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APA Journal: Emotion

Cross-cultural similarities and differences in the experience of awe.Open in a New Window

Current research on awe is limited to Western cultures. Thus, whether the measurement, frequency, and consequences of awe will replicate across non-Western cultures remains unanswered. To address this gap, we validated the dispositional awe scale (Shiota, Keltner, & John, 2006) in 4 countries (United States, Iran, Malaysia, and Poland; N = 1,173) with extensive variations in cultural values (i.e., power distance) and personality profiles (i.e., extraversion and openness). Multigroup factor analyses demonstrated that, across all cultures, a 3-factor model that treats awe, amusement, and pride as 3 unique emotions is superior to a single-factor model that clusters all 3 emotions together. Structurally, the scales of awe, amusement and pride were invariant across all countries. Furthermore, we found significant country-level differences in dispositional awe, with the largest discrepancy between the United States and Iran (d = 0.79); these differences are not likely due to cultural response biases. Results are discussed in terms of possible explanations for country-level differences and suggestions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Children’s emotion understanding and mother–child attachment: A meta-analysis.Open in a New Window

Understanding emotions serves as a critical foundation for several aspects of children’s social development. Secure attachment relationships, which allow for open emotion communication between the parent and child, are hypothesized to foster emotion understanding. The goal of the current meta-analysis was to determine the strength of the relationship between emotion understanding and attachment security. We conducted an electronic search using PsycINFO and identified 10 studies (N = 564 children) examining this association in children younger than 18 years of age. The meta-analysis yielded a medium and significant overall effect size of r = .33 with no significant moderators. Thus, our results demonstrated that the association between emotion understanding and security of attachment is quite robust. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Are empathy and concern psychologically distinct?Open in a New Window

Researchers have long been interested in the relationship between feeling what you believe others feel—often described as empathy—and caring about the welfare of others—often described as compassion or concern. Many propose that empathy is a prerequisite for concern and is therefore the ultimate motivator of prosocial actions. To assess this hypothesis, the authors developed the Empathy Index, which consists of 2 novel scales, and explored their relationship to a measure of concern as well as to measures of cooperative and altruistic behavior. A series of factor analyses reveal that empathy and concern consistently load on different factors. Furthermore, they show that empathy and concern motivate different behaviors: concern for others is a uniquely positive predictor of prosocial action whereas empathy is either not predictive or negatively predictive of prosocial actions. Together these studies suggest that empathy and concern are psychologically distinct and empathy plays a more limited role in our moral lives than many believe. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Positivity bias in judging ingroup members’ emotional expressions.Open in a New Window

We investigated how group membership impacts valence judgments of ingroup and outgroup members’ emotional expressions. In Experiment 1, participants, randomized into 2 novel, competitive groups, rated the valence of in- and outgroup members’ facial expressions (e.g., fearful, happy, neutral) using a circumplex affect grid. Across all emotions, participants judged ingroup members’ expressions as more positive than outgroup members’ expressions. In Experiment 2, participants categorized fearful and happy expressions as being either positive or negative using a mouse-tracking paradigm. Participants exhibited the most direct trajectories toward the “positive” label for ingroup happy expressions and an initial attraction toward positive for ingroup expressions of fear, with outgroup emotion trajectories falling in between. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 2 and demonstrated that the effect could not be accounted for by targets’ gaze direction. Overall, people judged ingroup faces as more positive, regardless of emotion, both in deliberate and implicit judgments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Cultivating gratitude and giving through experiential consumption.Open in a New Window

Gratitude promotes well-being and prompts prosocial behavior. Here, we examine a novel way to cultivate this beneficial emotion. We demonstrate that 2 different types of consumption—material consumption (buying for the sake of having) and experiential consumption (buying for the sake of doing)—differentially foster gratitude and giving. In 6 studies we show that reflecting on experiential purchases (e.g., travel, meals out, tickets to events) inspires more gratitude than reflecting on material purchases (e.g., clothing, jewelry, furniture), and that thinking about experiences leads to more subsequent altruistic behavior than thinking about possessions. In Studies 1-2b, we use within-subject and between-subjects designs to test our main hypothesis: that people are more grateful for what they’ve done than what they have. Study 3 finds evidence for this effect in the real-world setting of online customer reviews: Consumers are more likely to spontaneously mention feeling grateful for experiences they have bought than for material goods they have bought. In our final 2 studies, we show that experiential consumption also makes people more likely to be generous to others. Participants who contemplated a significant experiential purchase behaved more generously toward anonymous others in an economic game than those who contemplated a significant material purchase. It thus appears that shifting spending toward experiential consumption can improve people’s everyday lives as well as the lives of those around them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Positive affect, social connectedness, and healthy biomarkers in Japan and the U.S.Open in a New Window

Previous studies have shown that positive affect (PA) and social connectedness predict better health in the United States (U.S.). However, the relevance of such findings for other cultural contexts has been largely ignored. The present study investigated the interplay of PA, social connectedness, and health using large probability samples of Japanese and U.S. adults. Health was measured objectively with biomarkers that represent well-functioning physiological systems: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate). Lower levels of both biomarkers (i.e., less healthy biomarker profile) were found among those in Japan who reported high PA in combination with low social connectedness. In the U.S., the general pattern was that those with greater PA showed healthier HDL levels regardless of social connectedness. The findings highlight cultural variations in the health implications of how PA and social connectedness come together. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Authentic and hubristic pride: Differential effects on delay of gratification.Open in a New Window

Research demonstrates that there are 2 distinct facets of pride: the prosocial, achievement-oriented form of pride known as authentic pride, and the self-aggrandizing, egotistical form of pride known as hubristic pride. This research examined whether authentic pride and hubristic pride have divergent effects on delay of gratification. Support was found for the prediction that authentic pride would facilitate the ability to delay gratification, whereas hubristic pride would undermine it. Also, self-transcendent value affirmation was demonstrated to moderate the effects of pride on delayed gratification. Specifically, when people feeling hubristic pride had an opportunity to affirm a self-transcendent value that was important to them, their tendency to seek immediate gratification was attenuated. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Eye movements are captured by a perceptually simple conditioned stimulus in the absence of explicit contingency knowledge.Open in a New Window

Past reports suggest that threatening materials can impact the efficiency of goal-directed behavior. However, questions remain about whether a conditional stimulus (CS) can capture attention as previous results may have been influenced by voluntary prioritization of a to-be-ignored CS. In 2 experiments, eye tracking was used to evaluate whether neutral, perceptually simple materials capture attention when they take on aversive properties via probabilistic fear conditioning with strict methods in place to eliminate voluntary CS prioritization. During training, participants attempted to fixate search targets (i.e., horizontally or vertically oriented rectangles) as quickly as possible to avoid shock. In reality, shock administration was related to rectangle orientation so that 1 rectangle (CS+) predicted shock more often than the other (CS−). Subsequently rectangles became distractors and were to be ignored. At this point, participants were instructed to fixate a new target and incidences of CS capture were examined. Results showed that saccades were made more quickly to the CS+ than the CS− as training progressed, and that oculomotor capture by irrelevant rectangles occurred more often for the CS+ than the CS−. An independent physiological index (skin conductance response) confirmed that contingencies had been learned, as SCR magnitude was greater for CS+ than CS− trials early in the test phase. These effects were documented despite the absence of explicit contingency knowledge, assessed using a postexperimental questionnaire. Collectively, these outcomes indicate that a CS can capture attention despite being task-irrelevant, and that these effects do not depend on conscious awareness of learned contingencies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Ideological reactivity: Political conservatism and brain responsivity to emotional and neutral stimuli.Open in a New Window

