Although emotion research and clinical practice often implicitly entail judgments about the patterns and situational appropriateness of a person's emotional reactions, we have little empirical knowledge of how emotions typically interrelate during various affective situations. To assess patterns of response to normative situations, a questionnaire was constructed and validated to include items primarily eliciting one of six emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, depression, and anxiety) and one of three intensities (low, moderate, and high). A total of 216 persons rated one of four forms of the questionnaire on each of the six emotional categories. Each of the six types of situations generated significantly different patterns of emotion. As Izard (1972) predicted, depression situations elicited more complex patterns of emotion than sadness situations, including significantly more anger, fear, and anxiety. In contrast, anxiety situations did not elicit more complex patterns than fear situations. Rather, the evidence was more consistent with the conclusion that fear is a particular type of anxiety. Various other relations among specific emotions are discussed, as well as some subtle sex differences and intensity effects. The data highlight the sensitivity with which the assessment of patterns of emotions associated with specific situations can produce new information about the nature of affective experience.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology