Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

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  • This theory was proposed in the 1960s by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer and states that people's experience of emotion depends on two factors: physiological arousal and the cognitive interpretation of that arousal. The theory dictates that when people perceive physiological symptoms of arousal, they look to the environment for an explanation of this arousal and label their emotional experience accordingly. Therefore, the same pattern of physiological arousal can give rise to different emotions. Schachter and Singer conducted an experiment in which participants were given a shot of adrenalin (epinephrine) and while some were told what side effects to expect (e.g., increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration), others were not. The participants were then placed in either an experimental situation aimed at producing ...

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