The role of information in attenuating behavioral responses to stress: A reinterpretation of the misattribution phenomenon

Jocelyn Calvert-Boyanowski, Howard Leventhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments replicating and extending the findings of L. Ross et al (see record) were conducted to determine whether reductions in emotional behavior resulted from misattribution of naturally occurring arousal states or from informational factors confounded in previous research. In Exp I with 80 female undergraduates, arousal or arousal-irrelevant symptoms were attributed to noise or the threat of shock. Ss receiving arousal symptoms avoided shock less, regardless of attribution. Extended manipulation checks revealed no evidence of differential attribution of arousal. In Exp II with 40 female undergraduates, Ss heard high or low noise. Arousal symptoms were attributed to noise or threat of shock. Ss for whom arousal symptoms were attributed to noise and who heard low noise spent more time in shock avoidance than the other 3 groups. Again there was no evidence of misattribution of arousal. Results indicate that misattribution studies are best explained in terms of the presentation of arousal information in a plausible context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1975

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • arousal symptom information &
  • attribution manipulation, attenuation of behavioral responses to stress, female college students, extension of study by L. Ross et al

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