Publications by authors named "Dacher Keltner"

104 Publications

Awe, daily stress, and elevated life satisfaction.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2021 Apr;120(4):837-860

Department of Psychology.

It is widely assumed that experiences of awe transform the meaning of daily stresses. Across six studies we tested whether and how the experience of awe is associated with reduced daily stress levels in the moment and, in so doing, leads to elevated life satisfaction. We first documented that individuals who tend to experience greater awe on a daily basis (Study 1) or who report higher levels of trait-like awe (Study 2) report lower levels of daily stress, even after controlling for other positive emotions. In follow-up experiments, after primed with awe (compared with amusement, joy, and pride), individuals reported lower levels of daily stress (Studies 3 and 5) and exhibited lower levels of sympathetic autonomic arousal when talking about their daily stresses (Study 4). Finally, in a naturalistic study, participants who took in an awe-inspiring view at the top of a 200-foot tower reported reduced levels of daily stress and central everyday concerns (Study 6). Mediation analyses revealed that (a) the association between awe and reduced daily stress can be explained by an appraisal of vastness vis-à-vis the self and (b) that the relationship between awe and decreased daily stress levels helps explain awe's positive influence upon life satisfaction. Overall, these findings suggest that experiencing awe can put daily stressors into perspective in the moment and, in so doing, increase well-being. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000267DOI Listing
April 2021

The relationship of socioeconomic status in childhood and adulthood with compassion: A study with a prospective 32-year follow-up.

PLoS One 2021 24;16(3):e0248226. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Research Unit of Psychology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.

The objective of this study was to investigate (i) whether childhood family SES predicts offspring's compassion between ages 20-50 years and (ii) whether adulthood SES predicts compassion or vice versa. We used the prospective population-based Young Finns data (N = 637-2300). Childhood family SES was evaluated in 1980; participants' adulthood SES in 2001 and 2011; and compassion for others in 1997, 2001, and 2012. Compassion for others was evaluated with the Compassion scale of the Temperament and Character Inventory. The results showed that high childhood family SES (a composite score of educational level, occupational status, unemployment status, and level of income) predicted offspring's higher compassion between ages 30-40 years but not in early adulthood or middle age. These results were obtained independently of a variety of potential confounders (disruptive behavior in childhood; parental mental disorder; frequency of parental alcohol use and alcohol intoxication). Moreover, high compassion for others in adulthood (a composite score of educational level, occupational status, and unemployment status) predicted higher adulthood SES later in their life (after a 10-year follow-up), but not vice versa. In conclusion, favorable socioeconomic environment in childhood appears to have a positive effect on offspring's compassion in their middle adulthood. This effect may attenuate by middle age. High compassion for others seems to promote the achievement of higher SES in adulthood.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0248226PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7990193PMC
March 2021

Semantic Space Theory: A Computational Approach to Emotion.

Trends Cogn Sci 2021 02 18;25(2):124-136. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 2121 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA.

Within affective science, the central line of inquiry, animated by basic emotion theory and constructivist accounts, has been the search for one-to-one mappings between six emotions and their subjective experiences, prototypical expressions, and underlying brain states. We offer an alternative perspective: semantic space theory. This computational approach uses wide-ranging naturalistic stimuli and open-ended statistical techniques to capture systematic variation in emotion-related behaviors. Upwards of 25 distinct varieties of emotional experience have distinct profiles of associated antecedents and expressions. These emotions are high-dimensional, categorical, and often blended. This approach also reveals that specific emotions, more than valence, organize emotional experience, expression, and neural processing. Overall, moving beyond traditional models to study broader semantic spaces of emotion can enrich our understanding of human experience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2020.11.004DOI Listing
February 2021

Sixteen facial expressions occur in similar contexts worldwide.

Nature 2021 01 16;589(7841):251-257. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

Google Research, Venice, CA, USA.

