- James-Lange Theory: emotions result from the organism’s perception of its own bodily (i.e., autonomic) arousal (reactions). Emotionally significant stimuli increase autonomic nervous system activity (blood pressure, rapid shallow breathing etc.). The organism perceives this arousal, and according to the theory this perception of arousal is the basis of emotion.
- - Proposed before scientists could measure autonomic nervous system activities
- - An emotion is experienced if some autonomic activity has been going on (but not sure which emotion)
autonomic arousal is only one aspect of emotion
; an organism can be going through very different emotions, but the autonomic arousal can be basically the same
. Autonomic changes can indicate that
emotions are being experienced, but not which
emotion is being experienced. Organisms process information about the situation in parallel with the autonomic arousal.
- Schachter and Singer Theory: This is a follow-up to the Cannon-Bard theory. According to this theory, emotion is a composite of autonomic arousal and the perception of the emotional valence of the stimulus
- - Activation of adrenal gland: adrenaline. If only adrenaline is given, people don’t report much of an emotion. But if you are in the positive valence of emotion, you will experience a positive emotion. Vice versa.
- - The autonomic arousal itself doesn’t produce an emotion, it’s the environment that evokes it
- Circumplex Model of Emotions
- - based upon Schacter-Singer experiments and other data
- - according to this idea, there are distinct dimensions of emotion (valence, arousal) and each emotion is an intersection along these dimensions
- Alternative Theory: An alternative is that there are a small number of basic "building block" emotions. and every emotion is a combination of the basic ones
- - There are a number of core emotional states
- There is evidence for both theories.
- - powerful emotions can activate either the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system