Dimensions

There have been several related proposals since the 1950s that have focused on dimensions such as valence and arousal. Osgood's work on the "semantic differential" identified dimensions related to arousal and valence in factors that consistently emerged from ratings of verbal and pictorial mood- and emotion-related stimuli (e.g., Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957). The importance of the arousal component was subsequently highlighted in one of the key early psychological theories of emotion, that of Schachter and Singer (1962), to which we will return later in the chapter. Later theories have divided up the dimensions of valence and arousal somewhat differently. Gray (e.g., 1982, 1999) argued that the arousal system is in fact two separate systems that he labelled the Behavioural Activation System and the Behavioural Inhibition System, with overactivity and/or underactivity in either leading to different emotional consequences (see Power, 2005, for a critique). In contrast, Watson, Clark, and Tellegen (1988) have argued that the valence dimension, which is normally labelled with positive and negative as bipolar opposites (see Figure 3.1), should be divided into two separate orthogonal dimensions one of which is positive and the other of which is negative (see Figure 3.2). This proposal has attracted strong criticism from Russell and Carroll (1999) to the degree that the original authors are at least wavering in their views (Watson & Tellegen, 1999).

Despite the uncertainty over whether or not the valence dimension is defined as bipolar opposites of positive versus negative, or orthogonal dimensions of separate positive and negative affect, the Watson et al. (1988) Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) based on the model continues in widespread use. The scale consists of 20 positive and negative affect-related items (e.g., distressed, excited, upset, guilty), and the respondent has to indicate whether or not the item currently applies. However, at least five of the items in the scale (strong, alert, determined, attentive, and active) are of questionable relevance to emotion or affect, and a further three items (interested, enthusiastic, and inspired) are at best ambiguous in their relevance. The emotions of

3. COGNITIVE THEORIES OF EMOTION ACTIVATION/ AROUSED

Figure 3.1 The dimensional structure of affect 1.

HIGH PA

HIGH PA

Figure 3.2 The dimensional structure of affect 2.

sadness, anger, and disgust are also very poorly represented in the scale, with only two possible items each. In summary, although studies such as these of self-reported emotion and affect have been taken to support the dimensional structure of emotion with most support for two separate dimensions of valence and arousal, there are a number of shortcomings of these studies in relation to measurement problems, an issue that we will return to after we have considered the basic emotions.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Headache Happiness

Headache Happiness

Headache Happiness! Stop Your Headache BEFORE IT STARTS. How To Get Rid Of Your Headache BEFORE It Starts! The pain can be AGONIZING Headaches can stop you from doing all the things you love. Seeing friends, playing with the kids... even trying to watch your favorite television shows. And just think of how unwelcome headaches are while you're trying to work.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment