Emotions are a central part of the experience of being human. People's feelings and moods affect their behavior, choices, and perspectives in myriad ways. The physical and psychological mechanisms behind emotions are correspondingly complex, and many different theories of emotion have been proposed to explain them. What are these theories, and are they supported by biology, psychology, physiology, or even common sense?
Schachter-Singer Two-Factor TheoryShow moreShow less
The Schachter-Singer theory offers an explanation of emotions based on two factors, physiological arousal and cognitive interpretation.
In the Schachter-Singer Two-Factor theory of emotion, the first factor in causing an emotion is physiological arousal. According to the two factor model, physiological responses are a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for emotions. The Schachter-Singer theory shares this contention in common with the earlier James-Lange theory of emotion, which argued that emotions are directly and solely the results of physiological responses. Unlike James-Lange, the Schachter-Singer theory describes physiological arousal as only the first step in forming emotions, which is followed by cognitive interpretation before an actual emotional response occurs.