Are emotional clarity and emotion differentiation related?

Matthew Tyler Boden, Renee J. Thompson, Mügé Dizén, Howard Berenbaum, John P. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Distinct literatures have developed regarding the constructs of emotional clarity (people's meta-knowledge of their affective experience) and emotion differentiation (people's ability to differentiate affective experience into discrete categories, e.g., anger vs. fear). Conceptually, emotion differentiation processes might be expected to contribute to increased emotional clarity. However, the relation between emotional clarity and emotion differentiation has not been directly investigated. In two studies with independent, undergraduate student samples, we measured emotional clarity using a self-report measure and derived emotion differentiation scores from scenario-based (Study 1) and event-sampling-based (Study 2) measures of affect. We found that emotional clarity and emotion differentiation are: (i) associated to a very small and statistically insignificant degree; and (ii) differentially associated with trait and scenario-based/event-sampling-based measures of affect intensity and variability. These results suggest that emotional clarity and differentiation are distinct constructs with unique relations to various facets of affective experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-978
Number of pages18
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Emotion differentiation
  • Emotion granularity
  • Emotional awareness
  • Emotional clarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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