Also dubbed as Scachter-Singer Philosophy, the two-factor emotional theory is a concept that suggests that human being emotion is comprised of two components or factors. These parts include the cognition or the conscious arousal understanding and the physiological arousal. Derived from this theory, the cognitive label is applicable in the interpretation of physiological reactions to external events.
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For an individual to experience emotion, both the elements should be present (Aronson, Wilson & Akert, 2006). However, some arousal forms occur, such as perspiration or increased heart rate, which makes the person put a label on it (arousal) in order to experience emotion.
The two-factor emotional theory might bring about a misattribution of arousal. For instance, two groups of male participants were asked to pass a river via two types of bridges. The first bridge was a suspended narrow and scary bridge, while the other bridge was more stable and safer when compared to the first one. An attractive female was at the far end of each bridge, prepared to meet the participants with a survey form to be filled. She gave the participants her phone number to call whenever they had any questions. It was noted that the woman was called by male participants who used the scary suspended bridge asking for a date.
This is because they felt some arousal by going across the river via the suspended bridge. The male participants misattributed their arousals towards the lady from the bridge, thus making the woman appear very attractive (Aronson, Wilson & Akert, 2006). Unlike two-factor emotional theory, the appraisal theory of emotion asserts that individuals’ emotional experience hinges on the manner in which they evaluate, interpret, or appraise events that occur around them. Two significant aspects, namely, what is believed to be the basis of the event and whether the events are interpreted as either being bad or good for the participants, are considered significant in this theory.
Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D. & Akert, R. M. (2006). Social Psychology. New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall.