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Speisman et al (1964) Observational Study Cheat Sheet by


Joseph Speisman, Richard Lazarus, Arnold Markoff, Les Davison

Hypoth­esi­s/Null Hypothesis

Partic­ipants’ emotional reactions will differ in the different stimulus
Emotional reactions will not differ


Trauma soundtrack increased stress compared to control. Denial and Intell­ect­ual­ization less stress than contro­l//­lower heart rate


Emotional trauma may be inflicted upon the partic­ipants Lots of deception Very little informed consent During a time when many unethical studies were conducted


The results suggest that cognitive appraisal can be modified to effect emotional stress Trauma track raised stress levels The ego track and the intell­ect­ual­ization track that focused on WHY this ritual was happening and what it did lowered the stress SUPPORTS HYPOTHESIS


Speisman et al.


To invest­igate how manipu­lating ones cognitive appraisal could affect emotional experi­ences, through measuring the stress levels


Indepe­ndent Variable: Soundtrack used
Dependent Variable: Emotional Response


Indivi­duals interp­ret­ation affect emotional stress rather than the actual event

Social theory or school of thought

Based on Lazurus social appraisal theory A theory of emotion which implicates people’s personal interp­ret­ations of an event in determ­ining their emotional reaction Changing the music in this study changes how the partic­ipants perceive the event which alters their emotional response

Analysis of Study

a. Potential Confou­nding Variables : prior degree of comfort towards graphic images, demand charac­ter­istics of questi­onnaire b. Extraneous Variables :attention spent on film c. Controls : # partic­ipants in each stimulus, video, soundt­rack, method of conducting d. Blind Technique: Single (parti­cip­ants) e. Cultural Influences : non or fact all partic­ipants where American f. Influence of Gender: Both genders in study, males might have stronger connection

Research and Sampling Method

Research Method: Experi­mental
Sampling Method- Random, as college students formed one group and airlines execs formed another

Outline Procedure

Procedure a. Partic­ipants split into 4 groups (students and execs) i. Control (No soundt­rack) ii. Trauma Condition (Emphasis on pain) iii. Denial Condition (Happy Music) iv. Intell­ect­ual­ization Condition (Narration of Surgery) b. After each group watched a video, they were given a psycho­log­ical/ self-r­eport questi­onn­aire.

Studies that Support or challenge

Many studies conducted by Lazurus (Lazurus et al 1970, Lazurus and Launier 1978) show that cognitive appraisal is made up of learning, memory, percep­tion, and thought. These studies invest­igated other ways to change ones percep­tion.

Strengths and Limita­tions

Very controlled – reduces the amount­/impact of confou­nding variables
Weak ecological validity
Study is replicable
Results can only apply to males
Study is unethical


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