In my last post, I laid forth my claim that personality and emotions are interrelated; in this post I want to review the affective literature to come up with the different types of affective phenomenon ranging from emotions to moods to personality traits and see what is common and where they differ
In particular, I read this article titled ‘Psychological theories of emotion’ by Scherer; and apart from providing a broad overview of the dimensional, discrete emotions, meaning based and component theories of emotions, it also does a very good job of defining emotions and differentiating them from other affective phenomenon.
Without further ado, here is how the five major affective phenomenon are described:
- Emotions: relatively brief episodes of synchronized responses by all or most organismic subsystems to the evaluation of an external or internal event, as being of major significance (eg anger, sadness, joy fear , shame etc)
- Mood: diffuse affect state, mots pronounced as changes in subjective feeling , of low intensity, but relatively longer duration, often without apparent cause (eg cheerful, gloomy, irritable, listless , depressed, buoyant)
- Interpersonal stances: Affective stance taken towards another person in a specific interaction, coloring the interpersonal exchange in that situation. (eg. distant, cold, warm supportive , contemptuous)
- Attitudes: relatively enduring, affectively colored beliefs, preferences and predispositions towards objects or persons (eg liking, loving, hating, valuing, desiring)
- Personality Traits: emotionally laden , stable personality dispositions and action tendencies, typical for a person (eg. nervous, anxious, reckless, morose, hostile, envious, jealous)
Note how the above classification also fits the 5 stage model: emotions representing stage 1 , mood stage 2 with stress on subjectivity, Interpersonal stances stress the interpersonal angle in stage 3; while attitudes have more to do with affective and social phenomenon per se in stage 4. ; finally Personality traits is something characteristic of , and defining of, self and properly belongs to stage 5.
Anyway, all said and done, the above classification provides reason not only to differentiate emotions and personality, but by subsuming them under one rubric of affective phenomenon ,also highlighting the similarities and universal features.