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
DANA CL. 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
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.