Understanding the degree to which human facial expressions co-vary with specific social contexts across cultures is central to the theory that emotions enable adaptive responses to important challenges and opportunities. Concrete evidence linking social context to specific facial expressions is sparse and is largely based on survey-based approaches, which are often constrained by language and small sample sizes. Here, by applying machine-learning methods to real-world, dynamic behaviour, we ascertain whether naturalistic social contexts (for example, weddings or sporting competitions) are associated with specific facial expressions across different cultures. In two experiments using deep neural networks, we examined the extent to which 16 types of facial expression occurred systematically in thousands of contexts in 6 million videos from 144 countries. We found that each kind of facial expression had distinct associations with a set of contexts that were 70% preserved across 12 world regions. Consistent with these associations, regions varied in how frequently different facial expressions were produced as a function of which contexts were most salient. Our results reveal fine-grained patterns in human facial expressions that are preserved across the modern world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-3037-7DOI Listing
January 2021

Is Touch in Romantic Relationships Universally Beneficial for Psychological Well-Being? The Role of Attachment Avoidance.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2020 Dec 7:146167220977709. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Affectionate touch is crucial for well-being. However, attachment avoidance is associated with negative attitudes toward touch. We tested two preregistered hypotheses about how attachment avoidance influences the association between touch in romantic couples and psychological well-being. We examined whether greater attachment avoidance is associated with a reduced link between touch and well-being, and/or whether reduced touch mediates the relationship between attachment avoidance and lower well-being. Across three studies, including two dyadic ones, we measured retrospective self-reports (Studies 1 and 2), laboratory observations (Study 2), and daily experiences (Study 3) of touch. Touch and well-being were positively associated, and attachment avoidance was associated with lower well-being and less frequent touch. Touch was associated with greater well-being regardless of level of attachment avoidance, and less frequent touch mediated the negative association between attachment avoidance and well-being in most analyses. This underscores the importance of touch, even for those valuing distance and autonomy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167220977709DOI Listing
December 2020

Big smile, small self: Awe walks promote prosocial positive emotions in older adults.

Emotion 2020 Sep 21. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Aging into later life is often accompanied by social disconnection, anxiety, and sadness. Negative emotions are self-focused states with detrimental effects on aging and longevity. Awe-a positive emotion elicited when in the presence of vast things not immediately understood-reduces self-focus, promotes social connection, and fosters prosocial actions by encouraging a "small self." We investigated the emotional benefits of a novel "awe walk" intervention in healthy older adults. Sixty participants took weekly 15-min outdoor walks for 8 weeks; participants were randomly assigned to an awe walk group, which oriented them to experience awe during their walks, or to a control walk group. Participants took photographs of themselves during each walk and rated their emotional experience. Each day, they reported on their daily emotional experience outside of the walk context. Participants also completed pre- and postintervention measures of anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction. Compared with participants who took control walks, those who took awe walks experienced greater awe during their walks and exhibited an increasingly "small self" in their photographs over time. They reported greater joy and prosocial positive emotions during their walks and displayed increasing smile intensity over the study. Outside of the walk context, participants who took awe walks reported greater increases in daily prosocial positive emotions and greater decreases in daily distress over time. Postintervention anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction did not change from baseline in either group. These results suggest cultivating awe enhances positive emotions that foster social connection and diminishes negative emotions that hasten decline. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000876DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8034841PMC
September 2020

Theories of power: Perceived strategies for gaining and maintaining power.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2020 Sep 17. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Institute for Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley.

What does it take to gain and maintain power? Aristotle believed that power was afforded to individuals that acted in virtuous ways that promote the greater good. Machiavelli, nearly 2,000 years later, argued to great effect that power could be taken through the use of manipulation, coercion, and strategic violence. With these historical perspectives as a conceptual foundation, we validate a 2-factor measure of theories of power (TOPS; Study 1), which captures lay theories of how power is gained and maintained among family members, at work, and in international politics (Study 2). We differentiate TOPS from other established measures of power, highlighting that these beliefs about power are conceptually distinct from widely used measures of dominance and prestige, and uniquely predict social outcomes. Turning to social class, we find that participants who make upward social comparisons perceive themselves to be of lower class and endorse less collaborative and more coercive theories of power, relative to those who make downward comparisons and report themselves to be higher in the class hierarchy (Studies 3a and 3b). Building upon these findings, we identify theory of power endorsement as a correlate of interpersonal trust, and a mediator of how lower class individuals, who endorse less collaborative views of power, report less trust of institutions and individuals (Study 4). Theories of power provide a novel construct for understanding power dynamics at multiple levels of analysis. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000345DOI Listing
September 2020

Universal facial expressions uncovered in art of the ancient Americas: A computational approach.

