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Lost in Multidimensional Space: Epistemic Motivations Define and Distinguish Negative Affect

Maher, Paul J and Van Tilburg, Wijnand AP and Igou, Eric R (2019) 'Lost in Multidimensional Space: Epistemic Motivations Define and Distinguish Negative Affect.' Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45 (9). 1409 - 1424. ISSN 0146-1672

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People’s knowledge of the world is limited and frequently imprecise. Thus, epistemic challenges are commonplace and much research in psychology has investigated their consequences. However, research has not systematically investigated how states of negative affect correspond to the desire for understanding and meaning in life. We investigated the role of epistemic motivations (e.g., meaning search) as features that distinguish forms of negative affect from one another. In three studies, we used multidimensional scaling to model the perceived similarity of negative affect states and then examined to what extent people differentiate these states based on their association with epistemic motivations. These studies revealed that negative states are reliably differentiated through their relation to epistemic pursuits. These findings were verified in a fourth study in which we experimentally induced epistemic affect. Overall, these results indicate that epistemic concerns characterize states of negative affect to a substantial degree.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: epistemology, affect, emotions, meaning, sense-making, appraisal
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2019 15:31
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 18:15

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