SCHACHTER-SINGER THEORY OF EMOTION
Schachter and Singer (1962) studied the effects of cognitions in people injected with epinephrine and put forth the ‘Self-attribution Theory Of Emotion’.
The core of the Theory:
According to this theory, emotions are the result of the interaction between physiological changes and the cognitive interpretation of these changes.
If either of these is absent, emotional experience is NOT POSSIBLE.
Schachter and Singer’s Experiment:
- Subjects: 184 college students
All participants in the experimental group were injected with Epinephrine
(Epinephrine is known to activate SNS and produce changes in physiological arousal).
Among the experimental group, some participants were informed correctly about the effects of the drug. (trembling of hands, pounding of the heart, reddening of face). Some participants were told that the drug is a new Vitamin – “Suproxin” and that they wish to study its effect on eyesight. They were misinformed about the side-effects of the drug. (numbness, itching, headache). Other participants in the experimental group were not given any information about the side-effects of the drug.
Participants of the control group were injected with a placebo (physiological saline).
Thus participants in this group had no induced physiological arousal while entering the situations of the experiment.
Following the injections, the participants were exposed to either of two pre-planned social- situations:
- one situation was supposed to elicit anger.
- the other was supposed to elicit euphoria.
1) The misinformed participants in the experimental group experienced anger and euphoria as per the planned situation to which they were exposed.
2) The participants in the control group and those in the experimental group who were told about Epinephrine, failed to experience either anger or euphoria.
3) The uninformed and placebo conditions were not significantly different, though the uninformed group experienced emotions as per the situation to which they were exposed.
The misinformed and uninformed participants in the experimental group had both physiological arousal and cognitions.
The informed participants in the experimental group had physiological arousal but knew the reason for it.
The control group participants had cognitions but no physiological arousal.
Facial Feedback Hypothesis
Ekman, Friesen, and Ellsworth (1972) proposed that facial muscles may regulate emotional experiences.
According to this hypothesis, facial muscles may provide the necessary feedback to produce emotional expressions.
Bodily Feedback Hypothesis
Some investigators propose that feedback from skeletal muscles (body posture, movement, etc.) helps emotional experience.
Riskind & Gottay (1982) found that a ‘slumped’ posture led to helpless behavior as compared to an erect posture.
People seated in hunched posture experienced more stress than people seated in a relaxed posture.