Promotion and Prevention Experiences: Relating Emotions to Nonemotional Motivational States

Authored by: E.Tory Higgins

Handbook of Affect and Social Cognition

Print publication date:  November  2000
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805832174
eBook ISBN: 9781410606181
Adobe ISBN: 9781135670061


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There are a variety of different emotions that people experience. How should differences in emotional experiences be characterized? What psychological variables account for them? To address these questions, it is necessary to divide emotions into a manageable set that researchers agree contains distinct types of experience. The following set of four types of emotions fulfills this requirement: (a) cheerfulness-related emotions, such as “happy,” “elated,” and “joyful”; (b) quiescence-related emotions, such as “calm,” “relaxed,” and “serene”; (c) agitation-related emotions, such as “tense,” “restless,” and “nervous”; and (d) dejection-related emotions, such as “sad,” “gloomy,” and “disappointed.” This set of different types of emotions provides a clear challenge to psychology concerning how best to characterize and account for differences in emotional experiences. I propose that our understanding of the differences among these types of emotional experience would be enhanced by a fuller consideration of the self-regulatory principles and motivational states that underlie them.

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