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Smu Assignment Semester 1 Complete

Smu Assignment Semester 1 Complete


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smu assignment 2011
smu assignment 2011

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Published by: d-fbuser-79128657 on Jun 06, 2011
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ANS: Psychologists have proposed a number of theories about the origins and

function of emotions. The theorists behind the dissenting views do agree on one

thing, however: emotion has a biological basis. This is evidenced by the fact that

the amygdala (part of the limbic system of the brain), which plays a large role in

emotion, is activated before any direct involvement of the cerebral cortex (where

memory, awareness, and conscious "thinking" take place).

In the history of emotion theory, four major explanations for the complex mental

and physical experiences that we call "feelings" have been put forward. They are:

the James-Lange theory in the 1920's, the Cannon-Bard theory in the 1930's, the

Schacter-Singer theory in the 1960's, and most recently the Lazarus theory,

developed in the 1980's and ‗90's.

The James-Lange Theory

The James-Lange theory proposes that an event or stimulus causes a physiological

arousal without any interpretation or conscious thought, and you experience the

resulting emotion only after you interpret the physical response.


You're late leaving work, and as you head across the parking lot to your car, you

hear footsteps behind you in the dark. Your heart pounds and your hands start to

shake. You interpret these physical responses as fear.

The Cannon-Bard Theory

The Cannon-Bard theory, on the other hand, suggests that the given stimulus

evokes both a physiological and an emotional response simultaneously, and that

neither one causes the other.


You're home alone and hear creaking in the hallway outside your room. You begin

to tremble and sweat, and you feel afraid.

The Schacter-Singer Theory

The Schachter-Singer theory takes a more cognitive approach to the issue. Schacter

and Singer believe that an event causes physiological arousal, but that you must

then identify a reason for the arousal before you label the emotion.


You're taking the last bus of the night, and you're the only passenger. A single man

gets on and sits in the row behind you. When your stop comes around, he also gets

off the bus. He's walking behind you. You feel tingles down your spine with a rush

of adrenaline. You know that there have been several muggings in your city over

the past few weeks, so you feel afraid.

The Lazarus Theory

The Lazarus theory builds on the Schacter-Singer theory, taking it to another level.

It proposes that when an event occurs, a cognitive appraisal is made (either

consciously or subconsciously), and based on the result of that appraisal, an

emotion and physiological response follow.


You're buying a few last-minute items at the gas station, when two young men in

hooded sweatshirts enter the store in a hurry, with their hands in their jacket

pockets. You think perhaps they're here to rob the place, so you get scared, and

your feel like you might throw up.

While each of these theories is based in research, there is no absolute proof as yet

how emotions arise in our bodies and minds, or what determines our own

individual experiences of them. What we do know is that feelings are a powerful

force to be reckoned with, and should never be belittled.

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