Perceptual Dimensions Differentiate Emotions

Cavanaugh, Lisa A., Deborah J. MacInnis, and Allen M. Weiss, "Perceptual Dimensions Differentiate Emotions", Cognition and Emotion, Forthcoming

Marshall School of Business Working Paper No. MKT 02.16

36 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2015 Last revised: 12 Apr 2016

See all articles by Lisa A. Cavanaugh

Lisa A. Cavanaugh

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Deborah J. MacInnis

University of Southern California - Marketing Department

Allen M. Weiss

University of Southern California - Marketing Department

Date Written: June 30, 2015

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Cavanaugh, Lisa A. and MacInnis, Deborah J. and Weiss, Allen M., Perceptual Dimensions Differentiate Emotions (June 30, 2015). Cavanaugh, Lisa A., Deborah J. MacInnis, and Allen M. Weiss, "Perceptual Dimensions Differentiate Emotions", Cognition and Emotion, Forthcoming ; Marshall School of Business Working Paper No. MKT 02.16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2624890

Lisa A. Cavanaugh (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Deborah J. MacInnis

University of Southern California - Marketing Department ( email )

Hoffman Hall 701
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1427
United States

Allen M. Weiss

University of Southern California - Marketing Department ( email )

Hoffman Hall 616
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1427
United States

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