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Emotion. 2012 Dec;12(6):1320-8. doi: 10.1037/a0028262. Epub 2012 May 28.

The dynamic interplay between emotions in daily life: augmentation, blunting, and the role of appraisal overlap.

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Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Our emotions don't have lives of their own, but mutually influence each other across time. Augmentation and blunting occur when experience of a current emotion increases or decreases the experience of another, subsequent emotion, and play a role in many everyday phenomena. In this study, we investigated patterns of augmentation and blunting between the experience of anger, sadness, relaxation, and happiness in daily life. In general, emotions with similar (opposite) valence showed augmentation (blunting) from one moment to the next. In search for a possible underlying mechanism, we showed that strength of augmentation and blunting was a function of degree of idiosyncratic appraisal overlap between two emotional states. This occurred even to the point that emotions with similar valence blunted one another in cases of small overlap, and emotions with opposite valence augmented one another in cases of large overlap. The findings reveal the dynamic interplay between different emotions across time, and highlight the role of appraisal overlap therein.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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