I describe my current thinking on two old questions—the causal role of appraisals and the relationship of appraisal theories to basic emotions theories and constructivist theories, and three (sort of) new questions—the completeness of appraisals, the role of language, and the development of automaticity in emotional responses.
Researchers are concerned about whether manipulations have the intended effects. Many journals and reviewers view manipulation checks favorably, and they are widely reported in prestigious journals. However, the prototypical manipulation check is a verbal (rather than behavioral) measure that always appears at the same point in the procedure (rather than its order being varied to assess order effects). Embedding such manipulation checks within an experiment comes with problems. While we conceptualize manipulation checks as measures, they can also act as interventions (...) which initiate new processes that would otherwise not occur. The default assumption that manipulation checks do not affect experimental conclusions is unwarranted. They may amplify, undo, or interact with the effects of a manipulation. Further, the use of manipulation checks in mediational analyses does not rule out confounding variables, as any unmeasured variables that correlate with the manipulation check may still drive the relationship. Alternatives such as nonverbal and behavioral measures as manipulation checks and pilot testing are less problematic. Reviewers should view manipulation checks more critically, and authors should explore alternative methods to ensure the effectiveness of manipulations. (shrink)
This article provides a brief introduction to psychological emotion theories, particularly appraisal theory. According to appraisal theory emotions are combinations of a person’s appraisal of the novelty, valence, certainty, goal conduciveness, causal agency, controllability, and morality of a situation. These dimensions correspond to elements of the stories attorneys attempt to create in arguing a case. Appraisal theory puts specific content into the vague concept of reappraisal, accounting for emotional changes that go beyond the changes in valence and intensity generally studied (...) by law and emotions scholars. (shrink)
This article describes James’s distaste for taxonomic classification of emotion and argues that he would not have been pleased by current scholarship which still focuses on the definition and classification of discrete emotions, distracting scholars from more fundamental underlying processes. I argue that as in James’s time, current taxonomies are still arbitrary and still constrain the kinds of questions psychologists ask.
Although robust sex differences are abundant in men and women’s mating psychology, there is a considerable degree of overlap between the two as well. In an effort to understand where and when this overlap exists, the current study provides an exploration of within-sex variation in women’s mate preferences. We hypothesized that women’s intelligence, given an environment where women can use that intelligence to attain educational and career opportunities, would be: (1) positively related to their willingness to engage in short-term sexual (...) relationships, (2) negatively related to their desire for qualities in a partner that indicated wealth and status, and (3) negatively related to their endorsement of traditional gender roles in romantic relationships. These predictions were supported. Results suggest that intelligence may be one important individual difference influencing women’s mate preferences. (shrink)
The comments by Brosch and Sander, de Sousa, Frijda, Kuppens, and Parkinson admirably complement the four main articles, adding layers of complexity, but perhaps at the expense of theoretical parsimony and stringency. Their suggestions are inspiring and heuristic, but we must not forget that science is about testing concrete predictions.
William James was not a basic emotion theorist in that he did not propose a list of basic emotions or concern himself with the question of which emotions were really basic. He may have believed that some emotions evolved earlier and spread more widely than others; whether this makes him a basic emotion theorist is a matter of taste.