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Discuss Arnold’s appraisal theory and what is says about how our


DiscussArnold’s appraisal theory and what is says about how our emotionsare shaped

DiscussArnold’s appraisal theory and what is says about how our emotionsare shaped

MagdaArnold was one of the main pioneers of the 20t century research ofemotions. Born in 1903, Magda was attracted to the research involvingemotions due to her interest in personality psychology. It is arguedthat Magda was responsible for the revival of psychology of emotion,which had been neglected when behaviorism theories were seen as thedominant paradigms (Smith &amp Ellsworth, 2008). Arnold was a devoutcatholic who has ever been respected due to her involvement in afield that was largely dominated by men.

Arnoldis the theorist who came up with the cognitive appraisal theory inthe 1960s. She took keen interest in studying how emotions, whichaccompany general arousal are formed. The appraisal theories assertthat emotions are formed or shaped through evaluation or appraisal ofa situation or event. According to Arnold, emotions of fear, angerand excitement can be differentiated by looking at the different waysthrough which an individual reacts to different situations or events(Bonanno &amp Mayne, 2001). According to Arnold, the initial step inthe formation of emotions is the appraisal or evaluation of asituation, which in turn triggers an action, which is a reaction tothe experience presented by the situation. She continues to assertwhereas the physiological changes are vital, they only accompanyactions and experience but do not trigger them (Roberts, 2004).

Dueto the difficulties in the definition of the term emotion, Arnoldcontinued with her research in the field of appraisal theory. Onemain advancement in her theory was the idea that she postulated andcalled intuitive appraisal. In this concept, she argues that varyingemotions will lead to different actions (Dalgleish &amp Power,2007). In other words, she postulates that bad and good emotions willlead to different actions. For instance, learners who pass extremelywell in class in a particular subject feel happy about it. As aconsequence of the good emotion or feeling of happiness, the learnerswill continue to work harder in the particular subject (Baumeister &ampFinkel, 2010). On the contrary, learners who fail in such subjectsattract different actions of studying less in the subject. It iscritical to point out that Magda Arnold’s appraisal theory receivedpraises and criticism in equal measure. In 1970, at the Loyolasymposium on feelings and emotions, researchers were quick tochallenge Arnold’s theory where they questioned the role played bypsychological experiences and psycho physiological factors (Loyolasymposium on feelings and emotions, &amp Arnold, 1970).

Itis apparent to note that prior to the appraisal theory by MagdaArnold, theorists believed that emotions are occur automatically inresponse to different situations or evens. However, there is enormousdata that indicate that a similar situation has elicited varyingemotions on different people or even a single person when they occurat different times (Hunt etal,2012). It is also paramount to point out that prior to Arnold’sappraisal theory, there was little research done on how emotions areformed. This gap in scientific research necessitated the developmentof the appraisal theory, which seeks to bring an understanding ofemotions (Baumeister &amp Finkel, 2010). Arnold in her appraisaltheory seeks to identify the criteria used in evaluating situation inorder to identify the emotions that will be elicited. The appraisaltheory also strives to establish a clear link between the appraisalor the evaluative process of events or situations and the formationof emotional responses.

Despitethe various criticism that Arnold’s appraisal theory received,researchers have continued to rely on Arnold’s discoveries in theirstudy of emotions and affection and how they relate to each other(Magai &amp McFadden, 2006). Scientific researchers have continuedto re-evaluate Arnold’s appraisal theory and continue to use herinsight and ideas in their bid to answer various questions that faceresearchers in the fields of emotion, affective neuroscience andmotivation (Uttl etal,2006).

Arnold’stheory has had enormous contribution and has given exceptionalinsight of how emotions are shaped. Although modern emotionresearchers have questioned the theory, it is evident that they havecontinually relied on Arnold’s insights and ideas to carry outtheir research. Appraisal theory asserts that emotions are formed asa result of the appraisal or evaluation of a situation or an event inan individual’s environment (Cornelius, 2006). According to MagdaArnold, people’s emotions are shaped or formed when people perceivetheir circumstances. It is imperative to note that circumstances canbe immediate, imagined or remembered. The appraisal theory by MagdaArnold assert that thoughts and feelings are interrelated and thatemotions influence thinking. Magda Arnold points out that therecertain ways through which people interpret their environmentalexperiences, which are extremely emotional (Silvia, 2006).

MagdaArnold’s appraisal theory of 1960 assert that individuals are in acontinuous evaluation of any environmental changes for theirindividual wellbeing (Arnold,1961).In this evaluation, individuals check whether significant stimuli arepresent, their benefit or harm and whether they can easily beapproached. These evaluations of environmental changes were referredto as the appraisals by Magda Arnold and they result in actionpredispositions (Wetherell, 2012). According to Magda Arnold, theseaction tendencies are experienced as emotions. The appraisal theoryof emotions stipulate that an individual’s emotional state is aproduct of the person’s appraisals or evaluations of theimplications of his or her experiences for personal wellbeing. Theappraisal theory point out that individuals will have varyingevaluations of their experiences which result in the experience ofdifferent emotions (Bem etal,2007).

Whenan individual is faced with a situation of danger or threat, theprobable experience of emotion that the appraisal theory postulatesis fear. In addition, the appraisal theory asserts that the emotionalstate of sadness is as a result of the appraisal or evaluation ofloss or irreparable harm. It is also critical to point out that theemotional state of anger results from the appraisal of situationsthat are undesirable. From these examples it is clear that Arnold’sappraisal theory argues that people’s appraisal of situations orevents initiate varying emotional states (Lewis &amp Haviland-Jones,2008). According to Arnold, individuals assess or evaluate situationsin terms of the benefit or loss that the situation will have on them.Individuals also assess whether certain situations will be harmful orvaluable, desirable or undesirable. As a result, it is evident inregard to the appraisal theory that situations or objects mighteither draw individuals towards them or repel them away (Crawford,2008).

Arnold’sappraisal theory follows a particular sequence in order to come upwith its conclusion. According to the theory, an experience in anindividual’s environment starts with perception, which is followedby appraisal and finally emotions are experienced individuals mustperceive situations or events in their environment and appraise orevaluate them. Once the perceived experiences are evaluated,different emotions are initiated. It is imperative to point out thatappraisals are sense judgments which try to find meaning ofsituations. These judgments are not in depth cognitive judgments, butthey only seek to evaluate situations at face value (Prinz, 2004).Magda Arnold, in her theory, continues to assert that emotions areimpulses to varying actions. Such actions seek to respond to theenvironment in specific ways. For instance, an individual may respondto the environment through striking or fleeing as a result ofemotional state of anger.

Theappraisal theory by Arnold Magda illuminated and initiated a longtimeresearch on emotions and motivation. Although the theory has beencriticized by other researchers, it is apparent that the theoryopened up new and fresh ideas in regard to the formation of emotions.It is vital to appreciate the efforts that Magda put in her researchin the 1950sand the 1960s when a majority of the scientific researchfields were dominated by men (Johnstone etal,2009). The appraisal theory took a paradigm shift from thecontemporary behaviorism. The appraisal theory, unlike the judgmenttheories do not rely on psychological concepts such as beliefs.

Despitethe extensive criticism of the appraisal theory by Magda Arnold, itis imperative to point out that the theory has succeeded to stand upto various empirical tests. The theory has gone a long waydetermining the formation of emotions (Ortony etal,2006). Research has also indicated that emotions initiated byparticular situations have been consistent. However, research hasindicated that different gender portray varying emotional states whenexposed to similar situations. This has been largely attributed tothe fact that females have hormonal imbalances, which affects theiremotions.


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