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James-Lange Theory of Emotion - Psychology Definition of the Week

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideFebruary 9, 2009

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Definition: Proposed independently by psychologist William James and physiologist Carl Lange, the James-Lange theory of emotion proposes that emotions occur as a result of physiological reactions to events. According to this theory, you see an external stimulus that leads to a physiological reaction. Your emotional reaction is dependent upon how you interpret those physical reactions. For example, suppose you are walking in the woods and you see a grizzly bear. You begin to tremble and your heart begins to race. The James-Lange theory proposes that you will interpret your physical reactions and conclude that you are frightened ("I am trembling, therefore I am afraid").

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