Erbas, Y., Ceuelmans, E., Koval, P. & Kuppens, P. (2015). The role of valence focus and appraisal overlap in emotion differentiation. Emotion,15(3), 373-382. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000039
Emotion differentiation refers to the level of specificity with which people distinguish between their emotional states and is considered to play an important role for psychological well-being. Yet, not much is known about what characterizes people high or low in emotion differentiation and what underlies these differences. In 2 studies involving experience sampling (Studies 1–2) and lab based (Study 2) methods, we investigated how emotion differentiation is related to individual differences in valence focus and the overlap in appraisal patterns between emotions. In line with expectations, results showed that high levels of both positive and negative emotion differentiation are related to lower levels of valence focus and lower levels of appraisal overlap between emotions. These findings suggest that individuals who are low in emotion differentiation mainly emphasize the valence aspect of emotions while individuals who are high in emotion differentiation make stronger distinctions between emotions in terms of their underlying appraisal profiles.
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