Langs network theory

In Lang's (1979, 1984; Bradley & Lang, 2000) network approach, propositions are represented in the network through a combination of labelled nodes and links. Following Kintsch's (1974) suggestion that sentences can be represented as combinations of one or more propositions that take the form PREDICATE(ARGUMENT1, ARGUMENT2, . . .), nodes in a network are taken to represent arguments that are connected by links that are labelled with predicates; thus, in the example shown in Figure 3.10, the combination of labelled nodes and links would represent a situation along the lines of "You are watching a long, dangerous snake. You feel afraid, your heart pounds, and you run away".

One of Lang's most influential innovations was to suggest that emotions such as fear or anxiety are not single coherent emotional states, but that they are expressed in the three systems of verbal report, behaviour, and physiology. Furthermore, these three systems are only partially synchronised with each other, so that it is possible for an individual to show an emotion-like reaction in one or two of these systems, but not in the remainder. For example, an individual waiting for a job interview might claim to feel relaxed (verbal report) while sweating profusely and pacing up and down; or a soccer manager might look perfectly calm and relaxed to the camera while experiencing utter panic at his team's dreadful performance.

One perhaps common-sense objection to Lang's three systems approach might be that there is a single internal emotion state that the individual need not be aware of, but which can be expressed through one or more of the three systems. However, Lang has rejected this possibility on the grounds of parsimony: we will merely note at this point that parsimony is often in the eye of the beholder, and we return to the possibility of unconscious emotion states both at the end of this chapter and in Chapter 5.

A further advance that Lang (1979, 1984) offered over Bower's theory is presented in Figure 3.11. Lang was interested not only in providing an account of normal emotional experience, but also in extreme or disordered forms of emotion. For

Figure 3.10 An example of a propositional network (based on Lang, 1979, 1983).

Figure 3.10 An example of a propositional network (based on Lang, 1979, 1983).

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