Perceptual Dimensions Differentiate Emotions
Cavanaugh, Lisa A., Deborah J. MacInnis, and Allen M. Weiss, "Perceptual Dimensions Differentiate Emotions", Cognition and Emotion, Forthcoming
36 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2015 Last revised: 12 Apr 2016
Date Written: June 30, 2015
Individuals often describe objects in their world in terms of perceptual dimensions that span a variety of modalities; the visual (e.g., brightness: dark-bright), the auditory (e.g., loudness: quiet-loud), the gustatory (e.g., taste; sour-sweet), the tactile (e.g., hardness: soft vs. hard) and the kinesthetic (e.g., speed: slow-fast). We ask whether individuals use perceptual dimensions to differentiate emotions from one another. Participants in two studies (one where respondents reported on abstract emotion concepts and a second where they reported on specific emotion episodes) rated the extent to which features anchoring 29 perceptual dimensions (e.g., temperature, texture, taste) are associated with eight emotions (anger, fear, sadness, guilt, contentment, gratitude, pride and excitement). Results revealed that in both studies perceptual dimensions differentiate positive from negative emotions and high arousal from low arousal emotions. They also differentiate among emotions that are similar in arousal and valence (e.g., high arousal negative emotions such as anger and fear). Specific features that anchor particular perceptual dimensions (e.g., hot vs. cold) are also differentially associated with emotions.
Keywords: emotions, perception, perceptual dimensions
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