Sci Adv 2020 Aug 19;6(34):eabb1005. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Central to the study of emotion is evidence concerning its universality, particularly the degree to which emotional expressions are similar across cultures. Here, we present an approach to studying the universality of emotional expression that rules out cultural contact and circumvents potential biases in survey-based methods: A computational analysis of apparent facial expressions portrayed in artwork created by members of cultures isolated from Western civilization. Using data-driven methods, we find that facial expressions depicted in 63 sculptures from the ancient Americas tend to accord with Western expectations for emotions that unfold in specific social contexts. Ancient American sculptures tend to portray at least five facial expressions in contexts predicted by Westerners, including "pain" in torture, "determination"/"strain" in heavy lifting, "anger" in combat, "elation" in social touch, and "sadness" in defeat-supporting the universality of these expressions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abb1005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7438103PMC
August 2020

Machine learning uncovers the most robust self-report predictors of relationship quality across 43 longitudinal couples studies.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 08 27;117(32):19061-19071. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.

Given the powerful implications of relationship quality for health and well-being, a central mission of relationship science is explaining why some romantic relationships thrive more than others. This large-scale project used machine learning (i.e., Random Forests) to 1) quantify the extent to which relationship quality is predictable and 2) identify which constructs reliably predict relationship quality. Across 43 dyadic longitudinal datasets from 29 laboratories, the top relationship-specific predictors of relationship quality were perceived-partner commitment, appreciation, sexual satisfaction, perceived-partner satisfaction, and conflict. The top individual-difference predictors were life satisfaction, negative affect, depression, attachment avoidance, and attachment anxiety. Overall, relationship-specific variables predicted up to 45% of variance at baseline, and up to 18% of variance at the end of each study. Individual differences also performed well (21% and 12%, respectively). Actor-reported variables (i.e., own relationship-specific and individual-difference variables) predicted two to four times more variance than partner-reported variables (i.e., the partner's ratings on those variables). Importantly, individual differences and partner reports had no predictive effects beyond actor-reported relationship-specific variables alone. These findings imply that the sum of all individual differences and partner experiences exert their influence on relationship quality via a person's own relationship-specific experiences, and effects due to moderation by individual differences and moderation by partner-reports may be quite small. Finally, relationship-quality change (i.e., increases or decreases in relationship quality over the course of a study) was largely unpredictable from any combination of self-report variables. This collective effort should guide future models of relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1917036117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7431040PMC
August 2020

Social Class Competence Stereotypes Are Amplified by Socially Signaled Economic Inequality.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2021 Jan 22;47(1):89-105. Epub 2020 May 22.

University of California, Berkeley, USA.

A number of psychological theories suggest that increased economic inequality may lead to greater social class stereotyping. However, all existing evidence for this claim is correlational. Across three experiments (one exploratory and two confirmatory, = 2,286), we observed that exposure to socially signaled inequality-operationalized in terms of variation in perceived incomes among groups of target individuals-amplified the endorsement of one key social class stereotype: the perception that higher income individuals are more competent. When judged amid greater inequality, the same high-income targets were perceived as more competent and the same low-income targets were perceived as less competent, compared with when judged amid greater equality. By contrast, we found no consistent effect of exposure to inequality on stereotypes regarding warmth and relatively weak class-based stereotyping on the warmth dimension in general. We discuss implications of these findings for theories regarding the effects of economic inequality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167220916640DOI Listing
January 2021

The Neural Representation of Visually Evoked Emotion Is High-Dimensional, Categorical, and Distributed across Transmodal Brain Regions.

