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December 1921

THE ANATOMIC SEAT OF THE EMOTIONS: A DISCUSSION OF THE JAMES-LAN GE THEORY

Arch NeurPsych. 1921;6(6):634-639. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1921.02190060041003
Abstract

It is now thirty years since Prof. William James and Professor Lange independently stated their theory of the mechanism of the emotions. This theory has never been satisfactorily proved or convincingly refuted.

JAMES-LANGE THEORY OF EMOTION  The theory, as stated by James is, briefly, that the mental state experienced in emotions of fright, anger, joy, etc., is due to different sensory impulses sent up from the muscles, viscera, blood vessels and the periphery in general. It is the palpitations, tremors, abdominal qualms and other peripheral disturbances which cause the emotion. "One is afraid because he runs; he doesn't run because he is afraid." "One is pleasant because he looks pleasant." These are rather exaggerated illustrations. Attempts have been made to strengthen this phase of the theory by obtaining the opinions of great actors as to their real emotional state when they were expressing emotion. The inquiry did not help

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