Chapter 11: Emotion and Motivation

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The initial portion of this chapter discusses emotions: why and how we as humans experience them. Although it remains unknown the cause of emotions, there are several widely accepted theories that help explain the phenomenon. One such prominent theory is the James-Lange theory of emotion which says that "emotions result from our interpretations of our bodily reactions to stimuli". The Cannon-Bard theory, on the other hand, suggests that "an emotion-provoking event leads simultaneously to both an emotion and bodily reactions." Through each of these theories, it is apparent that we experience emotion in effect of some stimuli. This chapter goes further into the process of how we feel emotions describing how what we feel is reflected in our facial expressions. When we feel happy, we smile and vice versa. When we smile, we feel happy. Much of what we feel is either portrayed or taken from nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and gestures. Merely through seeing another person smile we can tell they are happy, frown they are sad and so forth.

Through the rise in popularity of technology we have created 'emoticons' which show our emotions so that other can know how we feel even when they can't see our facial expressions which is what we usually rely on.


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Both the James-Lange theory and the Cannon-Bard theory are interesting to think about. They raise the question "Can we control our emotions or are they natural reactions to stimuli like the James-Lange theory suggests?"

While I agree that both theories seem like good interpretations, are they saying that every time our body reacts to a stimulus we will experience some type of emotion? Or do only some stimuli lead to emotional responses? And in the case of the second theory, what can be classified as an "emotion-provoking event"?

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This page contains a single entry by rube0059 published on January 24, 2012 7:52 PM.

Chapter 12: Stress, Coping, and Health was the previous entry in this blog.

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