What Is The Cognitive Labeling Theory?


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Elizabeth Leake answered
Cognitive labeling theory was thought up by Stanley Schachter & Jerome Singer, the theory is based around emotions and how emotions are generated and for what reason. The theory states that if you fail to assign emotional significance to a physiological attribute, it doesn't qualify as an emotion at all. 

What this means in simpler terms is that when an emotionally significant event occurs such as;a death in the family or a baby being born, the human mind and body both go through a process. This process goes as follows:
  • The mind recognizes and acknowledges the event
  • Both the mind and body then start to react to the event. This is called the arousal, but don't just think in a sexual manner as an arousal can simply mean a stronger wave of emotion.
  •    The mind and body then label this emotion and connect it to the significant emotional event
Schachter and Singer's theory states that if you cannot label the emotion to a significant event or time, it is not a proper emotion. The reason they believe this is that if you cannot match the emotion to an event then the emotion is not significant or even necessarily an emotion, it may have been simply a thought.  Whether this is true or not is completely up to each individual as it is merely a theory.

As with all theories, experiments have been conducted to try and prove this theory while others have tried to disprove it. As there have not been any conclusive results, it still remains a theory.

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