Sighing is a common nonverbal everyday behavior thought to signal the experiencing of negative emotions. Prior research from a small-scale study suggests that observed daily expressions of sighing is associated with subclinical depression (Robbins, Mehl, Holleran, & Kasle, 2011). This paper replicates and extends these findings, hypothesizing that individual differences in negative emotionality are associated with frequency of spontaneous sighing. Study 1 (N = 320) documents a strong lay assumption that frequent sighing signals dispositional negative emotionality. Study 2 estimates the actual association between daily sighing, assessed naturalistically using the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), and negative emotionality in a large, diverse, pooled sample (N = 469). Bayesian tests across six measures (neuroticism, depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, loneliness) strongly support the null model. Together, results suggest the common intuition that people who sigh frequently experience more negative emotionality is inaccurate. Assessing whether an individual sighs more (or less) than others cannot be used to infer that they experience more negative emotions.
- Electronically activated recorder
- Mobile sensing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology