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1. SEPTEMBER 1962 VOL. 69, No. 5 PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW COGNITIVE, SOCIAL, AND PHYSIOLOGICAL DETERMINANTS OF EMOTIONAL STATE1 A FD JEROME E. SINGER STANLEY SCHACHTER…
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  • 1. SEPTEMBER 1962 VOL. 69, No. 5 PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW COGNITIVE, SOCIAL, AND PHYSIOLOGICAL DETERMINANTS OF EMOTIONAL STATE1 A FD JEROME E. SINGER STANLEY SCHACHTER Pennsylvania State University Columbia University mentally manipulated were character- The problem of which cues, internal ized by a general pattern of excitation or external, permit a person to label of the sympathetic nervous system but and identify his own emotional state there appeared to be no clear-cut physi- has been with us since the days that ological discriminators of the various James (1890) first tendered his doc- emotions. This pattern of results was trine that quot;the bodily changes follow so consistent from experiment to ex- directly the perception of the exciting periment that Cannon (1929) offered, fact, and that our feeling of the same as one of the crucial criticisms of the changes as they occur is the emotionquot; James-Lange theory, the fact that quot;the (p. 449). Since we are aware of a same visceral changes occur in very dif- variety of feeling and emotion states, it ferent emotional states and in non-emo- should follow from James' proposition tional statesquot; (p. 351). that the various emotions will be ac- More recent work, however, has companied by a variety of differentiable given some indication that there may bodily states. Following James' pro- be differentiators. Ax (1953) and nouncement, a formidable number of Schachter (1957) studied fear and studies were undertaken in search of anger. On a large number of indices the physiological differentiators of the both of these states were characterized emotions. The results, in these early by a similarly high level of autonomic days, were almost uniformly negative. activation but on several indices they All of the emotional states experi- did differ in the degree of activation. 1 This experiment is part of a program of Wolf and Wolff (1947) studied a sub- research on cognitive and physiological de- terminants of emotional state which is being ject with a gastric fistula and were able conducted at the Department of Social Psy- to distinguish two patterns in the phys- chology at Columbia University under PHS iological responses of the stomach wall. Research Grant M-2S84 from the National It should be noted, though, that for Institute of Mental Health, United States Public Health Service. This experiment was many months they studied their subject conducted at the Laboratory for Research in during and following a great variety of Social Relations at the University of Minne- moods and emotions and were able to sota. distinguish only two patterns. The authors wish to thank Jean Carlin and Whether or not there are physiologi- Ruth Hase, the physicians in the study, and cal distinctions among the various emo- Bibb Latan6 and Leonard Weller who were tional states must be considered an open the paid participants. 379
  • 2. STANLEY SCHACHTER AND JEROME E. SINGER 380 question. Recent work might be taken factors are completely interrelated. Imagine a man walking alone down a to indicate that such differences are at dark alley, a figure with a gun sud- best rather subtle and that the variety of emotion, mood, and feeling states are denly appears. The perception-cogni- by no means matched by an equal vari- tion quot;figure with a gunquot; in some fash- ion initiates a state of physiological ety of visceral patterns. This rather ambiguous situation has arousal; this state of arousal is inter- led Ruckmick (1936), Hunt, Cole, and preted in terms of knowledge about Reis (1958), Schachter (1959) and dark alleys and guns and the state of others to suggest that cognitive factors arousal is labeled quot;fear.quot; Similarly a may be major determinants of emo- student who unexpectedly learns that tional states. Granted a general pat- he has made Phi Beta Kappa may ex- tern of sympathetic excitation as char- perience a state of arousal which he will acteristic of emotional states, granted label quot;joy.quot; that there may be some differences in Let us now consider circumstances in pattern from state to state, it is sug- which these two elements, the physio- gested that one labels, interprets, and logical and the cognitive, are, to some identifies this stirred-up state in terms extent, independent. First, is the state of the characteristics of the precipi- of physiological arousal alone sufficient tating situation and one's apperceptive to induce an emotion? Best evidence indicates that it is not. Maranon s mass. This suggests, then, that an emotional state may be considered a (1924), in a fascinating study, (which function of a state of physiological was replicated by Cantril & Hunt, arousal 2 and of a cognition appropriate 1932, and Landis & Hunt, 1932) in- to this state of arousal. The cognition, jected 210 of his patients with the sym- in a sense, exerts a steering function. pathomimetic agent adrenalin and then Cognitions arising from the immediate simply asked them to introspect. Sev- situation as interpreted by past experi- enty-one percent of his subjects simply ence provide the framework within reported their physical symptoms with which one understands and labels his no emotional