Emotion Research: Cognitive and Experimental Psychology
- James-Lange theory
Physiological responses "precede and determine emotional experience"
(LeDoux, 89, p. 286). The sequence of events is as follows: A stimulus
arrives at the sensory cortex, signals to motor cortex which produces physiological
changes in the body, these changes are then perceived by sensory cortex.
The perception of the physiological change, plus the continued perception
of the initiating stimulus, results in a feeling about the stimulus, and
hence an emotion. No special emotional system exists and all processing
is mediated by the sensory and motor cortices and emotion is "the
feeling of bodily changes" (James, 1884).
- Cannon theory
Cannon (1927) criticized the James-Lange theory for failing to explain
the wide variety of emotional responses from the relatively small number
of categories of physiological states (essentially the same argument used
by the cognitive appraisal theorists to require the disambiguating role
of cognition). Cannon hypothesized that a separate emotional system exists,
residing in the hypothalamus
(Cannon circuit). A stimulus causes the hypothalamus to stimulate the
cortex as well as the periphery, leading to the felt experience of emotion.
- Papez theory
Papez (1937) enhanced the Cannon theory by refining the neuroanatomical
structures involved and introducing complex feedback paths (the Papez
circuit). According to Papez affective experience is the result of
information flowing through the following loop: sensory apparatus -->
hypothalamus --> anterior thalamus, cingulate cortex, and hippocampus
- Facial Feedback Theories
These theories share with the cognitive appraisal theories the assumption
that emotional states are too undifferentiated to provide information,
but they differ in the source of this disambiguating information. While
in the cognitive appraisal theories the disambiguating information comes
from cognition and information about goals and beliefs, in the facial feedback
theories this information comes form the feedback from the facial musculature.
The sequence of events is: A stimulus arrives, causing a response in the
facial musculature, which is controlled in large part by the autonomous
system and thus under involuntary control, and which appears to have distinct
configurations of the muscles corresponding to different emotions. The
signals resulting from changes in the facial musculature are interpreted
and result in the subjective experience of a particular emotion. Thus we
smile, then we feel happy. This view is similar to the original James-Lange
theory, where we run, therefore we feel afraid, except that the source
of the data are the facial muscles, as opposed to the general state of
the body and particular behavior. Initially developed by Tomkins (1962),
later elaborated by Izard (1977), and Ekman (Ekman and Friesen, 1971),
and remaining an active area of research.
See also:Computational research.
Editor: Eva Hudlicka [psychometrixassociates.com]
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