Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem

J Exp Psychol Gen. 2014 Dec;143(6):2057-66. doi: 10.1037/a0038025. Epub 2014 Oct 6.


[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 143(6) of Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (see record 2014-49316-001). There is a color coding error in Figure 2. The correct color coding is explained in the erratum.] Bridging psychological research exploring emotional complexity and research in the natural sciences on the measurement of biodiversity, we introduce--and demonstrate the benefits of--emodiversity: the variety and relative abundance of the emotions that humans experience. Two cross-sectional studies across more than 37,000 respondents demonstrate that emodiversity is an independent predictor of mental and physical health--such as decreased depression and doctor's visits--over and above mean levels of positive and negative emotion. These results remained robust after controlling for gender, age, and the 5 main dimensions of personality. Emodiversity is a practically important and previously unidentified metric for assessing the health of the human emotional ecosystem.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality*
  • Young Adult