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Emotion - Vol 17, Iss 7

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Emotion Emotion publishes significant contributions to the study of emotion from a wide range of theoretical traditions and research domains. Emotion includes articles that advance knowledge and theory about all aspects of emotional processes, including reports of substantial empirical studies, scholarly reviews, and major theoretical articles.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Being present: Focusing on the present predicts improvements in life satisfaction but not happiness.
    Mindfulness theorists suggest that people spend most of their time focusing on the past or future rather than the present. Despite the prevalence of this assumption, no research that we are aware of has evaluated whether it is true or what the implications of focusing on the present are for subjective well-being. We addressed this issue by using experience sampling to examine how frequently people focus on the present throughout the day over the course of a week and whether focusing on the present predicts improvements in the 2 components of subjective well-being over time—how people feel and how satisfied they are with their lives. Results indicated that participants were present-focused the majority of the time (66%). Moreover, focusing on the present predicted improvements in life satisfaction (but not happiness) over time by reducing negative rumination. These findings advance our understanding of how temporal orientation and well-being relate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Emotion suppression, emotional eating, and eating behavior among parent–adolescent dyads.
    Emotion suppression may lead to ironic increases in emotional experience. More important, suppression is a transactional process, creating stress and disrupting interactions for the suppressor and those in social interactions with individuals who are suppressing emotion. However, no research has examined the behavioral consequences of emotion suppression in close relationships. We examine the possibility that emotion suppression will predict eating behaviors as a secondary emotion regulatory strategy among 1,556 parent–adolescent dyads (N = 3,112), consistent with evidence suggesting that suppression influences eating at the individual-level. Actor-partner interdependence models and structural equation modeling demonstrate that one’s own emotion suppression was associated with emotional eating; greater consumption of hedonic—low nutrient, high energy dense—foods; and lower consumption of fruits and vegetables (actor effects). One’s partner’s emotion suppression was also independently associated with one’s own emotional eating; lower consumption of fruits and vegetables; and greater consumption of hedonic foods (partner effects), although this association was most consistent for adolescents’ suppression and parents’ eating (compared with the converse). These analyses suggest that dyadic emotion regulatory processes have implications on eating behavior. Moreover, analyses suggest that emotion suppression has potential implications on eating behaviors of others within close relationships with a suppressor, consistent with the notion that emotion regulation is a transactional process. These findings suggest that interventions to improve eating habits of parents and their adolescent children should consider dyadic emotion regulatory processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Partner-expected affect: How you feel now is predicted by how your partner thought you felt before.
    Romantic partners can modulate each other’s emotions in many ways, resulting in interwoven emotional lives. Here, building on findings from basic psychological research, we propose a novel way of such interconnectedness, termed partner-expected affect, in which perceptions of a partner’s feelings may positively predict how this partner will actually feel at a later moment in time. We evaluated this hypothesis by means of an experience sampling study in which 100 romantic partners (50 couples) reported on the level of valence and arousal of their own feelings and of the perceived feelings of their partners 10 times a day throughout a week. In line with expectations, we found that how individuals were feeling at a particular moment was positively predicted by how their partner thought they felt at the previous moment (on top of how they felt at the previous moment and how their partner felt at the previous moment), at least when they had interacted with each other in between. This finding identifies a novel potential way in which people may shape each other’s feelings and paves the way to further examine the nature and boundary conditions of such partner-expected affect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Infant differential behavioral responding to discrete emotions.
    Emotional communication regulates the behaviors of social partners. Research on individuals’ responding to others’ emotions typically compares responses to a single negative emotion compared with responses to a neutral or positive emotion. Furthermore, coding of such responses routinely measure surface level features of the behavior (e.g., approach vs. avoidance) rather than its underlying function (e.g., the goal of the approach or avoidant behavior). This investigation examined infants’ responding to others’ emotional displays across 5 discrete emotions: joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust. Specifically, 16-, 19-, and 24-month-old infants observed an adult communicate a discrete emotion toward a stimulus during a naturalistic interaction. Infants’ responses were coded to capture the function of their behaviors (e.g., exploration, prosocial behavior, and security seeking). The results revealed a number of instances indicating that infants use different functional behaviors in response to discrete emotions. Differences in behaviors across emotions were clearest in the 24-month-old infants, though younger infants also demonstrated some differential use of behaviors in response to discrete emotions. This is the first comprehensive study to identify differences in how infants respond with goal-directed behaviors to discrete emotions. Additionally, the inclusion of a function-based coding scheme and interpersonal paradigms may be informative for future emotion research with children and adults. Possible developmental accounts for the observed behaviors and the benefits of coding techniques emphasizing the function of social behavior over their form are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Emotion perception and empathy: An individual differences test of relations.
