might be sitting there finding that hard to believe and if you feel that way might interest you to know that there are other theories of emotion as as well that's sprung up because you know they didn't agree with this James lang approach and once such theories known as the canon bard theory of emotion these were two theorists who disagreed with the james-lange theory and they believed there are 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 to 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 could 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 and 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 there's 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 seem 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 etc they come later and the theory they put forth was the cannon bard theory 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 example of holding your cat if you hold your cat that's the event if I holding your cat maybe your heart rate starts to increase ever so slightly either some changes going on in your brain but in terms of your neurotransmitters and while that's happening at the same time you're feeling a feeling of joy and ask 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 they 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 a previous example we spoke about holding your cat so the event is holding your cat which produces a physiological response again maybe increase 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 it's that identification and that cognitive ability to understand what's going on that calls is it now another theory is known as a 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've just discussed in the Schachter singer theory but it's different I'll show you why so we have an event let's say again holding your cat the Lazarus theory next comes appraisal or labeling the situation what the Lazarus theory says if we label situation as bad the emotion will be negative and if we label the situation as good the emotion will be positive so one of the differences here is that how we label the event is completely dependent on personal experience or cultural differences in situational factors and once this appraisal has occurred then the emotion will occur simultaneously with the physiological response as you can see is a different order of things as compared to the Schachter singer theory so using our example of holding a cat if a person's held a cat before and happen to be bitten by a cat or had a bad experience with a cat that individual may label the situation is scary and the emotion that will be produced is is fear by the other hand if someone's like you know a cat lover growing 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 this situation as exhilarating and they would experience happiness as we can see here the event of skydiving is the same that is producing two very different emotions in different people who have different outlooks on different appraisals on the event occurring so that's of four theories of emotion that we're going to discuss today