This paper explores the phenomenon of meta-emotions. Meta-emotions are emotions people have about their own emotions. We analyze the intentional structure of meta-emotions and show how psychological findings support our account. Acknowledgement of meta-emotions can elucidate a number of important issues in the philosophy of mind and, more specifically, the philosophy and psychology of emotions. Among them are (allegedly) ambivalent or paradoxical emotions, emotional communication, emotional self-regulation, privileged access failure for repressed emotions, and survivor guilt.
The desire to experience emotions is widely considered to be a key motivation for media use, especially for the use of media entertainment. But what exactly do people seek when they seek emotions? What kinds of gratifications do they obtain from the experience of emotions during media use? An overview of research on emotional gratifications shows that emotions can be gratifying in multiple ways – ranging from simple hedonistic gratifications to more complex gratifications such as feeling competent or morally good. (...) An integrative framework is outlined that aims at a more systematic understanding of emotional gratifications and their influence on selective media use. We suggest that different aspects of an emotion's gratification potential are appraised simultaneously, and integrated into a holistic appraisal outcome that can be conceptualized as ‘meta-emotion’. Meta-emotions guide the recipient's intuitive decision to accept, or reject a media offer's invitation to experience emotions. (shrink)