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Review
, 10 (1), 20-46

Solving the Emotion Paradox: Categorization and the Experience of Emotion

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Review

Solving the Emotion Paradox: Categorization and the Experience of Emotion

Lisa Feldman Barrett. Pers Soc Psychol Rev.

Abstract

In this article, I introduce an emotion paradox: People believe that they know an emotion when they see it, and as a consequence assume that emotions are discrete events that can be recognized with some degree of accuracy, but scientists have yet to produce a set of clear and consistent criteria for indicating when an emotion is present and when it is not. I propose one solution to this paradox: People experience an emotion when they conceptualize an instance of affective feeling. In this view, the experience of emotion is an act of categorization, guided by embodied knowledge about emotion. The result is a model of emotion experience that has much in common with the social psychological literature on person perception and with literature on embodied conceptual knowledge as it has recently been applied to social psychology.

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