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Br J Soc Psychol. 1987 Jun;26 ( Pt 2):127-37.

The dimensions of positive emotions.


This study was designed to investigate the dimensionality of positive emotions and was run in two parts. In part 1, subjects were given a set of 24 different life-situations all of which commonly give rise to positive emotions. They sorted the 24 situations into groups on the basis of whether or not they produced similar emotional responses. In part 2 of the study subjects rated each of the 24 situations on 13 emotion scales. The grouping data obtained in part 1 were submitted to multidimensional scaling (MDS) and returned a four-dimensional solution. Canonical correlations between the four MDS dimensions and the 13 emotion scales revealed that dimension 1 is best explained by 'absorption', dimension 2 by 'potency', dimension 3 by 'altruistic' and dimension 4 by 'spiritual'. These correlations were then married to an interpretation of the situations falling high and low on each of the four dimensions, with the following results. Dimension 1 distinguishes internal or private situations from social situations, dimension 2, achievement from leisure situations, dimension 3, social demands from self-indulgence, and dimension 4, serious from trivial situations. The implications of these findings for the study of emotion are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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