Constructing Emotion The Experience of Fear as a Conceptual Act

Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA.
Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.43). 10/2008; 19(9):898-903. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02174.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the hypothesis that emotion is a psychological event constructed from the more basic elements of core affect and conceptual knowledge. Participants were primed with conceptual knowledge of fear, conceptual knowledge of anger, or a neutral prime and then proceeded through an affect-induction procedure designed to induce unpleasant, high-arousal affect or a neutral affective state. As predicted, only those individuals for whom conceptual knowledge of fear had been primed experienced unpleasant core affect as evidence that the world was threatening. This study provides the first experimental support for the hypothesis that people experience world-focused emotion when they conceptualize their core affective state using accessible knowledge about emotion.

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Available from: Kristen A Lindquist, Aug 20, 2015
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    • "In some studies, participants imagine hypothetical or real situations while listening to music to elicit the desired affective state. MCI has successfully induced affect to study memory (e.g., Eich et al., 1994) and the psychological construction of emotion (Lindquist and Barrett, 2008). In another variation, participants recall and relive memories of affectively significant past events to generate a change in their affective state (Goodwin and Williams, 1982). "
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    • "According to the Conceptual Act Theory of Emotion, emotions are products of the process of categorization (Barrett 2006), and the two main components of emotional experience are core affect, and conceptual knowledge about emotions (Lindquist and Barrett 2008). Core affect can be defined as ―a neurological state that is consciously accessible as a simple, nonreflective feeling that is an integral blend of hedonic (pleasuredispleasure ) and arousal (sleepy-activated) values‖ (Russell 2003: 147). "
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    • "The arousal reappraisal perspective seeks to change the conceptualization of stress by informing individuals that arousal can be thought of as a resource that can enhance performance (cf. Barrett, 2006b; Lindquist & Barrett, 2008; Lindquist, Wager, Kober, Bliss-Moreau, & Barrett, 2011). That is, it seeks to promote approach-oriented patterns of responding while maintaining stress arousal necessary for optimal performance. "
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