Biological LoA 9

Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behavior. Evaluate two relevant studies.



1. When an individual has no explanation for an arousal state, he or she will label it with existing cognitions.

2. When an individual has an appropriate explanation for the arousal him or her experiences, it is unlikely that he or she will use alternative explanations to describe the arousal

3. When an individual experiences an arousal which has made them feel an emotion before, the degree of the emotion felt will be proportional to the degree of the physiological arousal.

Emotion: Schachter and Singer

- The experiment conducted involves 184 male college students who were a part of the introductory psychology course in Minnesota University.

- At the start of the experiment, the subjects were split into two groups.

- One group was injected with epinephrine, while being told by the experimenters that the injection was part of an investigation for the side effects of “Superoxin”(a pretend vitamin used by the experimenters). This group was further divided into 3 different categories, each being given different amounts of information regarding the effects of the epinephrine. The first category (informed) was given the correct effects of epinephrine, the second category (ignorant) was given no information regarding the epinephrine and the third category (misinformed) was given the incorrect effects of epinephrine.

- The other group was injected with a harmless placebo in the form a saline solution and were told nothing about the effects of the injection.

- After the injections were performed, participants were put in one of two conditions. The first condition was Euphoric, where a stooge was sitting with the participant and performing various silly tasks with the purpose of entertaining and amusing the participant. The other condition was Anger, where a stooge was in a room with the participant and tried to irritate the participant by constantly making snide remarks towards the participant.

- The experiment was now done and the participants were asked to take self report measures in order to determine how happy or angry they were.

- It was observed that in the euphoric condition, those who were in the misinformed and ignorant category were the happiest. In the angry condition however, the informed group was the happiest. The results clearly prove and support the theory, specifically the three propositions. The misinformed and ignorant category were the happiest group in the euphoric condition as these participants were more influenced by the stooge simply because they had no appropriate explanation as to why they were feeling the way they were(falling under proposition 1). The ignorant group in the angry condition were angriest because they also had no appropriate explanation for their behavior and thus were more influenced by the angry stooge.

Aron and Dutton Study : The two bridges Study

- The subjects of this experiment consisted of random males, at the age of 18-35, who were crossing either the scary Capilano Canyon Bridge which was structured a scary 430 feet above the ground and used as the “experimental” bridge or the regular 10 feet Capilano River Bridge which was used as the “control” bridge.

- As they were crossing either of these bridges, the participants met either an attractive female or average looking male interviewer(control). When approaching the subjects, both the interviewers had to explain that they were conducting a project for their psychology class on the topic of “effects of the exposure to scenic attractions on creative expression”.

- The interviewer asked the subject whether they would fill a short questionnaire for the project. The first page of the questionnaire consisted of common items such as the name, age and education. However, in the second page, participants were asked to write a brief story upon a picture of a young woman covering her face with one hand and reaching out with another. The picture and the instructions in this experiment were adopted from the Thematic Apperception Test which was originally introduced by Murray (1943). This test was used to basically measure the amount of sexual content or relativity within the participant’s story.

- After filling in the questionnaire, the interviewer gave the male participant her phone number in case the participants wanted to have a further talk.

- At the end of the experiment, the results that were gathered were in direct alignment with the Two Factor Theory. The men who crossed the extremely high Capilano Canyon Bridge revealed more sexual content within their questionnaire and also an astonishing 60% percentage of these men called the interviewer.

- However, on the control bridge, hardly any participants revealed sexual content in their questionnaire and only 30% called the interviewer. These results support the idea that the physiological arousal has to be present for us to cognitively interpret a situation, and then feeling the emotion. As seen in this experiment, the participants who walked the experimental bridge were more aroused than participants in the control bridge and thus called the interviewer and revealed an essential amount of sexual content in the questionnaire.

- Apart from proving that aspect of the theory, this experiment also supports the first proposition of the Two Factor Theory of Emotion. Because the participants did not have an explanation for the fear they felt as they walked the experimental bridge, they adopted the available explanation and interpreted it as the love they had for the female interviewer who was practically right in front of them, and that is the reason they actually called her back.

Case Studies:
BLOA #9 Sample Essay.docx