Theory of James Lange in Contemporary Life

The serious face of TV presenter or the mocking smile of chief is emotion. As they arise, what is the source?

Philosophers unanimously had given the central role of the evaluation function of emotion. But different opinions about this exist. Is it a human physiological condition or the world around him? Perhaps there is an evaluation of both components.

I want to start with the fact that at the end of the 19th century has been put forward emotion’s theory. Two scientists came to the same conclusion independently from each other. Philosopher and psychologist William James from America and Danish physician physiologist Carl Georg Lange in the 1880-1890 years have defined the theory of emotions. It is also called the theory of James Lange.

The first thing I should mention is the backbone of the theory. Emotion is the awareness of changes that originate in the physical body. Thus, we experience sadness if we begin to cry, start to be afraid after the tremble, and feel joy if we laugh.

James wrote and cited many of examples that explain why we are upset, so crying and about other conditions. The hypothesis claims the opposite theory that this order of events is not true. One mental state leads to another not immediately. Between them, there are manifestations of the reactions of the body. He concluded that the right thing is: we are distressed because we cry.

One year later in 1885, a similar thesis was published by a scientist from Denmark named Lange. It was the reason for the double name of the theory.

We can get sight an unusual mechanism for the emergence of emotions adequately the theory of James – Lange. We can even draw a parallel with the evolutionary theoretic of Darwin. We assume that animals have not consciousness, but they express their emotions and feelings with the language of the body. This statement proves that emotions are feasible without the participation of consciousness.

From these observations the following mechanism emerges:

  1. The perception of an event or stimulus (without the participation of consciousness).
  2. The neuromuscular responses of the body.
  3. The received information is processed by the Central Nervous System.
  4. The rudimentary manifestations and beneficial reactions.

«I am trembling. Therefore, I am afraid». The scientists reinforce their theory with such definitions:

  • Each shade of vibes has a corresponding unique complex of changes in the body;
  • Emotion that is not expressed by physical manifestations ceases to exist;
  • It is impossible to feel one emotion but to move accordingly to another one.

And these characteristics are followed by a whole philosophy of the emotion managing.

The strong side of the theory is a successful outcome of numerous experiments. People who have participated them deliberately express emotions that are not experienced during the experiment. Within 10-20 minutes, as a rule, the situation has modified, and true emotions appeared according to the initial attempts to display them.

However, on the contrary, there are also contradictions in the theory of James Lange.

There are more variants of emotions than all the nuances of physical manifestations approach for them. Relations in the situation make the emotions that seem similar are different. So, the excitement can be a joy in a fun atmosphere and the same excitement in a disturbing ambiance can cause an aggression. A trembling in the body also happens not only because of the fear but from an anger or pleasant excitement.

To draw the conclusion, I can say that theory is interesting and ambiguous.

Definitely, this view of the demonstration of emotions is successfully applied in courses and trainings in self-improvement or personal growth. The behaviour corresponding to the desired emotions will lead to the certain reaction that this experiment will come in reality. Smile more often and you will attract good people and nice things.

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