MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Theories of Emotional Processing

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Theories Of Emotional Processing

Which of the following best represents the James-Lange theory of emotion?

Possible Answers:

Physiological arousal will result in different emotional sensations depending on available environmental cues

An external stimulus engages the thalamus, which results in simultaneous physiological arousal and emotional sensation

An external stimulus causes physiological arousal, which causes emotional sensation

An external stimulus will be carried to the brain through afferent neurons, processed in the thalamus, and a response will be sent via efferent neurons

The purpose of emotional sensation adapted as a learning mechanism

Correct answer:

An external stimulus causes physiological arousal, which causes emotional sensation

Explanation:

Three of these answer choices represent key theories on the ways that emotional sensation is processed and perceived.

The James-Lange theory is represented by the answer choice that states "an external stimulus causes physiological arousal, which causes emotional sensation."

The Cannon-Bard theory is represented by the answer choice that states "an external stimulus engages the thalamus, which results in simultaneous physiological arousal and emotional sensation."

The Schachter-Singer theory is represented by the answer choice that states "physiological arousal will result in different emotional sensations depending on available environmental cues."

The answer choice regarding neurons is accurate for the processing of stimuli, but is not discussed in emotional theories with the minor exception of the role of thalamic processing in the Cannon-Bard theory. The answer choice regarding the evolutionary and adaptive role of emotion is not related to any of these theories.

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