Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Corr I 55
Appraisal theory/emotions/psychologcal theories/Reisenzein/Weber: The appraisal of an event determines not only whether or not this event elicits an emotion, but also which emotion it elicits. Hedonically positive (i.e., experientially pleasant) emotions occur if an event is evaluated as motive-congruent, whereas hedonically negative (experientially unpleasant) emotions occur if an event is evaluated as motive-incongruent.
Emotions are distinguished by a) on the kind of evaluation made, for example, on whether an event is evaluated as just personally undesirable or as morally wrong (Ortony, Clore and Collins 1988)(1).
b) they depend on particular factual (non-evaluative) appraisals, including the appraisal of the event’s probability, unexpectedness, controllability, and the appraisal of one’s own or other people’s responsibility for bringing it about (see Ellsworth and Scherer 2003)(2).
The relations between appraisals and specific emotions have been spelled out in several structural appraisal models (e.g., Lazarus 1991(3); Ortony, Clore and Collins 1988(1); Roseman, Antoniou and Jose 1996(4); Scherer 2001(5)).
Information-processing models for appraisal theories: (for overviews, see e.g., Power and Dalgleish 1997(6); Scherer, Schorr and Johnstone 2001(7); Teasdale 1999(8)).
Corr I 56
Modes of appraisal: a) non-automatic: non-automatic appraisal processes are conscious inference strategies,
b) automatic appraisals are unconscious and are ‘triggered’ fairly directly by the perception of eliciting events.
Like other mental processes, initially non-automatic, conscious appraisals can become automatized as a result of their repeated execution (e.g., Reisenzein 2001(9); Siemer and Reisenzein 2007(10)). Automatic appraisals can explain why emotions frequently follow eliciting events rapidly. They may also explain moods, that is, emotional experiences which seem to lack concrete objects (for further discussion of moods, see Schwarz and Clore 2007(11); Siemer 2005(12)). >Appraisal theory/Reisenzein.


1. Ortony, A., Clore, G. L. and Collins, A. 1988. The cognitive structure of emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press
2. Ellsworth, P. C. and Scherer, K. R. 2003. Appraisal processes in emotion, in R. J. Davidson, K. R. Scherer and H. H. Goldsmith (eds.), Handbook of affective sciences, pp. 572–95. Oxford University Press
3. Lazarus, R. S. 1991. Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press
4. Roseman, I. J., Antoniou, A. A. and Jose, P. E. 1996. Appraisal determinants of emotions: constructing a more accurate and comprehensive theory, Cognition and Emotion 10: 241–77
5. Scherer, K. R. 2001. Appraisal considered as a process of multilevel sequential checking, in K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr and T. Johnstone (eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion: theory, methods, research, pp. 92–120. Oxford University Press
6.Power, M. and Dalgleish, T. 1997. Cognition and emotion: from order to disorder. Hove: Psychology Press
7. Scherer, K. R., Schorr, A. and Johnstone, T. 2001. Appraisal processes in emotion: theory, methods, research. Oxford University Press
8. Teasdale, J. D. 1999. Multi-level theories of cognition-emotion relations, in T. Dalgleish and M. Power (eds.), Handbook of cognition and emotion, pp. 665–81. Chicester: Wiley
9. Reisenzein, R. 2001. Appraisal processes conceptualized from a schema-theoretic perspective: contributions to a process analysis of emotions, in K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr and T. Johnstone (eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion: theory, methods, research, pp. 187–201. Oxford University Press
10. Siemer, M. and Reisenzein, R. 2007. The process of emotion inference, Emotion 7: 1–20
11. Schwarz, N. and Clore, G. L. 2007. Feelings and phenomenal experiences, in A. W. Kruglanski and E. T. Higgins (eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles, 2nd edn, pp. 385–407. New York: Guilford Press
12. Siemer, M. 2005. Moods as multiple-object directed and as objectless affective states: an examination of the dispositional theory of moods, Cognition and Emotion 19: 815–45


Rainer Reisenzein & Hannelore Weber, “Personality and emotion”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Psychological Theories
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-04-22
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