Cannon (1929) critiqued James-Lange (1884)

·     Cannon argued that most of the time we are insensitive to autonomic responses. They are simply too inaccessible or dull to cause emotional experience. For example, it has been found that people are only moderately attuned to their heart rate activity (Roberts & Pennebaker, 1995).

1 of 2

Historical recap

  • Emotions as adaptations (e.g. Darwin, 1872):
    • Facial expressions and body reactions prepare individual for action and serve as communicative signals
  • Emotions as bodily responses (e.g. James-Lange):
    •  There is emotion-specific activation in the body
    • The body changes to support specific actions
    • The body changes to produce the feeling
  • Critiqued by Cannon (1927)
    • The body changes are too non-specific to account for the variety of emotional experiences
    • The body changes are too slow to account for emotions and can be found without the associated emotion being produced
    • Individuals not sufficiently sensitive to the body changes
2 of 2


No comments have yet been made

Similar Ancient History resources:

See all Ancient History resources »See all Emotion is biological - emotion in the body: physiology resources »