overtones; 29% of the feelings. It is the cognition which de- subjects responded in an apparently termines whether the state of physio- emotional fashion. Of these the great logical arousal will be labeled as majority described their feelings in a quot;anger,quot; quot;joy,quot; quot;fear,quot; or whatever. fashion that Maranon labeled quot;coldquot; or In order to examine the implications quot;as ifquot; emotions, that is, they made of this formulation let us consider the statements such as quot;I feel as if I were fashion in which these two elements, afraidquot; or quot;as if I were awaiting a a state of physiological arousal and cog- great happiness.quot; This is a sort of nitive factors, would interact in a vari- emotional quot;deja vuquot; experience; these ety of situations. In most emotion in- subjects are neither happy nor afraid, ducing situations, of course, the two they feel quot;as ifquot; they were. Finally a very few cases apparently reported a 2 Though our experiments are concerned exclusively with the physiological changes genuine emotional experience. How- produced by the injection of adrenalin, which ever, in order to produce this reaction appear to be primarily the result of sym- in most of these few cases, Maranon pathetic excitation, the term physiological (1924) points out: arousal is used in preference to the more specific quot;excitation of the sympathetic nerv- 3 Translated copies of Marafion's (1924) ous systemquot; because there are indications, paper may be obtained by writing to the to be discussed later, that this formulation senior author. is applicable to a variety of bodily states.
  • 3. 381 DETERMINANTS OF EMOTIONAL STATE precisely such a state would lead to the One must suggest a memory with strong affective force but not so strong as to pro- arousal of quot;evaluative needsquot; (Festin- duce an emotion in the normal state. For ex- ger, 1954), that is, pressures would act ample, in several cases we spoke to our pa- on an individual in such a state to un- tients before the injection of their sick derstand and label his bodily feelings. children or dead parents and they responded calmly to this topic. The same topic pre- His bodily state grossly resembles the sented later, during the adrenal commotion, condition in which it has been at times was sufficient to trigger emotion. This ad- of emotional excitement. How would renal commotion places the subject in a situ- he label his present feelings ? It is sug- ation of 'affective imminencequot; (pp. 307-308). gested, of course, that he will label his Apparently, then, to produce a genu- feelings in terms of his knowledge of inely emotional reaction to adrenalin, the immediate situation.4 Should he at Maranon was forced to provide such the time be with a beautiful woman he subjects with an appropriate cognition. might decide that he was wildly in love Though Maranon (1924) is not ex- or sexually excited. Should he be at plicit on his procedure, it is clear that a gay party, he might, by comparing his subjects knew that they were re- himself to others, decide that he was ceiving an injection and in all likeli- extremely happy and euphoric. Should hood knew that they were receiving he be arguing with his wife, he might adrenalin and probably had some order explode in fury and hatred. Or, should of familiarity with its effects. In short, the situation be completely inappropri- though they underwent the pattern of ate he could decide that he was excited sympathetic discharge common to about something that had recently hap- strong emotional states, at the same pened to him or, simply, that he was time they had a completely appropriate sick. In any case, it is our basic as- cognition or explanation as to why sumption that emotional states are a they felt this way. This, we would function of the interaction of such cog- suggest, is the reason so few of Mara- nitive factors with a state of physiologi- fion's subjects reported any emotional cal arousal. experience. This line of thought, then, leads to Consider now a person in a state of the following propositions: physiological arousal for which no im- 1. Given a state of physiological mediately explanatory or appropriate arousal for which an individual has no cognitions are available. Such a state immediate explanation, he will quot;labelquot; could result were one covertly to inject this state and describe his feelings in a subject with adrenalin or, unknown terms of the cognitions available to him. to him, feed the subject a sympathomi- To the extent that cognitive factors are metic drug such as ephedrine. Under potent determiners of emotional states, such conditions a subject would be it could be anticipated that precisely the aware of palpitations, tremor, face same state of physiological arousal flushing, and most of the battery of could be labeled quot;joyquot; or quot;furyquot; or symptoms associated with a discharge quot;jealousyquot; or any of a great diversity of the sympathetic nervous system. In 4 This suggestion is not new for several contrast to Maranon's (1924) subjects psychologists have suggested that situational he would, at the same time, be utterly factors should be considered the chief differ- unaware of why he felt this way. What entiators of the emotions. Hunt, Cole, and would be the consequence of such a Reis (1958) probably make this point most explicitly in their study distinguishing among state ? fear, anger, and sorrow in terms of situ- Schachter (1959) has suggested that ational characteristics.
