Schachter & Singer (two factors in emotions)
Evaluation Essay

P – Point (Strength/Weakness) 

E – Explain the pointE – Example from the studyR – Relate to the point on why is it a strength / weakness in the study
High in reliabilityThe extent to which a procedure, task, or measure is consistent. That it would produce the same results with the same people on each occasion.All participants in each condition received the same instruction. For example, the participants in the informed consent condition were told that they could expect hands shaking, heart pounding, and face feeling warm as a side effect of the injection received.The standardised instruction given to each participant according to the experimental condition assigned, eases the process of replication of future research hence the study has high reliability.
Low on ecological validityThis refers to the extent that the setting a study has been conducted in can be relevant to everyday life. This is the case, as the study is low in mundane realism with the task given to participants not something that happens in everyday life.For example, every participant was told that the study was on the effects of Suproxin a vitamin supplement on vision and was placed in a room with a stooge that either acted euphorically or angrily.The task of being injected with an “unknown” drug, sitting with a stooge as you attempt to complete a questionnaire is not a usual task that people conduct in everyday life. Therefore, the study can be said to be low in mundane realism.
High in validityThe extent a researcher is testing what they claim to be testing.For example, participants were randomly allocated to the different conditions of either the control group or injected with epinephrine group while informed, misinformed, or ignorant of the side effects. The stooge was also not informed of the condition that the participant was in.As the experiment implemented the double blind technique where both participant and the stooge are unaware of which condition of the participant is in, this prevents demands characteristics and improves the validity of any data collected.
Low in generalisabilityHow widely findings apply to other settings and populations.For example, participants were recruited via volunteer sampling, all 185 male participants were college students who were taking introductory psychology.The use of only male subjects, made the results not representative of the population. There may be individual differences between males and females when experiencing an emotion in either physiological or cognitive components, limiting the generalizability of the study.
Ethical issue (deception )The ethical issue of deception was breached (overlooked) in this study. Deception is when participants are deliberately misled about the aspect of the study.

For example, after being injected, participants were one-by-one placed in another room with a stooge that was assigned to either behave euphoric or angry.

Participants were deceived on the stooge that was carrying out tasks according to the instructions given by the researcher. Thus, participants were not able to give informed consent to participate in the study. This would further tarnish the image of the field of psychological research & the public would be reluctant to participate in future research.

Two-factor theory of emotions (Strength)The two-factor theory of emotion states that emotion is the result of both physiological and psychological (cognitive) components.This study used a stooge to manipulate psychological component of happy with actions such as doodle on paper, and threw it in the wastebasket, or angry with a questionnaire to create emotional arousal and manipulate physiological arousal with epinephrine.From the measured responses by how much the participant joined in with the stooge, researcher found that both factors were important and that the physiological factors were interpreted differently depending on the psychological component from the stooge’s behaviour. This supports the two-factor theory of emotion.

Other analysis:

Schachter and Singer :

  •  strength observations used objective scales raising reliability
  •  strength participants were unaware that they were being observed, so should not have been affected by demand characteristics
  •  weakness observations in lab context (participants knew they were in a study, even though they thought it was vision and were only waiting) so may be unrepresentative
  •  weakness manipulation of physiological arousal by injection of adrenalin may be unlike real physiological arousal so may be unrepresentative

Protection from physical and psychological harm: participants were injected, which could have caused physical pain. Also, as they were in situations that could bring about euphoria or anger, they were not leaving the study in the same psychological state as they entered.

Use of independent groups: the results may have been affected by participant variables as each participant only took part on one of the conditions. Participants who were “naturally” more euphoric or angry could have been in those particular groups and therefore it was not always the labelling that was affecting behaviour.

Volunteers: the sample was made up of volunteer students which may not be representative of a wider population when it comes to the effects of cognitive factors on emotional behaviour.

Schachter & Singer had many controls, such as the set order of the stooge’s activities, what the person injecting said and did, plus what was injected and how the observations were set out and categorised. This means another researcher could easily replicate this study to test for reliability.

The task of being injected with an “unknown” drug, sitting with a stooge as you attempt to complete a questionnaire is not a usual task that people conduct in everyday life. Therefore, the study can be said to be low in mundane realism.

As there were many controls, such as the instructions given to the four groups and how the stooge behaved, the researchers could be confident that it was the information provided to participants that directly affected the moods and emotions they reported.

Deception: participants thought that they were receiving a vitamin supplement called suproxin (when it was actually epinephrine). They also thought that the stooge was another real participant who had been injected and was completing the questionnaires.