Journal of Research in Personality vol:42 issue:4 pages:1053-1059
The two fundamental dimensions assumed to underlie emotional experience—pleasure and arousal—are considered to be independent across individuals. We present evidence from an experience sampling study demonstrating that this independence does not necessarily hold when considering the affective experiences of a single individual. Participants (N = 80)reported how they were feeling in terms of pleasure and arousal nine times a day for seven days. The data showed that, although on average pleasure and arousal were independent, within-person pleasure–arousal associations substantially varied and ranged from strongly positive to strongly negative. This finding demonstrates that pleasant/unpleasant feelings usually co-occur with high arousal for some (reflecting joy/stress), but with low arousal for others (reflecting relaxation/ sadness) and that persons differ in whether arousal is usually pleasant or unpleasant. These differences were found to be related to dispositional reward responsiveness, with high reward responsive individuals being characterized by a positive
relation between pleasure and arousal and vice versa.