  • 4. STANLEY SCHACHTER AND JEROME E. SINGER 382 in the framework of a study of the effects of of emotional labels depending on the vitamin supplements on vision. As soon as a cognitive aspects of the situation. subject arrived, he was taken to a private 2. Given a state of physiological room and told by the experimenter: arousal for which an individual has a In this experiment we would like to completely appropriate explanation make various tests of your vision. We are (e.g., quot;I feel this way because I have particularly interested in how certain vita- just received an injection of adren- min compounds and vitamin supplements alinquot;) no evaluative needs will arise affect the visual skills. In particular, we and the individual is unlikely to label want to find out how the vitamin compound called 'Suproxin' affects your vision. his feelings in terms of the alternative What we would like to do, then, if we cognitions available. can get your permission, is to give you a Finally, consider a condition in small injection of Suproxin. The injec- which emotion inducing cognitions are tion itself is mild and harmless; however, since some people do object to being in- present but there is no state of physio- jected we don't want to talk you into any- logical arousal. For example, an indi- thing. Would you mind receiving a vidual might be completely aware that Suproxin injection? he is in great danger but for some If the subject agrees to the injection (and reason (drug or surgical) remain in a all but 1 of 185 subjects did) the experi- state of physiological quiescence. Does menter continues with instructions we shall he experience the emotion quot;fearquot;? describe shortly, then leaves the room. In a Our formulation of emotion as a joint few minutes a physician enters the room, briefly repeats the experimenter's instruc- function of a state of physiological tions, takes the subject's pulse and then in- arousal and an appropriate cognition, jects him with Suproxin. would, of course, suggest that he does Depending upon condition, the subject re- not, which leads to our final proposi- ceives one of two forms of Suproxin—• tion. epinephrine or a placebo. Epinephrine or adrenalin is a sympathomi- 3. Given the same cognitive circum- metic drug whose effects, with minor excep- stances, the individual will react emo- tions, are almost a perfect mimicry of a tionally or describe his feelings as emo- discharge of the sympathetic nervous system. tions only to the extent that he Shortly after injection systolic blood pressure experiences a state of physiological increases markedly, heart rate increases arousal.5 somewhat, cutaneous blood flow decreases, while muscle and cerebral blood flow in- PROCEDURE crease, blood sugar and lactic acid concentra- tion increase, and respiration rate increases The experimental test of these propositions slightly. As far as the subject is concerned requires (a) the experimental manipulation the major subjective symptoms are palpita- of a state of physiological arousal, (6) the tion, tremor, and sometimes a feeling of manipulation of the extent to which the sub- flushing and accelerated breathing. With a ject has an appropriate or proper explanation subcutaneous injection (in the dosage ad- of his bodily state, and (c) the creation of ministered to our subjects), such effects usu- situations from which explanatory cognitions ally begin within 3-5 minutes of injection and may be derived. last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. In order to satisfy the first two experi- For most subjects these effects are dissipated mental requirements, the experiment was cast within 15-20 minutes after injection. Subjects receiving epinephrine received a 5 In his critique of the James-Lange theory subcutaneous injection of % cubic centimeter of emotion, Cannon (1929) also makes the of a 1 : 1000 solution of Winthrop Labora- point that sympathectomized animals and pa- tory's Suprarenin, a saline solution of tients do seem to manifest emotional be- epinephrine bitartrate. havior. This criticism is, of course, as ap- Subjects in the placebo condition receivpd a plicable to the above proposition as it was to subcutaneous injection of % cubic centimeter the James-Lange formulation. We shall discuss the issues involved in later papers. of saline solution. This is, of course, com-
  • 5. DETERMINANTS OF EMOTIONAL STATE 383 These side effects are transitory, that is, pletely neutral material with no side effects they will only last for about 15 or 20 at all. minutes. What will probably happen is that your feet will feel numb, you will have Manipulating an Appropriate an itching sensation over parts of your Explanation body, and you may get a slight headache. Again these are side effects lasting IS or By quot;appropriatequot; we refer to the extent to 20 minutes. which the subject has an authoritative, un- equivocal explanation of his bodily condi- And again, the physician repeated these tion. Thus, a subject who had been informed symptoms while injecting the subject. by the physician that as a direct consequence None of these symptoms, of course, are of the injection he would feel palpitations, consequences of an injection of epinephrine tremor, etc. would be considered to have a and, in effect, these instructions provide the completely appropriate explanation. A sub- subject with a completely inappropriate ex- ject who had been informed only that the planation of his bodily feelings. This condi- injection would have no side effects would tion was introduced as a control condition of have no appropriate explanation of his state. sorts. It seemed possible that the descrip- This dimension of appropriateness was ma- tion of side effects in the Epi Inf condition nipulated in three experimental conditions might turn the subject introspective, self-ex- which shall be called: Epinephrine Informed amining, possibly slightly troubled. Differ- (Epi Inf), Epinephrine Ignorant (Epi Ign), ences on the dependent variable between the and Epinephrine Misinformed (Epi Mis). Epi Inf and Epi Ign conditions might, then, Immediately after the subject had agreed be due to such factors rather than to dif- to the injection and before the physician en- ferences in appropriateness. The false symp- tered the room, the experimenter's spiel in toms in the Epi Mis condition should simi- each of these conditions went as follows: larly turn the subject introspective, etc., but the instructions in this condition do not pro- Epinephrine Informed. I should also tell vide an appropriate explanation of the sub- you that some of our subjects have ex- ject's state. perienced side effects from the Suproxin. Subjects in all of the above conditions were These side effects are transitory, that is, injected with epinephrine. Finally, there was they will only last for about 15 or 20 min- a placebo condition in which subjects, who utes. What will probably happen is that w^re injected with saline solution, were given your hand will start to shake, your heart precisely the same treatment as subjects in will start to pound, and your face may get the Epi Ign condition. warm and flushed. Again these are side effects lasting about IS or 20 minutes. Producing an Emotion Inducing While the physician was giving the injec- tion tion, she told the subject that the injection Our initial hypothesis has suggested that was mild and harmless and repeated this de- given a state of physiological arousal for scription of the symptoms that the subject which the individual has no adequate ex- could expect as a consequence of the shot. In planation, cognitive factors can lead the in- this condition, then, subjects have a com- dividual to describe his feelings with any of pletely appropriate explanation of their bodily a diversity of emotional labels. In order to state. They know precisely what they will test this hypothesis, it was decided to manipu- feel and why. late emotional states which can be considered Epinephrine Ignorant. In this condition, quite different—euphoria and anger. when the subject agreed to the injection, the There are, of course, many ways to induce experimenter said nothing more relevant to such states. In our own program of re- side effects and simply left the room. While search, we have concentrated on social de- the physician was giving the injection, she terminants of emotional states and have been told the subject that the injection was mild able to demonstrate in other studies that and harmless and would have no side effects. people do evaluate their own feelings by com- In this condition, then, the subject has no ex- paring themselves with others around them perimentally provided explanation for his (Schachter 1959; Wrightsman 1960). In bodily state. this experiment we have attempted again to Epinephrine Misinformed. I should also manipulate emotional state by social means. tell you that some of our subjects have ex- In one set of conditions, the subject is placed perienced side effects from the Suproxin. together with a stooge who has been trained
  • 6. STANLEY SCHACHTER AND JEROME E. SING
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