GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Psychology Lifespan Development-Emotion Study Material (Page 8 of 8)

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Theories of Emotion: Cognitive Appraisal Theory


Cognitive Appraisal Theory

In the absence of physiological arousal, an individual decides what to feel after interpreting or explaining what has just happened. Two things are important in this decision

  • Whether the event is interpreted as good or bad
  • What the individual believes is the cause of the event
  • The sequence is thus as follows:
Process of Cognitive Appraisal Theory

This challenges the two-factor separation of arousal and emotion, supporting parts of the Cannon and Bard theory albeit with the addition of the thinking step. This is sometimes also called Lazarus Theory. For example, when a colleague is promoted, another peer might feel resentful thinking that he or she is more des…

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Theories of Emotion: Arousal Theory and Sternberg Theory of Love


Many researchers propose that behavior changes as a function of arousal. The curve (called an inverted U function) shown below illustrates that performance increases as arousal increases up to a point but then decreases if arousal is increased beyond that point. This arousal-performance phenomenon is known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. It is well known that while a certain amount of anxiety can enhance performance (for example, by promoting thorough preparation) , too much can impair it (as could, for example, severe stage fright) . Research evidence has not totally supported the inverted U relationsh…

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