iScience 2020 May 17;23(5):101060. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

Department of Neuroinformatics, ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, Hikaridai, Seika, Soraku, Kyoto, 619-0288, Japan; Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Yoshida-honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8501, Japan. Electronic address:

Central to our subjective lives is the experience of different emotions. Recent behavioral work mapping emotional responses to 2,185 videos found that people experience upward of 27 distinct emotions occupying a high-dimensional space, and that emotion categories, more so than affective dimensions (e.g., valence), organize self-reports of subjective experience. Here, we sought to identify the neural substrates of this high-dimensional space of emotional experience using fMRI responses to all 2,185 videos. Our analyses demonstrated that (1) dozens of video-evoked emotions were accurately predicted from fMRI patterns in multiple brain regions with different regional configurations for individual emotions; (2) emotion categories better predicted cortical and subcortical responses than affective dimensions, outperforming visual and semantic covariates in transmodal regions; and (3) emotion-related fMRI responses had a cluster-like organization efficiently characterized by distinct categories. These results support an emerging theory of the high-dimensional emotion space, illuminating its neural foundations distributed across transmodal regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2020.101060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7191651PMC
May 2020

Reply to Bowling: How specific emotions are primary in subjective experience.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 05 14;117(18):9694-9695. Epub 2020 Apr 14.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94102.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2003626117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7211931PMC
May 2020

Effects of Verbal and Nonverbal Communication of Affection on Avoidantly Attached Partners' Emotions and Message Receptiveness.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2020 11 17;46(11):1567-1580. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Research on adult attachment in romantic relationships has focused on the negative outcomes that avoidantly attached individuals face. The present research uses observational research methods to determine if there are specific ways of communicating affection that might help avoidantly attached people reap similar levels of rewards from affectionate communication as those who are more secure. We combined three samples ( = 280 couples, 560 participants) who took turns describing a time they felt strong love for their partner, and coded their expressions for cues of verbal affection (i.e., emotion-laden words) and nonverbal affection (i.e., behavioral expressiveness). Higher levels of the speaker's nonverbal affection were associated with stronger positive emotion and behavioral receptiveness (i.e., appearing engaged) for listeners higher in attachment avoidance. Altogether, we provide evidence that avoidantly attached individuals may experience positive outcomes from affectionate exchanges when the communication style is tailored to their unique needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167220910311DOI Listing
November 2020

What music makes us feel: At least 13 dimensions organize subjective experiences associated with music across different cultures.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 01 6;117(4):1924-1934. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.

What is the nature of the feelings evoked by music? We investigated how people represent the subjective experiences associated with Western and Chinese music and the form in which these representational processes are preserved across different cultural groups. US ( = 1,591) and Chinese ( = 1,258) participants listened to 2,168 music samples and reported on the specific feelings (e.g., "angry," "dreamy") or broad affective features (e.g., valence, arousal) that they made individuals feel. Using large-scale statistical tools, we uncovered 13 distinct types of subjective experience associated with music in both cultures. Specific feelings such as "triumphant" were better preserved across the 2 cultures than levels of valence and arousal, contrasting with theoretical claims that valence and arousal are building blocks of subjective experience. This held true even for music selected on the basis of its valence and arousal levels and for traditional Chinese music. Furthermore, the feelings associated with music were found to occupy continuous gradients, contradicting discrete emotion theories. Our findings, visualized within an interactive map (https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/∼acowen/music.html) reveal a complex, high-dimensional space of subjective experience associated with music in multiple cultures. These findings can inform inquiries ranging from the etiology of affective disorders to the neurological basis of emotion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1910704117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6995018PMC
January 2020

Are awe-prone people more curious? The relationship between dispositional awe, curiosity, and academic outcomes.

J Pers 2020 08 10;88(4):762-779. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Objective: Guided by a functional account of awe, we aimed to test the hypothesis that people who often feel awe are also more curious (Studies 1 and 2), and that this relationship in turn relates to academic outcomes (Study 3).

