Mixed Emotions: Network Analyses of Intra-Individual Co-occurrences Within and Across Situations
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Description: This study revisits the structure of emotions by employing a co-occurrence network analysis. While previous studies have examined the structure of emotions primarily through inter-individual correlations, we investigated how often and which specific positive and negative emotions occur together within individuals. Two studies were conducted with high school students, one (N=21,678) using retrospective emotion measures (open-ended questions and 28 rated items) and the other (N = 472) using in-the-moment emotion measures (experience sampling). As in previous studies, positive and negative emotion ratings were negatively correlated across individuals, and this negative correlation became stronger when measurement error was controlled. Nevertheless, network analyses of both the open-ended responses and of emotion rating scales found frequent co-occurrences between both positive and negative emotions within individuals and within situations. Across all networks, happy, tired, and stressed were among the most frequent emotions that occurred together with emotions of opposite valence. The network analyses presented in this article open new directions to the long-lasting debate about the structure of emotions by revealing co-occurrences that inter-individual correlations would not show.
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