Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Emotion and the Labeling Process
by Sontag, Michael, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 2006, 220; 10857207
Abstract (Summary)

Contemporary philosophical thinking about the emotions largely centers around two distinct approaches. Some philosophers conceive of the emotions as primarily physiological phenomena–as reflex-like responses that are best understood through biology or the neurosciences. Other philosophers approach the emotions as primarily cognitive phenomena–as complexes of beliefs and attitudes that are best understood through the social sciences or through philosophical analysis.

I narrow the gap between physiological approaches and cognitive approaches to understanding the emotions by focusing on how the physiological aspects of the emotions and the cognitive aspects of the emotions interact throughout the course of an emotional episode. I have done this by taking the labeling process, first described by psychologist Stanley Schachter (1962), as crucial for understanding the emotions. On this view, an emotion is a function of a state of physiological arousal and the process of interpreting and describing that state of arousal using an emotional term, such as happiness, anger, jealousy, or indignation.

In this dissertation, I examine Stanley Schachter's original formulation of the idea of the labeling process and I critically evaluate the well-known Schachter and Singer experiment. I also examine the historical background and the reception of Schachter's theory. I consider Schachter's theory in light of current research and demonstrate that Schachter's theory leads to novel solutions to problems facing current research. Finally, I elucidate some of the concepts which are fundamental to Schachter's framework and I respond to important objections.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Robinson, Jenefer
Commitee:
School: University of Cincinnati
Department: Arts and Sciences : Philosophy
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Emotion, Labeling process, Schachter
Publication Number: 10857207
ISBN: 9780438023123
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