Critiquing Models of Emotions

Herman Smith and Andreas Schneider Critiquing Models of Emotions  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 560-589.

This article provides the first systematic empirical examination of four major genres of theories concerning the nature and rise of the corpus of human emotions with more than 2,000 statisticaltests of five hypotheses. The distinction between evolutionary-universal and other “secondary” emotions is empirically uninformative for all five cultures. Next, the emotion-wheel theory of Plutchikreceives no empirical support. All palette theories fail four empirical tests. More than 90 empirical tests fail to support Kemper and Turner in assuming that many secondary emotions arise through complex combinations of primary emotions due to socialization. The Johnson-Laird and Oatley hypothesis of five universal clusters of emotions is also tested and rejected. Researchers need torethink the heuristic value of dichotomizing and lumping emotions in categories such as universal, primary, basic, secondary, tertiary, and so forth. There are clear empirical advantages to differentiating between emotions with three dimensions rather than two dimensions.

Key Words: emotions • primary • secondary • cross-cultural


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