Plenary Meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotion location:Berkeley, CA date:2-6 August 2013
Individual differences in emotionality, or emotional traits, are assumed to affect the likelihood of experiencing these emotions in daily life (Scherer et al., 2004). Whereas this idea is widely accepted for trait anger and anxiety, proneness to other emotions such as shame has received less attention, and empirical evidence for the assumed link between traits and experience in daily life is very limited. Moreover, traits may translate to a lesser extent into experience in Non-Western cultures, where emotional experience is more context-dependent. The present study investigated how established trait-based measures of anger and shame hold up against a new contextualized measure in predicting daily experience of anger and shame across cultures. North-American (n=43), Japanese (n=64) and Belgian (n=85) students completed trait-measures of anger (STAXI) and shame (DES) and participated in a seven-day diary study of their daily anger and shame experiences. To obtain a contextualized measure of anger and shame, participants indicated how angry (or ashamed) they would feel across a range of 15 anger (or shame) situations that differed in terms of interpersonal closeness (or self-violation). In none of the cultures, daily experiences of anger and shame were predicted by their trait-based measures. In comparison, our contextualized measures of anger and shame had high predictive value across cultures. Moreover, the extent to which participants thought they would feel stronger emotions when being with close others (or when public aspects of their self were violated) predicted their daily experience of these types of situations.