Article

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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