Sunday, June 9, 2013
Research Methods Used for Uncovering Basic Emotions
Category AnalysisCategory analysis is one research method for uncovering basic emotions. This method is a means to analyze emotions by studying the emotion words meanings (Deckers, 2010). Category analysis assumes that the development of words occurred to describe the emotional experiences of individuals. Deckers (2010), “in other words, the reason for words such as love, hate, sad, happy, afraid, and angry is because each labels a distinctly unique feeling in a particular situation” (p. 317). Therefore, without the experience of these feelings the invention of words that designate emotion would not have occurred. To determine the varying modes or ways individuals express emotions Johnson-Laird and Oatley used their analysis of 590 English words meanings to classify each word into an emotion category, and words with similar meanings classified together (Deckers, 2010). One concern with their analysis was determining if a “word” used to describe a feeling was subjective. Their analysis yielded a result of the categories of five basic emotion, which are happiness, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger. Happiness, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger are words describe basic emotions.
Facial expressions are another research method used for uncover basic emotions. The reasoning related to facial expressions is that basic emotions have facial expressions that correspond with that emotion, such as a frown coincides with sadness. Ekman and Izard assert that “if there is no distinctive facial expression, then the corresponding subjective state should not be considered an emotion facial expression” (as cited in Deckers, 2010, p. 318). Ekman along with Izard made the discovery whereas facial expressions with coinciding emotions were precisely identifiable by individuals of differing cultures worldwide, which led to Ekman’s proposal of the six basic emotions along with the coinciding facial expressions. These six basic emotions that have identifiable facial expressions are surprise, happiness, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger. An assumption of Ekman’s was that emotion intensity and the accompanying facial expression intensity increase simultaneously, therefore the more intense a facial expression is, the more intense an emotional feeling will be.
Lopatovska and Arapakis (2010), “facial expressions, are the result of facial muscle contractions, which induce movements of the facial skin and temporary deformations of the facial features, such as eyebrows, nose, and mouth” (p. 5). For example, an individual usually expresses sadness through his or her eyes, eyebrows, and mouth regions. Ekman asserts that “in sadness, the inner corners of brows are drawn up, skin below the eyebrow is triangulated with the inner corner up, upper eyelid inner corner is raised, corners of lips are down or the lip is trembling” (as cited in Lopatovska & Arapakis, 2010, p. 5). Facial expressions are a channel for emotions associated with the effect of the emotions, and serve as a universal language, which enriches the interactions between humans.
Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Lopatovska, I., & Arapakis, L. (2010, September). Theories, methods and current research on emotions in library and information science, information retrieval and human–computer interaction. Information Processing and Management, (), 1-18.