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Misattribution of Arousal

Definition

Misattribution of arousal refers to the idea that physiological arousal can be perceived to stem from a source that is not actually the cause of the arousal, which may have implications for the emotions one experiences. For example, if a professor was unknowingly served a caffeinated latte at her coffee shop one morning instead of the decaf she ordered, and then during her midmorning lecture noticed her heart racing and her hands visibly shaking, she may assess the situation and determine the class full of staring students to be the cause of her arousal (rather than the caffeine buzz actually responsible for the symptoms). Consequently, the professor may feel unusually nervous during her lecture.

Background

The concept of misattribution of arousal is based on Stanley Schachter's two-factor ...

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