William James, known as the father of American Psychology, developed along with his 19th Century fellow psychologist Carl Lange the James-Lange theory which considers that environmental events lead to the apparition of muscular and visceral responses, and that these responses eventually determine emotions. Instead of feeling an emotion and subsequent physiological (bodily) response, the theory proposes that the physiological change is primary, and emotion is after that experienced, as the brain reacts to the information received via the body’s nervous system.
The emotion follows the behaviour, and does not determine it.
The James-Lange Theory
For example, if we encounter a bear in the forrest we experience physiological changes associate with the danger, such as trembling, paleness or sweating. The emotion is becoming aware of these changes. Thus, the emotion is felt after the behaviour already exists. William James (buy his books from Amazon) considers this point of view as being the correct one because there are behaviours that manifests so fast that there is no time to feel an emotion before acting.
Carl Lange (buy his books from Amazon) follows the same train of thought and arguments that emotions appear following certain visceral and muscular responses.
The Traditional explanation
Encountering the bear
The James-Lange explanation
Encountering the bear
Visceral and muscular reactions depending on the event
Evaluating the emotions determined by the reactions
Sensation of fear determined by running
The James-Lange theory highlighted the importance of the physiological changes, especially in the case of shock emotions, which have been previously neglected.
Moreover, this theory attracts attention to the fact that in certain cases the emotion can be asssociated with an instinct.
The limit of this theory consists in not affirming a direct proportional relation between affective experiences and bodily external manifestations.
Criticisims of the James-Lange Theory
The Cannon-Bard theory of emotion, proposed in the 1920s by Walter Cannon and Philip Bard, directly challenges the James-Lange theory. Cannon and Bard’s theory suggest that instead of our emotions being caused by physiological reactions, such as trembling and crying, the opposite is true.
Contemporary evidence in support of the theory
- it has been revealed that the basic emotions elicit distinct patterns of activity in the brain.
- it has been shown that the brain’s somatosensory cortex, an area of the brain associated with processing sensory information from the muscles, skin, and organs, became active during emotional responses.
- it has been stated that the perception of internal physical states plays a role in how people experience emotions. One study, for example, found that participants who were more sensitive to their body’s physical signals also experienced more negative emotions such as anxiety.
Attribution enables the individual to explain his own behaviours and those of others, to interpret what is happening around him and to search for plausible causes that determine an event or action. Attribution Theory must explain the occurrence of certain cognitions using inference, thus reaching a conclusion on the basis of evidence and reasoning, using behaviour as a starting point.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. Mindfulness is derived from Sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques.
Mindfulness practice has been employed to reduce symptoms of depression, to reduce stress, anxiety, and in the treatment of drug addiction. Moreover, research has shown that people who meditate are happier, healthier, and more successful than those who don’t.
In this articles we present the most effective and easy-to-practice mindfulness approaches for everyday life.
The framework described by Paul Ekman is influenced by Charles Darwin and Silvan Solomon Tomkins, although he himself stated that he did not accept in tot what either of them said. Ekman sustained there are three meanings for the term “basic” as you can read his argumentation in the article.
Ekman considers that emotional expressions are crucial to the development and regulation of interpersonal relationships. His studies demonstrated that facial expressions play an important role in the formation of attachments and are involved in the formation, acceleration or deceleration of aggressive behaviour.
Albert Bandura’s concept of Self-efficacy, or confidence as it is commonly known, is one of the most enabling psychology models to have been adopted into positive psychology.
Self-efficacy is an individual’s optimistic belief in their innate ability, competence or chances of succesfully accomplishing a task and producing a favorable outcome.
Robert Plutchik proposed a psychoevolutionary classification approach for general emotional responses. He considered there to be eight primary emotions—anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. Plutchik argues for the primacy of these emotions by showing each to be the trigger of behaviour with high survival value, such as the way fear inspires the fight-or-flight response.
During the 1970′, at Geneva, a new perspective on cognitive development has begun to emerge. The self-defined school of socio-genetical psychology advanced theories that represented a challenge addressed to the spirit of genetical epistemology.
Willem Doise, Gabriel Mugny and Jean Claude Deschamp, to name but a few of the representatives, declare that social interactions constitute the privileged setting which gives birth to the intellectual acquisitions of the child. There is a direct cause and effect link between social interaction and individual cognitive development.