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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1988 Nov;55(5):695-709.

Emotion in social reflection and comparison situations: intuitive, systematic, and exploratory approaches.

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  • 1Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


We asked 26 subjects to recall and describe social situations in which either a close or a distant other performed better or worse than the self at an activity that was either high or low in relevance to the self. Subjects then rated the extent to which they experienced each of 18 different emotions in each situation. They also rated each situation on a series of dimensions that Smith and Ellsworth (1985) found to be consequential for differentiating emotions. In a series of analyses guided by intuitive hypotheses, the Smith and Ellsworth theoretical approach, and a relatively unconstrained, open-ended exploration of the data, the situations were found to vary with respect to the emotions of pride, jealousy or envy, pride in the other, boredom, and happiness. We discuss the results in terms of their relevance to emotion theories and to the self-evaluation maintenance model of social behavior.

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