    Numerous theories posit a positive relation between perceiving emotion expressed in the face of a stranger (emotion perception) and feeling or cognitively understanding the emotion of that person (affective and cognitive empathy, respectively). However, when relating individual differences in emotion perception with individual differences in affective or cognitive empathy, effect sizes are contradictory, but often not significantly different from zero. Based on 4 studies (study ns range from 97 to 486 persons; ntotal = 958) that differ from one another on many design and sample characteristics, applying advanced modeling techniques to control for measurement error, we estimate relations between affective empathy, cognitive empathy, and emotion perception. Relations are tested separately for each of the 6 basic emotions (an emotion-specific model) as well as across all emotions (an emotion-general model). Reflecting the literature, effect sizes and statistical significance with an emotion-general model vary across the individual studies (rs range from −.001 to .24 for emotion perception with affective empathy and −.01 to .39 for emotion perception with cognitive empathy), with a meta-analysis of these results indicating emotion perception is weakly related with affective (r = .13, p = .003) and cognitive empathy (r = .13, p = .05). Relations are not strengthened in an emotion-specific model. We argue that the weak effect sizes and inconsistency across studies reflects a neglected distinction of measurement approach—specifically, empathy is assessed as typical behavior and emotion perception is assessed as maximal effort—and conclude with considerations regarding the measurement of each construct. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Eye fixation patterns for categorizing static and dynamic facial expressions.
    Facial expressions of emotion are dynamic in nature, but most studies on the visual strategies underlying the recognition of facial emotions have used static stimuli. The present study directly compared the visual strategies underlying the recognition of static and dynamic facial expressions using eye tracking and the Bubbles technique. The results revealed different eye fixation patterns with the 2 kinds of stimuli, with fewer fixations on the eye and mouth area during the recognition of dynamic than static expressions. However, these differences in eye fixations were not accompanied by any systematic differences in the facial information that was actually processed to recognize the expressions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Measuring emotional and cognitive empathy using dynamic, naturalistic, and spontaneous emotion displays.
    Most measures of nonverbal receiving ability use posed expressions as stimuli. As empathy measures, such stimuli lack ecological validity, as the participant is not actually experiencing emotion. An alternative approach uses natural and dynamic displays of spontaneous expressions. The Communication of Affect Receiving Ability Test (CARAT) uses as stimuli spontaneous facial expressions and gestures filmed by an unobtrusive camera of solitary participants responding to emotional images. This article reports the development and initial validation of the CARAT–Spontaneous, Posed, Regulated (CARAT-SPR), which measures both abilities to detect emotion from spontaneous displays (emotion communication accuracy) and to differentiate spontaneous, posed, and regulated displays (expression categorization ability). Although spontaneous displays are natural responses to emotional images, posed displays involve asking the sender to display “as if” responding to a particular sort of image when no image is in fact present (simulation), while Regulated displays involve asking the sender to display “as if” responding to a particular sort of image when an image of opposite valence is in fact present (masking). Expression categorization ability involves judging deception—simulation and masking—and conceptually involves a kind of perspective-taking or cognitive empathy. Emotion communication using spontaneous clips achieved a high level of accuracy and was strongly correlated with ratings of sender expressivity. Expression categorization ability was not significantly correlated with expressivity ratings and was modestly negatively correlated with emotion communication accuracy. In a brief version of the CARAT-SPR, women showed evidence of greater emotion signal detection, whereas men reported greater confidence in expression categorization. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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