Tridimensional Theory of Feeling

Feelings and emotions are a huge part of the human experience. What are they? What do they mean?

The three big-time theories that attempt to explain feelings and emotions are:

  • James-Lange Theory
  • Cannon-Bard Theory
  • Schachter-Singer Theory

And other common and popular theories include:

  • Evolutionary Theory Emotion
  • Cognitive Appraisal Emotion
  • Facial-Feedback Theory of Emotion

However, there is one fascinating theory that isn’t as well-known as those listed above which was first postulated by the  Father of Experimental Psychology, Wilhelm Wundt.

I was really impressed and excited to see that Wundt ventured into this area of psychology and even created a model called the Tridimensional Theory of Feeling. This caught my attention because he isn’t “known” for exploring this area, yet he is monumental in the field. Anyways.

According to Wundt, every feeling can be described based on these three dimensions (thus, the “tridimensional” theory) of feeling:

  • Strain <—> Relaxation
  • Excitement <—> Calm
  • Pleasantness <—> Unpleasantness
illustration by ana zdravic

Being a neuroscience geek, I couldn’t help but wonder how these dimensions would crudely transfer over as neurotransmitters and/or neuromodulators.

Probably adrenaline would pair with excitement, dopamine with pleasantness, opioids for calmness…

Of course, anatomy would have to be a factor in this concept, but that’s a topic for a different post ; )





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