To What Extent Do Cognitive and Biological Factors Interact in Emotion

1336 Words Dec 11th, 2012 6 Pages
To what extent do cognitive and biological factors interact in emotion?

Example exam approach: In this answer I will discuss the interaction of cognitive and biological factors with reference to three theories.

Psychologists have long debated the role physiological, cognitive and behavioural factors play in emotions. Originally believed to be a physiological experience, research now suggests that emotions are an interaction of both physiological and cognitive factors. Different theories debate the role and primacy of each.

Schacter (1964) Two – factory theory

Schacter (1964) was the first theorist to bring together the two elements of physiological arousal and cognition. It is sometimes known as the two-factor theory of
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2. Secondary appraisal (options) - we consider how we might cope with the situation

3. Reappraisal (ability to handle emotion) - Reappraisal refers to whether the emotion / situation is changeable or manageable.

Speisman et al (1964)

A study that supports Lazarus theory is that conducted by Speisman. He showed college students a film called ‘Sub-incision’, a graphic film about an initiation ceremony involving unpleasant genital surgery.
The aim was see if the people’s emotional reactions could be manipulated.

The experiment deliberately manipulated the participant’s appraisal of the situation and evaluated the effect of the type of appraisal on their emotional response.

One group saw the film with no sound. Another group heard a soundtrack with a "trauma" narrative emphasising the pain, danger, and primitiveness of the operation. A third group heard a "denial" narration that denied the pain and potential harm to the boys, describing them as willing participants in a joyful occasion who "look forward to the happy conclusion of the ceremony." The fourth group heard an anthropological interpretation of the ceremony. Physiological (heart rate and galvanic skin tests) and self-report measures of stress were taken. Those who heard the trauma narration reacted with more stress than the control group (no sound); those who heard the denial and scientific narrations reacted with less stress than the control group.

This was a

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