Concepts and Theory
Affect is generally assumed to be an experience of internal activity as opposed to the perception of some quality inherent in external stimuli. It is typically equated with terms such as 'feelings', 'emotional arousal', and 'mood'. It has been conceptualized as an elemental internal state or process of physiological arousal. The research reviewed indicates that affective arousal influences the process of perception under a wide variety of arousal manipulations and experimental tasks. It should not be surprising that affectivity also influences other cognitive processes such as memory. Given the influence of affect on the cognitive processes of perception and memory, it seems reasonable to assume that affect plays a role in other cognitive processes including causal attribution. For several reasons, the most reasonable option was altering the intensity of affect associated with the effect by making that effect a conditioned stimulus (CS) in a classical conditioning paradigm, using the onset or offset of aversive sound as the unconditioned stimulus (UCS).