Bodily Influences on Emotional Feelings: Accumulating Evidence and Extensions of William James’s Theory of Emotion

Emotion Review 6 (1):27-34 (2014)


William James’s theory of emotion has been controversial since its inception, and a basic analysis of Cannon’s critique is provided. Research on the impact of facial expressions, expressive behaviors, and visceral responses on emotional feelings are each reviewed. A good deal of evidence supports James’s theory that these types of bodily feedback, along with perceptions of situational cues, are each important parts of emotional feelings. Extensions to James’s theory are also reviewed, including evidence of individual differences in the effect of bodily responses on emotional experience.

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