Essay by driverseCollege, UndergraduateA, January 2009

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For this assignment, I chose my summary to be about Arousal, and how it is a direct application of a course concept known as Schather & Singer’s 2 factor theory of emotion. This theory has two stages in which the first is a state of Psychological arousal, such as having a racing heart or sweaty palms. The second state is to look for an explanation or cause to your excited state if you don’t know why you’re feeling overly-aroused. To accurately describe this theory, let me give you an example.

Recently, I saw the classic, 1995 hit “Clueless” on cable TV featuring stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, and Brittany Murphy. As I watched this film, I was reminded of Schather’s study during a particular part in the movie. This scene is when Dion, who plays Cher's best friend, is practice-driving with her cute and charming boyfriend, Murray, and Cher (IMDb). This scene starts out with casual conversation and light laughter as Dion is practice-driving with her learners permit, with Murray in the passenger’s seat and Cher behind Dion. Dion gets too absorbed in a conversation and suddenly finds herself stuck on an exit ramp leading straight for the unbelievably-horrifying interstate. As she progresses further down the merger lane onto the interstate, Dion’s heart rate increases dramatically along with screams and shrieks of fear not only heard in her voice, but in Murray’s and Cher’s as well. With all three of them in this highly intensified, psychologically-aroused state, the first state of Schather & Singers 2 factor theory of emotion (Baron, Byrne, & Branscombe, 2006), they continue until the merger lane runs out, and she is now on the interstate, not increasing her speed at all, and having just about every possible bad thing occur, that could happen if you make a mistake like that. A huge 18-wheeler truck screeches his tires trying not to hit them from behind, and flings itself in the left-hand lane; flying by them and blowing Dion’s convertible vehicle nearly off the road. As she corrects herself back into the lane, she cuts off a pack of biker-boys going way faster than the speed limit, descending all three of the horrified High School students into even more of an out of control state. They finally reach the next off ramp and exit the interstate swerving and weaving, pulling over immediately. All three of them are shaking and panting violently, with Murray being the first to calm down, followed by Cher. Dion, on the other hand, needed Murray’s calm voice to get her back into a controlled state. Dion was still very overwhelmed and aroused, along with Murray and they look deeply into each others eyes, taking the almost near-death experience to another level; the level of love. They start to make-out intensely, grabbing and pulling at each other so rough it was if they might have never seen each other again. Cher’s monogram of that event talked heavily about the entirety of true love.

But getting into Schather & Singer’s second stage, was what Cher witnessed between Dion and her Boyfriend Murray’s intimate moment an effect of real, true, passionate love, or was it due to the over-excited state of the near-death car crash the both of them had just experienced moments before? The answer is “B” as the study then concludes that the higher the state of physiological arousal, the more intense attraction you feel towards your significant other. I’m sure you can come up with your own examples of this occurring, such as in the area of roller-coasters and arousal; you feel more attracted to your mate after riding roller-coasters.

In conclusion, I now think of this theory often as I see affectionate couples in interesting settings. And I immediately start to broaden my interpretations not only to internal aspects, but to external, environmental aspects.

ReferencesBaron, R. A., Byrne, D., & Branscombe, N. R. (2006). Social psychology. Boston, MA:Pearson Education, Inc.

( n.d.) IMDb: Earth’s Biggest Movie Database: Clueless. Retrieved March 22, 2006, fromInternet Movie Database Inc Web site: