How do Americans understand the meanings of terms for feelings?
Anthropology 244 - Fall 03
Project 2 Results
Below are the 350 terms of the American Feeling Term Survey rank ordered by their placement on each of the six scales.
Bad to Good
Tired to Energized
Never to Always Other Person
Never to Always Unexpected Has Happened
Never to Always Exert Effort
Never to Always Not in Control
The amount of disagreement on the scale is reflected in the standard deviation of the scores. As can be seen below, the disagrement on the scales increased with each successive scale. This could be because the later scales are more difficult to interpret than the earlier ones (they go from easy to hard) or the informants became increasingly tired with each successive scale.
The was a strong tendency to regard positive emotions as more energizing than negative ones. This produced a positive correlation of the good-bad scale and the tired-energized scale. (This also means that the ratings did not produce the circumplex structure we would have expected.)
The unexpectedness scale and the lack of control scale were also positively correlated, although not as strongly.
The agency scale and the effort scale were essentially uncorrelated.
The major dimensions of the expected circumplex space did show up in the categorization of emotions, although there was much more spread on the arousal dimension among the negative emotions than among the positive ones. (Perhaps if we had added delight and serenity as possible emotion categories, the picture would have been more balanced on both sides.
The feeling terms follow the same pattern through the space.
It is possible to see which terms are where by consulting the Emotion Categories Table.