Construct accessibility and the misattribution of arousal: Schachter and Singer Revisited

Robert C. Sinclair, Curt Hoffman, Melvin M. Mark, Leonard L. Martin, Tracie L. Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Schachter and Singer (1962) showed that people search the immediate environment for emotionally relevant cues to label and interpret unexplained physiological arousal We investigated how unobtrusively activated cognitions and physiological arousal interact to produce emotional experience when the immediate environment is devoid of relevant cues Subjects were primed with positive, negative, or neutral concepts They then either exercised or sat still and, either immediately or after a delay, rated their emotional state Consistent with what Schachter and Singer found, subjects in the exercise, delayed-rating condition, who lacked an obvious explanation for their arousal, made the most extreme affective self-ratings, which were consistent with the valence of the primed concepts These subjects apparently interpreted their residual arousal in terms of the primed concepts Subjects in the exercise, immediate-rating condition, who had an explanation for their arousal (i e, the exercise), were not influenced by the primes Subjects in the no-exercise condition showed typical priming effects, with prime-consistent self-ratings that decayed over time Implications for emotion formation, misattribution of arousal, and cognition are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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