Stanley Schachter

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Stanley Schachter

Stanley Schachter (April 15, 1922 – June 7, 1997) was an American psychologist.

Schachter proposed the two factor theory of emotion. He said emotions have two ingredients: physiological arousal and a cognitive label. A person's experience of an emotion stems from the mental awareness of the body's physical arousal.

Biographical background[edit]

Schachter was born to Nathan and Anna Schachter in Flushing, New York. His parents were both Romanian Jews, his father from Vasilau a small village in Bukovina and his mother from Radauti.[1] Schachter initially studied Art history at Yale University and then took his Masters in Psychology, when he was influenced by Clark Hull.

Stanley Schachter had a broad curiosity about social behavior. During his career he studied the misattribution of arousal, the causes of overeating and obesity, the physiological basis for nicotine addiction, and the origins of miserliness. In each domain Schachter provided the field with creative, thought-provoking experiments. He won the AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research in 1959 .[2]

In 1946 Schachter went to MIT to work with the German social psychologist Kurt Lewin, in his Research Center for Group Dynamics, studying social issues. Lewin died in 1947, and the research center moved to the University of Michigan, where it became a part of the Institute for Social Research. This was where Schachter gained his Ph.D. in 1949. Schachter's dissertation supervisor was Leon Festinger. With Henry Riecken, they wrote the book When Prophecy Fails (1956), describing what happened to millennial groups after their predicted date for the end of the world had passed.

He joined the Columbia University (New York, N.Y.) faculty as professor of psychology in 1961. He was named Robert Johnston Niven Professor of Social Psychology in 1966 and retired in 1992 with an emeritus designation.

He is survived by his wife, the former Sophia Duckworth. Elijah, their only son, was born in 1969.

Schachter died on June 7, 1997 at his home in East Hampton, New York. His papers are archived at the Bentley Historical Library of the University of Michigan.



Book chapters[edit]

  • Schachter, S. (1964) The interaction of cognitive and physiological determinants of emotional state. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, ed. L. Berkowitz, pp. 49–79. New York: Academic Press.
  • Schachter, S. & Latané, B. (1964). Crime, cognition and the autonomic nervous system. In Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, ed. D. Levine, pp. 221–73. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Schachter, S. (1980). Nonpsychological explanations of behavior. In Retrospective on Social Psychology, ed. L. Festinger, pp. 131–57. New York: Oxford University Press.


  • Schachter, S. (1951) Deviation, rejection and communication. J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 46:190-207.
  • Schachter, S. (1962) With J. Singer. Cognitive, social and physiological determinants of emotional state. Psychol. Rev. 69:379-99.
  • Schachter, S. (1963) Birth order, eminence and higher education. Am. Sociol. Rev. 28:757-68.
  • Schachter, S. (1968). Obesity and eating. Science 161:751-56.
  • Schachter, S. (1971). Some extraordinary facts about obese humans and rats.Am. Psychol. 26:129-44.
  • Schachter, S. (1977). Nicotine regulation in heavy and light smokers. J. Exp. Psychol. 106:5-12.
  • Schachter, S. (1978). Pharmacological and psychological determinants of cigarette smoking. Ann. Intern. Med. 88:104-14.
  • Schachter, S. (1982). Recidivism and self-cure of smoking and obesity. Am. Psychol. 37:436-44.
  • Schachter, S. (1991) With N. J. S. Christenfeld, B. Ravina, and F. R. Bilous. Speech disfluency and the structure of knowledge. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 60:362-67.


  1. ^ Gardner Lindzey (1989), "A History of Psychology in Autobiography, Volume VIII", Stanford University Press. (Page 449)
  2. ^ History & Archives: AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research

Further reading[edit]

Biographies, autobiographies and festschrift
  • Grunberg, N. E., Nisbett, R. E., Rodin, J., and Singer, J. E. (1987). A Distinctive Approach to Psychological Research: The Influence of Stanley Schachter. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. google books
  • G. Lindzey (ed.) A History of Psychology in Autobiography, Vol. VIII (1989). Stanford: Stanford University Press.

External links[edit]