Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology

By Jon E. Roeckelein | Go to book overview

J

JACKSON’S LAW. See NEURON/NEURAL/NERVE THEORY.

JAMES–LANGE/LANGE–JAMES THEORY OF EMOTIONS. This theory is credited to both the American philosopher/psychologist William James (1842–1910) and the Danish physiologist Carl Lange (1843–1900), who independently proposed the theory. The term James–Lange theory is seen more frequently in the psychological literature, but the Lange–James theory has been used as well (e.g., McDougall, 1924). The theory is sometimes called the counterintuitive theory of emotions because it states that overt, external action (e.g., laughter) precedes the internal/emotional response (e.g., happiness). The older, classical, popular, commonsense, or intuitive theory of emotions states the sequence of events in the opposite order: the internal event (e.g., happiness) precedes the external action (e.g., laughter). The commonsense theory says we laugh because we’re happy, while the James–Lange theory says we’re happy because we laugh. The empirical works by James (1884) and Lange (1885, 1922) were among the first to propose a theory that identified a physiological mechanism and neural basis for emotionality. However, the ancient Greeks set up four nonempirically based categories of physiological states (involving a predominant ingredient in one’s bodily fluids) for emotionality: the sanguine, melancholic, choleric, and phlegmatic temperaments. The key idea behind the James–Lange theory was that an emotion was not a direct reaction to an environmental happening, but rather it was a reaction to how the body was responding to the environmental event. James (1890, p. 450) stated that ‘‘we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble, and not that we cry, strike, or tremble because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as the case may be.’’ James’ theory (1890) held that the bodily changes directly follow the perception of the exciting fact, that one’s feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion, and that every one of the bodily changes is felt acutely or obscurely the moment

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Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • A 1
  • B 64
  • C 87
  • D 128
  • E 154
  • F 180
  • G 199
  • H 224
  • I 250
  • J 273
  • K 279
  • L 286
  • M 317
  • N 338
  • O 349
  • P 356
  • Q 395
  • R 396
  • S 418
  • T 451
  • U 463
  • V 466
  • W 474
  • X 485
  • Y 486
  • Z 489
  • Appendix A 495
  • Appendix B 521
  • Selected Bibliography 527
  • Subject Index 529
  • About the Author 549
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