Two experiments replicating and extending Ross, Rodin, and Zimbardo 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 Experiment 1, arousal or arousal-irrelevant symptoms were attributed to noise or the threat of shock. Subjects receiving arousal symptoms avoided shock less, regardless of attribution. Extended manipulation checks revealed no evidence of differential attribution of arousal. In Experiment 2 subjects heard high or low noise. Arousal symptoms were attributed to noise or threat of shock. Subjects for whom arousal symptoms were attributed to noise and who heard low noise spent more time in shock avoidance than the other three groups. Again there was no evidence of misattribution of arousal. The results are interpreted as indicating that the results of misattribution studies are best explained in terms of the presentation of arousal information in a plausible context.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science