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January 2022

Social context and the experience of emotion

Author(s): Manstead, A. S. R., Fischer, A. H.

Journal/Book: J Nonverbal Behav. 1996; 20: 233 Spring St, New York, NY 10013-1578. Human Sci Press Inc. 123-142.

Abstract: This study examines the relationship between the social context of events and emotional experience. For each of six emotions four different vignettes were devised. Two of these four events took place in private circumstances and two in public. Furthermore, the sociality of each situation was systematically varied, and subjects were presented with situations framed in one of three social contexts: alone, in the presence of a stranger, or in the presence of a friend. Subjects were asked for self-reports of emotional state, evaluations of pleasantness and loneliness, perceived ability to cope with negative situations, and the likelihood that they would share the emotional experience with another person. Anger was the only emotion that varied as a function of the social context manipulation, and this effect disappeared when evaluations of social context were controlled for. However, for all emotions, the intensity of experience differed between private and public situations, suggesting that sociality and emotionality are related at a more global level.

Note: Article E Jakobs, Univ Amsterdam, Fac Psychol, Dept Social Psychol, Roetersstr 15, 1018 Wb Amsterdam, Netherlands


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