Conservatives are often thought to have a negativity bias—responding more intensely to negative than positive information. Yet, recent research has found that greater endorsement of conservative beliefs follows from both positive and negative emotion inductions. This suggests that the role of affect in political thought may not be restricted to negative valence, and more attention should be given to how conservatives and liberals respond to a wider range of stimulation. In this vein, we examined neural responses to a full range of affective stimuli, allowing us to examine how self-reported ideology moderated these responses. Specifically, we explored the relationship between political orientation and 2 event-related potentials (1 late and 1 early) previously shown to covary with the subjective motivational salience of stimuli—in response to photographs with standardized ratings of arousal and valence. At late time points, conservatives exhibited sustained heightened reactivity, compared with liberals, specifically in response to relatively unarousing and neutral stimuli. At early time points, conservatives exhibited somewhat enhanced neural activity in response to all stimulus types compared with liberals. These results may suggest that conservatives experience a wide variety of stimuli in their environment with increased motivational salience, including positive, neutral, and low-arousal stimuli. No effects of valence were found in this investigation. Such findings have implications for the development and refinement of psychological conceptions of political orientation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


"Incidental fear cues increase monetary loss aversion": Correction to Schulreich, Gerhardt, and Heekeren (2016).Open in a New Window

Reports an error in "Incidental fear cues increase monetary loss aversion" by Stefan Schulreich, Holger Gerhardt and Hauke R. Heekeren (Emotion, 2016[Apr], Vol 16[3], 402-412). In the current article, there was an error in the Study 2 portion of the article. The fourth paragraph of the Results section should read as follows: Performing the same analyses as in Study 1, we found an effect of incidental fear cues on decision behavior. Participants accepted fewer gambles in the fearful-face condition (32.77%) than in the neutral-face condition (33.96%), with Z = -2.187, p = .027, d = -0.998 in the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test and β = 0.012, SE = 0.0053, F(1, 21) = 4.434, p = .047, partial η² = .174 in the linear regression. This suggests increased risk aversion in the fearful-face condition. Concerning personality, however, there were no significant between-subjects effects or between–within interaction effects (all ps = .349). (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2015-52358-001.) In many everyday decisions, people exhibit loss aversion—a greater sensitivity to losses relative to gains of equal size. Loss aversion is thought to be (at least partly) mediated by emotional—in particular, fear-related—processes. Decision research has shown that even incidental emotions, which are unrelated to the decision at hand, can influence decision making. The effect of incidental fear on loss aversion, however, is thus far unclear. In two studies, we experimentally investigated how incidental fear cues, presented during (Study 1) or before (Study 2) choices to accept or reject mixed gambles over real monetary stakes, influence monetary loss aversion. We find that the presentation of fearful faces, relative to the presentation of neutral faces, increased risk aversion—an effect that could be attributed to increased loss aversion. The size of this effect was moderated by psychopathic personality: Fearless dominance, in particular its interpersonal facet, but not self-centered impulsivity, attenuated the effect of incidental fear cues on loss aversion, consistent with reduced fear reactivity. Together, these results highlight the sensitivity of loss aversion to the affective context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Recognition thresholds for static and dynamic emotional faces.Open in a New Window

We investigated the minimum expressive intensity that is required to recognize (above chance) static and dynamic facial expressions of happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, and surprise. To this end, we varied the degree of intensity of emotional expressions unfolding from a neutral face, by means of graphics morphing software. The resulting face stimuli (photographs and short videos) were presented in an expression categorization task for 1 s each, and measures of sensitivity or discrimination (A′) were collected to establish thresholds. A number of physical, perceptual, categorical, and affective controls were performed. All six basic emotions were reliably recognized above chance level from low intensities, although recognition thresholds varied for different expressions: 20% of intensity, for happiness; 40%, for sadness, surprise, anger, and disgust; and 50%, for fear. The advantage of happy faces may be due to their greater physical change in facial features (as shown by automated facial expression measurement), also at low levels of intensity, relative to neutral faces. Recognition thresholds and the pattern of confusions across expressions were, nevertheless, equivalent for dynamic and static expressions, although dynamic expressions were recognized more accurately and faster. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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