Examining the contextual and temporal stability of perceptions of emotional utility

Philip I. Chow, Howard Berenbaum, Luis E. Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present research examined the degree to which perceptions of emotional utility are stable across contexts and over time. Self-reported perceptions of emotional utility and actual experience of emotion were measured in two samples of college students. In Study 1, participants were presented with two different types of goals (independent vs. interdependent) and were asked to rate the degree to which they found different types of emotions (e.g., appreciation, pride) useful in each context. In Study 2, participants completed daily online questionnaires in which they responded to questions assessing perceptions of emotional utility and actual affect in relation to personal goals. As predicted, across both samples, perceived utility of specific types of emotions was found to be associated with specific types of goals. Importantly, perceived utility of emotion was also found to be a relatively stable individual difference variable, even after taking into account the actual experience of emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1224-1238
Number of pages15
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 3 2015


  • Emotion
  • Goals
  • Individual differences
  • Perceived utility
  • Strivings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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