Mental representations of affect knowledge

L. F. Barrett, T. Fossum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The circumplex structure derived from similarity ratings of affect words is assumed to be a conceptual representation of affect anchored in semantic knowledge. Recently, it been suggested that this structure is not based on semantic knowledge at all, but may instead reflect a type of episodic knowledge: The degree to which emotions covary in everyday life. In two experience-sampling studies, we compared the semantic and the episodic hypotheses by comparing participants' similarity ratings to the observed covariations in their own affective experience computed from their momentary reports. In Study 2, participants also provided estimates of the degree to which their emotions covaried. Evidence from both studies indicate that similarity judgements are related both to semantic and episodic information, indicating that a pure episodic account of similarity ratings, and the mental representation of affect that they reflect, is untenable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-363
Number of pages31
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Csonperdoernseohcld ube ardeddtosLissa Feeldmn Barretat at the Dpeat ofrPtmsoyyle, ocngh 427 MinncBiGldingu, Bostoun College, Csnuhtt Hilel MA 0172, 6USA; barretli@du bc.e ManythkstaoMnicelRossh,aJimRssu,PaelauNll tihae,UlrldichSchimmacken ,andRainer Rzen eiforstheiier cnotsmon ermyaldraseof tfhnistmncauptr. Alssio tahsnto Daniekl Scahrcfor te his inut onpthe sencm-teidapc kioinsweodistinctionle.dPrgaeorpn oaf thtis artiicle was fcalitaited by a grant from the Ntioaal ScniecenFnotiodnutoaLisa Feldmn Brarttae(SBR 977268. )9


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