Method: In Study 1 (n = 1,005), we used a self-report approach to test the relationship between dispositional awe and curiosity. In Study 2 (n = 100), we used a peer-report approach to test if participants' dispositional awe related to how curious they were rated by their friends. In Study 3, in a sample of 447 high school adolescents we tested if dispositional awe related to academic outcomes via curiosity.

Results: We found that dispositional awe was positively related to people's self-rated curiosity (Study 1) and how curious they were rated by their friends (Study 2). In Study 3, we found that dispositional awe was related to academic outcomes via curiosity.

Conclusions: We conclude that among the seven positive emotion dispositions tested, awe was related to unique variance in curiosity, and this link in turn predicted academic outcomes. This work further characterizes awe as an epistemic emotion and suggests that activities that inspire awe may improve academic outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12524DOI Listing
August 2020

Power, approach, and inhibition: empirical advances of a theory.

Curr Opin Psychol 2020 06 22;33:196-200. Epub 2019 Aug 22.

University of California, Berkeley, United States. Electronic address:

The approach-inhibition theory of power proposed that elevated power (which relates to increased rewards and freedom) activates approach-related tendencies, whereas reduced power (which relates to increased threat, punishment, and social constraint) activates inhibition-related tendencies Keltner et al. (2003). In the current article, we review the empirical advances - over the past 16 years - regarding four main propositions of the approach-inhibition theory of power: (a) positive affect versus negative affect, (b) attention to rewards versus attention to threats, (c) automatic cognition versus systematic/controlled cognition, and (d) disinhibited and state/trait driven behavior versus inhibited and situationally constrained behavior. By revealing robust empirical support for, and imaginative extensions of, the four propositions, this review invites future studies of power to further build upon and revise the early claims of approach-inhibition theory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.08.013DOI Listing
June 2020

What Basic Emotion Theory Really Says for the Twenty-First Century Study of Emotion.

J Nonverbal Behav 2019 Jun 13;43(2):195-201. Epub 2019 Feb 13.

Department of Psychology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Basic emotion theory (BET) has been, perhaps, the central narrative in the science of emotion. As Crivelli and Fridlund (J Nonverbal Behav 125:1-34, 2019, this issue) would have it, however, BET is ready to be put to rest, facing "last stands" and "fatal" empirical failures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Crivelli and Fridlund's outdated treatment of BET, narrow focus on facial expressions of six emotions, inattention to robust empirical literatures, and overreliance on singular "critical tests" of a multifaceted theory, undermine their critique and belie the considerable advances guided by basic emotion theory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10919-019-00298-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6688640PMC
June 2019

Awe, ideological conviction, and perceptions of ideological opponents.

Emotion 2021 Feb 12;21(1):61-72. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

Department of Psychology.

Awe is an emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that transcend current frames of reference. Guided by prior work documenting that awe promotes humility, increases perceptions of uncertainty, and diminishes personal concerns, across 3 studies (N = 776) we tested the hypothesis that awe results in reduced conviction about one's ideological attitudes. In Study 1, participants induced to experience awe, relative to those feeling amusement or in a neutral control condition, expressed less conviction regarding their attitudes toward capital punishment. In 2 subsequent studies, we showed that experiencing awe decreased perceptions of ideological polarization in the U.S. vis-à-vis racial bias in the criminal justice system (Study 2) and reduced desired social distance from those with different viewpoints regarding immigration (Study 3)-effects that were partially mediated by reduced conviction. These findings indicate that awe may lead to uncertainty and ambivalence regarding one's attitudes, a form of epistemological humility, and that this in turn may promote reduced dogmatism and increased perceptions of social cohesion. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000665DOI Listing
February 2021

Emotional Expression: Advances in Basic Emotion Theory.

J Nonverbal Behav 2019 Jun 7;43(2):133-160. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

University of California, Berkeley.

