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Yunna Kravchenko1
  • 1 Russian State University For The Humanities, 6 Miusskaya sq., Moscow,125993, Russian Federation

Determinants of Intensity and Quality of Subjective Experience of Fun

2013. Vol. 10. No. 2. P. 148–154 [issue contents]

This article provides an overview of the two different explanations for the origin of the subjective experience of emotions of different modalities, thus summarizing all currently existing explanations and their criticism. In order to supplement these explanations and to take into account the criticism, the article suggests an alternative explanation, which relates the emergence and strengthening of emotion with the suppression of the spontaneous response to an emotionally significant stimulus. In a univariate, intersubjective experiment testing this explanation the reactions of subjects were compared when viewing a funny cartoon in three conditions: free expression, suppression of expression (the prohibition of a smile) and replacement of a spontaneous expression (smile) with an artificial expression (handclaps). The presentation sequence and cartoons’ features were balanced.

The results indicate that the subjective evaluations of cartoons, depending on the instructions, significantly changed only on the scales relevant to the experimental conditions (gay and boring) and remained virtually the same on six other scales (including "interesting" and "enjoyable"). When subjects had to suppress spontaneous smiles and replace them with an artificial expression, evaluation of joyfulness of the cartoon increased and the boredom score decreased. The results argue that it was the suppression of the spontaneous displays of emotions, rather than their emergence, acting out or realization (as it was believed so far), that promoted the increase in perceived intensity of subjective experience, and, on the contrary, the acting out lead to a decrease in perceived intensity. The rationale for this explanation of the origin of subjective experience provides an answer to the question, why it is so hard to show a stable relationship between the subjective experience of emotion and its outward manifestations (expressive, physiological, behavioral). Also, these results allow us to give an alternative explanation of how acting out of the emotions affects the cognitive evaluation of emotionally significant stimuli.

Citation: Kravchenko, Iu. E. (2013). Faktory intensivnosti sub"ektivnogo kachestva perezhivaniya na primere vesel'ya [Determinants of Intensity and Quality of Subjective Experience of Fun] Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 10(2), 148-154. (in Russian)
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