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Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion

 

Explanations > Theories > Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

When a stimulating event happens, we feel emotions and physiological changes (such as muscular tension, sweating, etc.) at the same time.

The sequence thus is as follows:

Event ==> Simultaneous arousal and emotion

In neurobiological terms, the thalamus receives a signal and relays this both to the amygdala, which is connected with emotion. The body then gets signals via the autonomic nervous system to tense muscles, etc.

This was a refutation of the James-Lange theory (which proposed that emotions followed arousal) by Cannon and Bard in the late 1920s.

Example

I see a bear. I feel afraid. I tense in readiness to run away.

So what?

Using it

Watch for emotions as displayed in physiological signals.

See also

James-Lange Theory of Emotion, Cognitive Appraisal Theories of Emotion, Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

References

Cannon (1927)

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