Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background and Objectives: Emotion words are mostly characterized along the classic dimensions of arousal and valence. In the current study we sought to complement this characterization by investigating the frequency of emotions in human everyday commu-nication, which may be crucial information for designing new diagnostic or intervention tools to test and improve emotion recognition. Methods: One hundred healthy German individuals were asked to indicate the valence and arousal of 62 emotion words in a ques-tionnaire. Importantly, participants were additionally asked to indicate the frequency with which they experience each emotion themselves and observe it in others. Results: Pos-itive emotions were judged to occur more often than negative emotions in everyday life. The more negatively valenced emotions were rated to be observed more often in others than experienced in one-self. On the other hand more positively valenced emotions were experienced more often in one-self than they were observed in others. Finally, increasing age was associated with a decrease in the frequency of observing an emotion in other people. Limitations: Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to ascertain if the findings also apply to other cultural and language contexts. Conclusion:These results imply a greater frequency of positive emotions than negative emotions in everyday com-munication.The finding of such a bias toward positive emotions can guide the selection of emotion words for implementation in socio-emotional intervention tools. Such a selection may represent an effective means for improving social-cognitive functioning in people with respective impairments. © 2011 Hepach, Kliemann, Grüneisen, Heekeren and Dziobek.

Original publication




Journal article


Frontiers in Psychology

Publication Date