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Emotion. 2018 Jun 11. doi: 10.1037/emo0000450. [Epub ahead of print]

Kama muta: Conceptualizing and measuring the experience often labelled being moved across 19 nations and 15 languages.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo.
2
Investigação e Intervenção Social (CIS-IUL), Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTEIUL).
3
Department of Social Psychology, Universidad del País Vasco.
4
Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University.
5
Department of Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
6
Department of Psychology, Middle East Technical University.
7
Department of Psychology, School of Education, Hubei University.
8
School of Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Studies, University of South Africa.
9
Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University.
10
Department of Psychology, University of Rijeka.
11
Department of Psychology, University of Vienna.
12
Department of Psychology, School of Social Science, Tsinghua University.
13
Institute of Psychology, University of Belgrade.
14
Department of Psychology, Bangalore University.
15
Department of Education and Psychology, The Open University of Israel.
16
Japan International Cooperation Agency, Research Institute.
17
Department of Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest.
18
Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research.
19
Department of Psychology, University of Duisburg-Essen.
20
Department of Social Psychology, Toyo University.
21
Department of Psychology, Fudan University.
22
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles.

Abstract

English-speakers sometimes say that they feel "moved to tears," "emotionally touched," "stirred," or that something "warmed their heart;" other languages use similar passive contact metaphors to refer to an affective state. The authors propose and measure the concept of kama muta to understand experiences often given these and other labels. Do the same experiences evoke the same kama muta emotion across nations and languages? They conducted studies in 19 different countries, 5 continents, 15 languages, with a total of 3,542 participants. They tested the construct while validating a comprehensive scale to measure the appraisals, valence, bodily sensations, motivation, and lexical labels posited to characterize kama muta. The results are congruent with theory and previous findings showing that kama muta is a distinct positive social relational emotion that is evoked by experiencing or observing a sudden intensification of communal sharing. It is commonly accompanied by a warm feeling in the chest, moist eyes or tears, chills or piloerection, feeling choked up or having a lump in the throat, buoyancy, and exhilaration. It motivates affective devotion and moral commitment to communal sharing. Although the authors observed some variations across cultures, these 5 facets of kama muta are highly correlated in every sample, supporting the validity of the construct and the measure. (PsycINFO Database Record.

PMID:
29888936
DOI:
10.1037/emo0000450

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