Cognitive Mediational Theory

Cognitive mediational theory was proposed by American psychologist Richard Lazarus (1922-2002). This theory attempts to explain the relationship between cognition, emotion, and stress and focuses on the role of "appraisal". Appraisal is the tendency of the human mind to make automatic and unconscious assessments of not only a situation, but also what that situation means to them. When an individual perceives a stimulus cognitive properties elicit arousal and emotion which are associated with that stimulus. The cognitive appraisal of the stimulus is what causes future emotional responses like stress or fear to be associated with the stimulus.

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