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Emotions is a topic that has disturbed being smoked for thousands of years. Buddhism is a good example of that. His theories date back 2,600 years. Darwin, 200 years ago also contributed his theories. Modern psychology has been researching the topic of emotions for decades. What are they? Where do they come from? Why do they occur? What purpose do they have? Stanley Schachter, American social psychologist of the twentieth century, also investigated this subject and his theories went on to the history of psychology.
As discussed in more depth in the article, Schachter addressed the issue of physiological arousal and introduced the assessment of the situation so that the emotion was complete. Throughout the article his theory will be detailed. In this way, we will know a little better how our emotions work through one of the most prominent authors.
- 1 Schachter, arousal and assessment
- 2 emotional states in everyday life
- 3 Schachter Propositions
- 4 Criticisms of Schachter's theory
Schachter, arousal and valuation
Stanley Schachter proposed that an emotional state is the result of the physiological arousal and a proper cognition for the state of arousal. But what is the arousal physiological? It is about physiological activation. So, according to Schachter, so that we can feel a full emotion, we will need to be activated and assess the situation. As Alberto Mesa (2007), professor of psychology states: "He who feels joy, sadness, fear, etc. is not determined by the pattern of bodily change that has occurred in a situation, but by how it is interpreted".
According to Schachter, without the assessment of the situation, emotion is not possible. So that when sufficient information is not available, the author states that the need for evaluation. Through this need, the person tries to understand and label the bodily changes in relation to what is happening at that time. For example, if in an experiment adrenaline is injected into different subjects (but they are told that it is serum), they will feel palpitations and activation but will not really know why they feel this way. This ignorance will lead them to seek an explanation about their activation, so they will investigate the information they have available.
Emotional states in everyday life
As described, the emotional states would be the result of the interaction between a state of arousal physiological and cognitive interpretation. Imagine we are sleeping. It's three in the morning and we hear a rumble that comes from the kitchen. We feel that the heart accelerates, we begin to sweat, our breathing accelerates, the muscles tense, etc. At that time, we interpret the situation. For example, if we have a cat at home, we may think that it was the cat, but if we live alone, we may think that they have come to steal. As a result of this interpretation and assessment of the available information, we feel the emotion, such as fear.
Schachter established three empirical propositions to test his theory:
- Because the arousal it's nonspecific we will need to explain the cause of the bodily changes we suffer through the cognitive interpretation of the situation. As defined by Schachter himself: "To the extent that cognitive factors are powerful determinants of emotional states, it could be anticipated that the same state of physiological arousal could be labeled as joy or fury or any of a variety of emotional labels depending on the cognitive aspects of the situation ".
- When the cause of arousal, evaluation needs do not arise. The author states that "Given a state of physiological arousal for which an individual has a completely appropriate explanation, evaluation needs will not arise".
- Even though that him arousal It is unspecific, its importance is remarkable, since without it emotions would not occur. Schachter set out the following example: "An individual may, for example, be aware that he is in a situation of great danger but for some reason (pharmacological or surgical) he remains in a state of physiological stillness. Will he feel the emotional experience of fear? The present formulation considers the emotion as a joint function of a state of physiological arousal and proper cognition, and suggests, in principle, that I would not feel it ".
Criticisms of Schachter's theory
Schachter's theory has received certain criticisms, especially his research. Some authors have criticized that the researcher's experiments to prove his theory were a bit artificial. The main criticism affirms that the conjunction of arousal and cognitive assessment is carried out immediately and not as delayed as it appears in Schachter's experiments.
Alberto Acosta (2007), states that "these are everyday situations in which the explanatory needs that Schachter postulated are completed effortlessly. In addition, these attributions are usually correct. In laboratory situations, however, the process chain is very forced ". Although in Schachter's experiments physiological activation and assessment arose more delayed, his theory is still valid.
Mesa, A. (2007). Emotion psychology. Granada: Sider S.C.