Friday, June 10, 2011


Chapter 13 got me thinking about a familiar formula in Psychology: Beh=f(P+E). This formula was developed by Kurt Lewin. It means that behavior is a function of the person and the environment. In other words, a person's behavior is caused by their personal characteristics and the situational factors. According to the James-Lange Theory, "each specific emotion is accompanied by a unique pattern of physiological responses" (Deckers, 325). James believed that people develop a reaction to a stimulus only after the physiological response occurs in the body. Therefore, he thought that we first encounter a stimulus, the physiological change occurs (elevated BP, pounding heartbeat) and then our emotion to the stimulus occurs. For example, the text mentions that the pounding heartbeat triggers fear and the elevated BP triggers anger. Lewin's formula closely resembles the "commonsense view" mentioned in the text that William James thought was incorrect. I think the physiological changes in the body could could indicate more than one emotion depending on the situation. A pounding heartbeat doesn't always mean fear especially if you have just been surprised by friends and family for your birthday. In a situation like this, a racing heartbeat could be excitement. So, I would have to agree with Lewin and not James and Lange.

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