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Four Theories of Emotion

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The Four Theories of Emotion The four main theories of emotion are interesting views of four scholarly psychologists. The theories are the James-Lange theory, the Cannon-Bard theory, the Schacter-Singer theory, and the Lazarus theory. Each of these four theories explains the order of events that occur when an emotion is present. Each theory is a hypothesis waiting to be tested out. Each of these theories is held by a psychologist(s). The psychologists no matter how far past our time they are experimented to give us the explanations we have today.

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Emotions aren’t something to play around with. They change us so quickly if we are real enough to let ourselves experience them. Everyone has their own interpretation of their emotions but what is concluded is the majority rule. The first of these theories is the James-Lange theory. Discovered separately by William James and Carl Lange. The James-Lange theory claims that an event first causes physiological arousal and also a physical response.

It is not until then that the person interprets the physical response as an emotion.

For example, we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, or afraid because we tremble. Basically what this is saying is that the physical aspects appear before the emotions are perceived. So until we physically respond to a situation we do not perceive or understand the emotions surrounding it. The second theory of emotion is the Cannon-Bard theory. This theory was originally developed by Walter Cannon and later expanded upon by physiologist Phillip Bard.

The Cannon-Bard theory suggests the following chain of events: emotion-provoking stimuli are received by the senses and are then relayed simultaneously to the cerebral cortex, which provides the conscious mental experience of the emotion, and to the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the physiological state of arousal. Basically what this is saying, is that you experience both the physical aspect and the perception of the emotion at the same time, not one caused by the other.

For example fear and a pounding heart kick in at the same time. The third theory is that of Schachter-Singer. Their theory is a two-stage theory. They state that for an emotion to occur there must first be a physiological arousal, and second there must be an explanation for the arousal. So there must be some kind of attention-getter and the reason why it got that specific person’s attention. The final theory is the Lazarus theory, which most heavily emphasizes the cognitive aspect.

This is the theory that an emotion-provoking stimulus triggers a cognitive appraisal, which is followed by the emotion and physiological arousal. I believe each theory holds a bit of truth, but to which one is completely right I s not possible. They are theories and they can be tested and tried and the most positive and negative reports concluded, but they can never be proven. Out of these four theories, I believe the Cannon-Bard theory. Their theory states that the emotion and the physical arousal occur at the same time as each other.

I believe this because I think that sometimes they my emotions happen right when the stimulus occurs. It is just a simultaneous event. They can happen at the same time or actually one without the other. As far as this paper goes, I will have to side partial to the Cannon-Bard theory. It makes sense with my own experiences while the others don’t seem to fit quite right. Though nothing is written in stone, nothings proven Canon and Bard have my vote.

Cite this Four Theories of Emotion

Four Theories of Emotion. (2018, Feb 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/four-theories-of-emotion/

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