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Psychol Sci. 2007 Dec;18(12):1050-7.

The world of emotions is not two-dimensional.

Author information

1
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. johnny.fontaine@ugent.be

Abstract

For more than half a century, emotion researchers have attempted to establish the dimensional space that most economically accounts for similarities and differences in emotional experience. Today, many researchers focus exclusively on two-dimensional models involving valence and arousal. Adopting a theoretically based approach, we show for three languages that four dimensions are needed to satisfactorily represent similarities and differences in the meaning of emotion words. In order of importance, these dimensions are evaluation-pleasantness, potency-control, activation-arousal, and unpredictability. They were identified on the basis of the applicability of 144 features representing the six components of emotions: (a) appraisals of events, (b) psychophysiological changes, (c) motor expressions, (d) action tendencies, (e) subjective experiences, and (f) emotion regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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