Extreme Human Emotions are the Sole Product of Biological Functioning

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It has been claimed that human emotions are the sole product of biological functioning. The James Lange Theory of Emotion (1884) proposes that there are three components of emotions which can be attributed to the automatic nervous system (ANS). The three components are Cognition (appraisal of the event), Action (Fight or flight) and Feeling (Aspect of the emotion). Here we see that a biological attribution of emotion has been in place since the 1800s and has been common knowledge for some time. This essay will assess and examine evidence that has been provided to support the idea that emotions are the product of biology.

Certain areas of the brain have been identified when studying fear. The amygdala is involved in processing emotions (McGaugh, 2001). It is also responsible for ‘fight or flight’ reactions which are essential for survival among humans. In addition to this, certain emotions have been studied and attributed to biology, for example, fear. LeDoux (2000) explains that fear is a conditioned response which is essential for the process of natural selection to occur. Fear increases a human’s likelihood of survival. To continue to support that idea that fear is a biological product, experiments using rats were conducted. If certain parts of the brain are removed such as the auditory thalamus, the fear response cannot be learned. This indicates that cetain areas of the brain are vital in maintaining and producing emotions such as fear.
LeDoux’s experiments led to further research with 9/11 survivors. These people had learned a fear of tall buildings and they were also unable to visit the site where the attack took place. This fear would cause people to ‘freeze’ and not be able to perform certain behaviours. Ledoux formed...

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