Towards a Validation of Multiple Features in the Assessment of Emotions

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This study extends previous attempts to assess emotion with single adjective descriptors, by examining semantic as well as cognitive, motivational, and intensity features of emotions. The focus was on seven negative emotions common to several emotion typologies: anger, fear, sadness, shame, pity, jealousy, and contempt. For each of these emotions, seven items were generated corresponding to cognitive appraisal about the self, cognitive appraisal about the environment, action tendency, action fantasy, synonym, antonym, and intensity range of the emotion, respectively. A pilot study established that 48 of the 49 items were linked predominantly to the specific emotions as predicted. The main data set comprising 700 subjects' ratings of relatedness between items and emotions was subjected to a series of factor analyses, which revealed that 44 of the 49 items loaded on the emotion constructs as predicted. A final factor analysis of these items uncovered seven factors accounting for 39% of the variance. These emergent factors corresponded to the hypothesized emotion constructs, with the exception of anger and fear, which were somewhat confounded. These findings lay the groundwork for the construction of an instrument to assess emotions multicomponentially.

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