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Measuring emotions in an intergroup context and beyond. Dr Roger Giner-Sorolla Department of Psychology. Presentation given at the Research Methods Festival, July 2008, Oxford, UK. Emotion research is interdisciplinary.

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measuring emotions in an intergroup context and beyond

Measuring emotions in an intergroup context and beyond

Dr Roger Giner-Sorolla

Department of Psychology

Presentation given at the Research Methods Festival, July 2008, Oxford, UK

emotion research is interdisciplinary
Emotion research is interdisciplinary
  • ISRE organization has members from psychology, sociology, anthropology, humanities, history …
  • “Affective revolutions” in economics, computing, law, art education …
  • Emotions are interesting and important
only one small question
Only one small question

What is an emotion?

emotion is a language culture category wierzbicka
“Emotion” is a language/culture category (Wierzbicka)

Other cultures (e.g., Ifaluk, studied by Lutz) divide mental phenomena in different ways

Even across the Channel … “emotion” vs. “sentiment” not observed in English

how does western english speaking culture characterize emotion
How does Western English-speaking culture characterize emotion?

Depends … lay or scientific definition?

Compact OED

Emotion • noun1 a strong feeling, such as joy or anger. 2 instinctive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.

Psychology: over 50 definitions of emotion …

what is a cat
What is a cat?

4 legs,

has fur,

has tail …

what is an emotion
What is an emotion?
  • Like a cat, different modules or traits
  • Unlike a cat, no scientific consensus on which is the defining set of traits
what is not an emotion
What is not an emotion?
  • Even here there is controversy between lay and different scientific definitions
emotion vs attitude evaluation
Emotion vs. attitude/evaluation
  • Emotions have specificity beyond positive or negative valence (fear vs. shame vs. anger vs. sadness)
emotion vs mood
Emotion vs. mood
  • One scientific view: Emotions are responses to specific situations, unlike moods which are diffuse
  • BUT: Emotional feelings are not always identified with their source; can have carry-over effects; can be associated with objects (even irrationally)
emotion vs belief
Emotion vs. belief
  • Emotions are not propositional, although they can be expressed in propositional language – “I am angry”; “This place is disgusting”
  • Beliefs can influence emotions (appraisal view); emotions can also influence beliefs (e.g. intuitive prosecutor research)
emotion vs motivation
Emotion vs. motivation
  • View 1: Emotion is motivation

Emotion -> behaviour

(Lazarus; Scherer; Frijda’s action tendencies)

  • View 2: Emotion is a report on motivation

Motive -> Behaviour -> success/failure -> emotion

(Buck; Carver & Scheier)

specific emotion vs core affect
Specific emotion vs. core affect

Russell & Barrett’s model

Is everything else besides core affect just language?

what is an emotion traits
What is an emotion? Traits
  • Feelings: subjective experience

Impossible to measure directly

  • Language: terms describing subjective experience (or the other things below!)
  • Emotion concepts (tied to language or not?)
  • Facial expressions
  • Physiological changes: central nervous system, peripheral nervous system
  • Effects on thought, judgment, behaviour
  • Dependency on perception, interpretation of environment
methods of emotion measurement
Methods of emotion measurement
  • Verbal self-report
  • Pictorial self-report
  • Interjections?
  • Facial expression coding
  • Physiological measures
  • Neurological measures
  • Implicit measures
methods of emotion manipulation
Methods of emotion manipulation
  • Imagined scenarios
  • Recalled scenarios
  • Emotion priming: words, faces…
  • Environmental aspects
  • Social induction
  • Social contagion
  • Physiological induction
pitfalls of emotion measurement and manipulation
Pitfalls of emotion measurement and manipulation
  • Language and emotion terms
  • Ambiguities in physiology
  • Context and referents
  • Emotion concept vs. emotion feeling
  • Emotion experience vs. emotion communication
  • Confounds in emotion manipulation
  • Limits of emotion manipulation
traps of language
Traps of language
  • Specific languages
    • English: “anger”; “disgust”
  • Implicit assumptions in language
    • English: “irritable”; “disgusting”
intergroup emotions an example
Intergroup emotions: an example
  • Anger, fear, and action tendencies