Primary Task Response: Within the Discussion Board area, write 300–500 words that respond to the following questions with your thoughts, ideas, and comments. This will be the foundation for future discussions with your classmates. Be substantive and clear, and use examples to reinforce your ideas.

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In 1962, a classic social psychology experiment was completed by Schachter and Singer. In the study, the researchers injected participants with a drug. The drug was known to increase physiological arousal. Physiological arousal includes increased heart rate, blood pressure, and energy. Only half of the participants were told about the drug’s effects in advance. The participants were then divided into two groups. The first group of participants was placed in a waiting room with non-study individuals who acted happy. The second group of participants was placed in a waiting room with non-study individuals who acted annoyed. Interestingly, those participants who were not told about the drug’s effects beforehand responded to the drug in the same manner as the non-study individuals with whom they shared a waiting room. Participants waiting with happy people became happy, while participants waiting with annoyed people became annoyed (Schachter & Singer, 1962).

The Schachter and Singer study is believed to support Daryl J. Bem’s Self-Perception Theory. Bem’s theory suggests that when a person is experiencing vague or unknown internal stimuli (such as the increased heart rate and blood pressure mentioned in the study above), that person will then look outside him- or herself to clues within the environment. These external clues are then used to make an interpretation about how the person should feel or behave (Bem, 1972).

Describe a situation from your own life or a situation you observed in which you or others responded primarily because of the behaviors, attitudes, or feelings of those around you (please describe the situation in detail).
In your own words, define the theory by Schachter and Singer and explain how it applies to your situation. Describe the internal stimuli that you were experiencing and signals that you picked up on from the other people within your environment.
In your own words, define Bem's theory and provide an example. Discuss how Bem’s theory is different from Schachter and Singer’s theory?

Please make sure to use course materials to help define any theories or concepts to support your response.

Responses to Other Students: Respond to at least 2 of your fellow classmates with a reply of 100 words about their Primary Task Response regarding items you found to be compelling and enlightening. To help you with your discussion, please consider the following questions:

What did you learn from your classmate’s posting?
What additional questions do you have after reading the posting?
What clarification do you need regarding the posting?
What differences or similarities do you see between your posting and other classmates’ postings?


Schachter, S., & Singer, J. E. (1962). Cognitive, social and psychological determinants of emotional states. Psychological Review, 69, 379–399

Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology. New York, NY: Academic Press.

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Theories on Emotion: Schachter & Singer and Daryl Bem

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