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Emotion theories

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by basophilic, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. basophilic

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    What are the key differences between the theories of emotion? I have gone through several (conflicting) sources and still not clear. Can someone verify whether the following are absolutely correct?

    James-Lange = stimulus --> causes physiological arousal --> this causes emotional reaction;
    This means each emotion is paired with one set of physiological symptoms – this means even if it’s different stimuli (seeing a bear, asking out someone), you experience the same emotion?

    Cannon-Bard = stimulus --> causes physiological arousal; also causes emotional reaction simultaneously and independently;
    This is because all stimuli converge upon the thalamus, which (acting as the “post office” of the brain) then relays the signals simultaneously to the parts that induce physiological response and that induce emotional response.

    Schachter-Singer = stimulus --> causes physiological arousal --> interpretation of the experience (i.e. BOTH stimulus and the arousal) --> this interpretation causes emotional reaction;
    For this one what’s the difference between the “interpretation” and the “emotional reaction”?
     
  2. bee17

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    they just have to do with the order in which things happen. For James-Lange, emotion requires physiological arousal. For Cannon-Bard, both arousal and emotion happen but are not dependent upon one another. Schachter-Singer requires interpretation, which means a person has to identify what is causing the arousal before feeling emotion.
     
  3. BerkReviewTeach

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    With Schacter-Singer, you are thinking about the stimulus and the arousal it's causing simultaneously, meaning you are getting excited about being excited. The "Oh my God this is so hot" effect might be a politically less correct designation. You are getting ready to board a thrill ride and your heart starts to race which gets you noticing your increased your heart rate which makes you more cognoscente that you are excited, all of which lead you to be more scared or excited.

    Kind of like that.
     
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  4. basophilic

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    @bee17 I agree, but some questions from FLs, including AAMC FL, required a bit more detail on how you proceed from one thing to another and hence had a hard time applying it to questions.

    @BerkReviewTeach for the SS, you do agree that the post-arousal interpretation involves BOTH the actual stimulus and the physiological arousal, correct? Also, how does this differ from James-Lange? My understanding is that in JL, you directly/automatically experience the emotion as a result of the arousal (though KA said that after arousal, you interpret only the arousal [whereas in SS, you interpret both stimulus and arousal] then feel the emotion - pretty much like a reflex where your body first does the action to get out of harm and the left over signal in spinal cord goes to brain. Finally, this "interpretation" I keep italicizing is NOT the same as primary appraisal (which I'd expect to occur well after emotional response), correct?
     
  5. MrRed

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    Alright so I'll give you the straight dope on this, as it has taken me about ~11 practice tests to get it down absolutely flawlessly :)

    James-Lange: Physiological reaction IS emotion. Every physiological reaction should lead to the same emotion. Thus, if you inject a bunch of subjects with epinephrine, no matter how differently you deceive them, tell some the truth, tell some nothing; they will all have EXACTLY the same reaction; why? Because physiological stimulus - emotion. There is no cognitive labeling, it is the physiological response that creates the emotion; the physiological response in the alpha and omega. In this theory the physiological and behavioral aspects occur simultaneously, but only the physiological really matters (P + B --> C --> E).

    Cannon-Bard: Cognitive processes ARE emotion. Emotion occurs 100% and only in the brain, it doesn't matter what the physiological response is, it doesn't matter what the behavior is; your emotions are made inside of your own mind. If we took the brain out of a human, took the spinal cord and everything away, that human would still be able to feel emotions fine, because cognitive labeling is what creates emotion. In this theory the cognitive labeling and physiological response just happen to occur simultaneously, but the physiological response doesn't really matter (P + C --> B --> E).

    Schachter-Singer: This is the ONLY 2 FACTOR THEORY. In this theory, first the subject experiences a physiological response to a stimulus, the emotion depends on how the subject cognitively interprets the stimulus based on their environment. Thus, going back to the injection of epinephrine (if you take a bunch of TPR/Kaplan you'll see injecting epinephrine studies several times) if we inject everyone with epinephrine, but some people we tell them what to expect (Ex. "YO, you just got shot up with epinephrine be prepared!"), some people we don't tell anything, and some people we misinform (tell them it will make them calmer) then if we expose them all to sitmuli that should elicit happiness; the misinformed and non-informed subjects will have the GREATEST emotional response. WHY? Because they do not know how to intepret the physiological response correctly, so they must attribute it to their environment: in this case the stimuli that makes them happy. They will interpret the raised heart rate, and all other side effects of epinephrine as being actually being caused/enhanced strongly by the happy stimulus, and thus have a more intense experience of happiness. (P --> C --> B + E).

    That's the low down, and that's most of the understanding you'll need. The whole "physiological + behavioral --> cognitive labeling --> emotion" thing (this would be for james-lange) is kind of misleading; overall just take to heart what I said in the paragraphs; remember the whole sequence of "physiological goes to behavioral blah blah" if in case they ask you some generic question about which theory happens to have the physiological and cognitive happen at the same time; but otherwise the paragraphs are the true understanding.
     
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