James-Lange Theory of Emotion

imageContinuing on my series of psychological concepts, today lets look at the James-Lange Theory of Emotion. This theory was proposed independently by physiologists William James and Carl Lange. According to their theory – emotions are a result of physiological reaction to events and not vice-versa.

The theory proposes that emotions are derived as a result of physiological responses such as rise in heart beat, tension, fear etc. These senses make a person feel a specific emotion.

Most common example that they used for the theory was the emotional experience a person would feel when they see a bear. They suggested that the physiological response to seeing a bear would result in trembling which would result in fear and the person running away. The emotion of fear is a result of the trembling that the body experiences as a result of a reflex action on seeing a bear.

However, there are lots of theory which criticizes James-Lange theory yet it is one theory that everyone finds hard to disapprove of either.

I personally believe in this theory because of the way my emotions behave. I can watch a sad documentary and cry my heart out and then immediately see a happy song and completely forget the sadness too. Emotions, I believe are the result of what we see and feel. What do you think is the right theory?

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