The relationship in experience between various types of affect


Diener, E., & Iran-Nejad, A. (1986). The relationship in experience between various types of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(5), 1031.


Investigated the co-occurrence in experience of various emotions placing the focus on positive vs negative affect. In Study 1, 72 college students read stories designed to produce varying levels of either positive or negative affect and then rated their level of both types of affect. In Study 2, 42 undergraduates rated their feelings during emotional times in everyday life for a period of 6 wks. Results show that emotions of the same hedonic valence (e.g., fear and anger) tend to co-occur. Results also show that positive and negative affect do not occur together at high levels of intensity. It is suggested that these 2 facts about the relation of positive and negative affect are probably responsible for the bipolarity that is often found between them. These findings represent a challenge to those who postulate that there are unrelated discrete emotions and that the terms positive affect and negative affect do not describe meaningful clusters of emotions. Findings suggest that if one type of affect is of low intensity, the other type can be at any level from low to high. Therefore, a truly inverse and linear relation does not characterize positive and negative affect. This finding represents a challenge to most structural models of emotion. It appears that mutual exclusion only at high levels of intensity characterizes the relation between positive and negative affect.

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