Must interesting things be pleasant? A test of competing appraisal structures.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
Samuel Ashby Turner (Contributor)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Appraisal theories have emerged as a powerful perspective on the elicitation and differentiation of emotional experience (Ellsworth & Scherer, 2003). Given the general acceptance of the appraisal approach, a central task for modern appraisal research is to refine and reconcile the predictions made by appraisal models. The agreement among different appraisal theories is substantial, yet there are cases in which different theories make inconsistent predictions. To date, few studies have directly compared the competing predictions made by different appraisal theories (see Roseman, Spindel, & Jose, 1990). The present research examines two competing appraisal models of the emotion of interest, an emotion associated with curiosity, exploration, and knowledge-seeking (Izard, 1977; Silvia, 2005c, Silvia, 2006; Tomkins, 1962). Smith and Ellsworth (1985) suggest that interest requires an appraisal of high pleasantness (Ellsworth & Smith, 1988a, Ellsworth & Smith, 1988b). A recent appraisal model of interest (Silvia, 2005a, Silvia, 2005c), however, suggests that pleasantness is peripheral to interest—people can be interested in disturbing, unpleasant events. The present research uses in vivo methods (rather than scenario or retrospective methods) to test these competing appraisal structures.

Additional Information

Emotion, 6, 670-674
Language: English
Date: 2006
Appraisal theories, Emotional experience

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