In this article, we review recent developments in the study of emotional expression within a basic emotion framework. Dozens of new studies find that upwards of 20 emotions are signaled in multimodal and dynamic patterns of expressive behavior. Moving beyond word to stimulus matching paradigms, new studies are detailing the more nuanced and complex processes involved in emotion recognition and the structure of how people perceive emotional expression. Finally, we consider new studies documenting contextual influences upon emotion recognition. We conclude by extending these recent findings to questions about emotion-related physiology and the mammalian precursors of human emotion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10919-019-00293-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6687086PMC
June 2019

Mapping the Passions: Toward a High-Dimensional Taxonomy of Emotional Experience and Expression.

Psychol Sci Public Interest 2019 Jul;20(1):69-90

1 Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

What would a comprehensive atlas of human emotions include? For 50 years, scientists have sought to map emotion-related experience, expression, physiology, and recognition in terms of the "basic six"-anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Claims about the relationships between these six emotions and prototypical facial configurations have provided the basis for a long-standing debate over the diagnostic value of expression (for review and latest installment in this debate, see Barrett et al., p. 1). Building on recent empirical findings and methodologies, we offer an alternative conceptual and methodological approach that reveals a richer taxonomy of emotion. Dozens of distinct varieties of emotion are reliably distinguished by language, evoked in distinct circumstances, and perceived in distinct expressions of the face, body, and voice. Traditional models-both the basic six and affective-circumplex model (valence and arousal)-capture a fraction of the systematic variability in emotional response. In contrast, emotion-related responses (e.g., the smile of embarrassment, triumphant postures, sympathetic vocalizations, blends of distinct expressions) can be explained by richer models of emotion. Given these developments, we discuss why tests of a basic-six model of emotion are not tests of the diagnostic value of facial expression more generally. Determining the full extent of what facial expressions can tell us, marginally and in conjunction with other behavioral and contextual cues, will require mapping the high-dimensional, continuous space of facial, bodily, and vocal signals onto richly multifaceted experiences using large-scale statistical modeling and machine-learning methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1529100619850176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6675572PMC
July 2019

What the face displays: Mapping 28 emotions conveyed by naturalistic expression.

Am Psychol 2020 04 17;75(3):349-364. Epub 2019 Jun 17.

Department of Psychology.

What emotions do the face and body express? Guided by new conceptual and quantitative approaches (Cowen, Elfenbein, Laukka, & Keltner, 2018; Cowen & Keltner, 2017, 2018), we explore the taxonomy of emotion recognized in facial-bodily expression. Participants ( = 1,794; 940 female, ages 18-76 years) judged the emotions captured in 1,500 photographs of facial-bodily expression in terms of emotion categories, appraisals, free response, and ecological validity. We find that facial-bodily expressions can reliably signal at least 28 distinct categories of emotion that occur in everyday life. Emotion categories, more so than appraisals such as valence and arousal, organize emotion recognition. However, categories of emotion recognized in naturalistic facial and bodily behavior are not discrete but bridged by smooth gradients that correspond to continuous variations in meaning. Our results support a novel view that emotions occupy a high-dimensional space of categories bridged by smooth gradients of meaning. They offer an approximation of a taxonomy of facial-bodily expressions, visualized within an online interactive map. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000488DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6917997PMC
April 2020

The recognition of 18 facial-bodily expressions across nine cultures.

Emotion 2020 Oct 10;20(7):1292-1300. Epub 2019 Jun 10.

Department of Psychology.

An enduring focus in the science of emotion is the question of which psychological states are signaled in expressive behavior. Based on empirical findings from previous studies, we created photographs of facial-bodily expressions of 18 states and presented these to participants in nine cultures. In a well-validated recognition paradigm, participants matched stories of causal antecedents to one of four expressions of the same valence. All 18 facial-bodily expressions were recognized at well above chance levels. We conclude by discussing the methodological shortcomings of our study and the conceptual implications of its findings. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000576DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6901814PMC
October 2020

The primacy of categories in the recognition of 12 emotions in speech prosody across two cultures.

Nat Hum Behav 2019 04 11;3(4):369-382. Epub 2019 Mar 11.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Central to emotion science is the degree to which categories, such as Awe, or broader affective features, such as Valence, underlie the recognition of emotional expression. To explore the processes by which people recognize emotion from prosody, US and Indian participants were asked to judge the emotion categories or affective features communicated by 2,519 speech samples produced by 100 actors from 5 cultures. With large-scale statistical inference methods, we find that prosody can communicate at least 12 distinct kinds of emotion that are preserved across the 2 cultures. Analyses of the semantic and acoustic structure of the recognition of emotions reveal that emotion categories drive the recognition of emotions more so than affective features, including Valence. In contrast to discrete emotion theories, however, emotion categories are bridged by gradients representing blends of emotions. Our findings, visualized within an interactive map, reveal a complex, high-dimensional space of emotional states recognized cross-culturally in speech prosody.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0533-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6687085PMC
April 2019

Toward a consensual taxonomy of emotions.

Authors:
Dacher Keltner

Cogn Emot 2019 02 22;33(1):14-19. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

a UC Berkeley , Berkeley , CA , USA.

In this article, I chart certain origins of the science of emotion back to the cognitive revolution. I then highlight new developments in the field - the influences of emotion upon cognition, the focus on over 20 emotions, the expanding emphasis on positive emotion, and an abiding interest in the functions emotions serve. I close by arguing for the need for the field to move toward a conceptual taxonomy of emotions, to move beyond decades of terminological debates about what emotions are to a convergent effort to understand what emotions do for people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2019.1574397DOI Listing
February 2019

Income Inequality and White-on-Black Racial Bias in the United States: Evidence From Project Implicit and Google Trends.

Psychol Sci 2019 02 11;30(2):205-222. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

1 Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Several theories predict that income inequality may produce increased racial bias, but robust tests of this hypothesis are lacking. We examined this relationship at the U.S. state level from 2004 to 2015 using Internal Revenue Service-based income-inequality statistics and two large-scale racial-bias data sources: Project Implicit ( N = 1,554,109) and Google Trends. Using a multimethod approach, we found evidence of a significant positive within-state association between income inequality and Whites' explicit racial bias. However, the effect was small, with income inequality accounting for 0.4% to 0.7% of within-state variation in racial bias, and was also contingent on model specification, with results dependent on the measure of income inequality used. We found no conclusive evidence linking income inequality to implicit racial bias or racially offensive Google searches. Overall, our findings admit multiple interpretations, but we discuss why statistically small effects of income inequality on explicit racial bias may nonetheless be socially meaningful.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797618815441DOI Listing
February 2019

Mapping 24 emotions conveyed by brief human vocalization.

Am Psychol 2019 09 20;74(6):698-712. Epub 2018 Dec 20.

Department of Psychology.

Emotional vocalizations are central to human social life. Recent studies have documented that people recognize at least 13 emotions in brief vocalizations. This capacity emerges early in development, is preserved in some form across cultures, and informs how people respond emotionally to music. What is poorly understood is how emotion recognition from vocalization is structured within what we call a semantic space, the study of which addresses questions critical to the field: How many distinct kinds of emotions can be expressed? Do expressions convey emotion categories or affective appraisals (e.g., valence, arousal)? Is the recognition of emotion expressions discrete or continuous? Guided by a new theoretical approach to emotion taxonomies, we apply large-scale data collection and analysis techniques to judgments of 2,032 emotional vocal bursts produced in laboratory settings (Study 1) and 48 found in the real world (Study 2) by U.S. English speakers (N = 1,105). We find that vocal bursts convey at least 24 distinct kinds of emotion. Emotion categories (sympathy, awe), more so than affective appraisals (including valence and arousal), organize emotion recognition. In contrast to discrete emotion theories, the emotion categories conveyed by vocal bursts are bridged by smooth gradients with continuously varying meaning. We visualize the complex, high-dimensional space of emotion conveyed by brief human vocalization within an online interactive map. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6586540PMC
September 2019

Parent-child-relationship quality predicts offspring dispositional compassion in adulthood: A prospective follow-up study over three decades.

Dev Psychol 2019 Jan 15;55(1):216-225. Epub 2018 Nov 15.

Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki.

Compassion is known to predict prosocial behavior and moral judgments related to harm. Despite the centrality of compassion to social life, factors predicting adulthood compassion are largely unknown. We examined whether qualities of parent-child-relationship, namely, emotional warmth and acceptance, predict offspring compassion decades later in adulthood. We used data from the prospective population-based Young Finns Study. Our sample included 2,761 participants (55.5% women). Parent-child-relationship qualities were reported by each participant's parents at baseline in 1980 (T0) when participants were between 3 and 18 years old. Compassion was self-reported 3 times: in 1997 (T1), 2001 (T2), and 2012 (T3) with the Temperament and Character Inventory (Cloninger, Przybeck, Svrakic, & Wetzel, 1994). By using age at the assessment as a time-variant variable, we applied multilevel modeling for repeated measurements to examine developmental trajectories of compassion from the ages of 20 (the age of the youngest cohort at T1) to 50 (the age of the oldest cohort at T3). On average, compassion increased in a curvilinear pattern with age. Higher acceptance (p = .013) and higher emotional warmth (p < .001) were related to higher compassion in adulthood. After adjusting for childhood confounds (i.e., participant gender, birth cohort, externalizing behavior, parental socioeconomic status, and parental mental health problems), only emotional warmth (p < .001) remained a significant predictor of compassion. Quality of the parent-child-relationship has long-term effects on offspring compassion. An emotionally warm and close relationship, in particular, may contribute to higher offspring compassion in adulthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dev0000633DOI Listing
January 2019

Awe as a Scientific Emotion.

Cogn Sci 2018 Jul 28. Epub 2018 Jul 28.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Awe has traditionally been considered a religious or spiritual emotion, yet scientists often report that awe motivates them to answer questions about the natural world, and to do so in naturalistic terms. Indeed, awe may be closely related to scientific discovery and theoretical advance. Awe is typically triggered by something vast (either literally or metaphorically) and initiates processes of accommodation, in which existing mental schemas are revised to make sense of the awe-inspiring stimuli. This process of accommodation is essential for the kind of belief revision that characterizes scientific reasoning and theory change. Across six studies, we find that the tendency to experience awe is positively associated with scientific thinking, and that this association is not shared by other positive emotions. Specifically, we show that the disposition to experience awe predicts a more accurate understanding of how science works, rejection of creationism, and rejection of unwarranted teleological explanations more broadly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12648DOI Listing
July 2018

Awe in nature heals: Evidence from military veterans, at-risk youth, and college students.

Emotion 2018 Dec 21;18(8):1195-1202. Epub 2018 Jun 21.

Department of Psychiatry.

The power of nature to both heal and inspire awe has been noted by many great thinkers. However, no study has examined how the impact of nature on well-being and stress-related symptoms is explained by experiences of awe. In the present investigation, we examine this process in studies of extraordinary and everyday nature experiences. In Study 1, awe experienced by military veterans and youth from underserved communities while whitewater rafting, above and beyond all the other positive emotions measured, predicted changes in well-being and stress-related symptoms one week later. In Study 2, the nature experiences that undergraduate students had during their everyday lives led to more awe, which mediated the effect of nature experience on improvements in well-being. We discuss how accounting for people's emotional experiences during outdoors activities can increase our understanding of how nature impacts people's well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000442DOI Listing
December 2018

Clarifying the Conceptualization, Dimensionality, and Structure of Emotion: Response to Barrett and Colleagues.

Trends Cogn Sci 2018 04 21;22(4):274-276. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

We present a mathematically based framework distinguishing the dimensionality, structure, and conceptualization of emotion-related responses. Our recent findings indicate that reported emotional experience is high-dimensional, involves gradients between categories traditionally thought of as discrete (e.g., 'fear', 'disgust'), and cannot be reduced to widely used domain-general scales (valence, arousal, etc.). In light of our conceptual framework and findings, we address potential methodological and conceptual confusions in Barrett and colleagues' commentary on our work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.02.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866789PMC
April 2018