James-Lange Theory Of Emotion: Overview Video

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Maslow's Physiological Needs: Examples & Definition

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Emotion and Reaction
  • 0:29 James-Lange Theory of Emotion
  • 1:49 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shamekia Thomas

Shamekia has taught English at the secondary level and has her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

In this lesson, we'll discuss the James-Lange theory of emotion proposed by William James and Carl Lange. Learn about emotions and the James-Lange theory, then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Emotion and Reaction

Which comes first: the emotion or the reaction? Some people believe our emotions dictate our response and others believe our reaction dictates our emotion. For example, are we afraid because we run, or do we run because we are afraid? According to the James-Lange theory of emotion, our physiological (bodily) reaction occurs first, followed by an emotional reaction - we are afraid because we run.

James-Lange Theory of Emotion

The James-Lange theory of emotion was proposed by psychologist William James and physiologist Carl Lange in the mid 1880s. This theory states that our emotions are caused by our interpretation of bodily reactions. James and Lange both believed that, when an event occurs, our body reacts, and then we feel emotion after the brain interprets that physiological change. Rather than being the cause of physiological events, emotions happen as a result of physiological events, such as muscular tension, increased heart rate, perspiration, dry mouth, and running.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account