Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 153–169 | Cite as

Effects of hedonic valence and physiological arousal on emotion: A comparison of two theoretical perspectives

  • Nyla R. Branscombe


Two theoretical perspectives concerned with how one emotional state may influence a subsequent one were examined. Zillmann's (1979) excitation transfer theory suggests that undetected residual arousal from a first state will transfer and intensify a subsequent state—regardless of the first state's hedonic valence. Baron's (1977) incompatible response model, on the other hand, suggests that the hedonic valence of an earlier state will affect the experience of a second state and that this effect will be strongest when the two states are temporally close. The results of this investigation support the incompatible response model but not the excitation transfer model. Unrecognized residual arousal from a prior state failed to affect subjects' second emotional state, although the hedonic valence of the prior state did affect the final emotional state when the second state was induced immediately after the first. All emotional states, although they may be equally arousing, do not affect subsequent emotion in an identical manner. When two emotional states are induced in quick succession, the hedonic valence of the prior state plays an important role in determining the intensity of the subsequent emotional state.


Social Psychology Emotional State Response Model Theoretical Perspective Transfer Model 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nyla R. Branscombe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western OntarioCanada

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