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Author"s note.

You are watching: Which of the following is true about balancing positive and negative emotions?

Barbara L. Fredrickson, Department of Psychology and also Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research, College of Michigan.
Correspondence concerning this post should be addressed to Barbara L. Fredrickchild, Department of Psychology, College of Michigan, 525 East College Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109. ude.hcimu

In this article, the author defines a new theoretical perspective on positive emotions and situates this new perspective within the emerging area of positive psychology. The broaden-and-construct theory posits that experiences of positive eactivities increase people"s momentary thought-activity repertoires, which in turn serves to construct their enthroughout personal sources, varying from physical and intellectual sources to social and psychological resources. Preliminary empirical proof supporting the broaden-and-construct theory is reperceived, and open empirical questions that reprimary to be tested are identified. The concept and findings indicate that the capacity to experience positive emotions might be a standard huguy stamina central to the examine of humale flourishing.


The mission of positive psychology is to understand and foster the determinants that enable individuals, areas, and also societies to thrive (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). What function perform positive emotions play in this mission? On first consideration, the answer appears simple: Positive eactivities serve as markers of prospering, or optimal health. Certainly moments in people"s lives characterized by experiences of positive emotions—such as joy, interemainder, contentment, love, and also the like—are moments in which they are not plagued by negative emotions—such as anxiety, sadness, anger, and also despair. Consistent with this intuition, the overall balance of people"s positive and negative emotions has actually been shown to predict their judgments of subjective health (Diener, Sandvik, & Pavot, 1991). Building on this finding, Kahneman (1999) suggested that “objective happiness” have the right to best be measured by tracking (and also later on aggregating) people"s short-term experiences of good and also bad feelings (however watch Fredrickson, 2000c). According to these perspectives, positive emovements signal prospering. But this is not the entirety story: Confident emotions additionally produce growing. Additionally, they execute so not sindicate within the existing, pleasant moment yet over the long term too. The take-residence message is that positive emovements are worth cultivating, not simply as finish claims in themselves however likewise as a way to achieving emotional growth and also boosted well-being over time.

A testimonial of existing perspectives on emovements, influence, and also their corresponding features offers a critical backdrop. A selective evaluation adheres to.


Perspectives on Emovements and Affect

Working definitions of emotions and affect differ somewhat throughout researchers. Yet despite recurring conflict (e.g., Diener, 1999; Ekmale & Davidboy, 1994), consensus is emerging that emovements are yet a subset of the wider class of affective phenomena. Emotions, according to this perspective, are finest conceptualized as multicomponent response tendencies that unfold over reasonably brief time spans. Normally, an emovement starts with an individual"s assessment of the individual interpretation of some antecedent occasion. This appraisal procedure may be either aware or unaware, and it triggers a cascade of response tendencies manifest throughout loosely coupled component units, such as subjective experience, facial expression, cognitive handling, and physiological changes.

Affect, a much more general idea, describes consciously accessible feelings. Although impact is present within emovements (as the component of subjective experience), it is likewise current within many other affective sensations, consisting of physical sensations, perspectives, moods, and also also affective traits. Therefore, emotions are unique from impact in multiple ways. First, eactivities are commonly around some personally systematic circumstance (i.e., they have an object), whereas influence is frequently free-floating or objectless (Oatley & Jenkins, 1996; Rusmarket & Feldmale Barrett, 1999; Ryff & Singer, in press). In addition, eactivities are generally brief and implicate the multiple-component systems defined over, whereas influence is frequently even more long-lasting and may be salient only at the level of subjective experience (Ekman, 1994; Rosenberg, 1998; Rusmarket & Feldmale Barrett, 1999). Finally, eactivities are regularly conceptualized as fitting right into discrete categories of emotion families, favor are afraid, anger, joy, and also interemainder. Affect, by comparison, is frequently conceptualized as varying along 2 dimensions, either pleasantness and activation (Russell & Feldman Barrett, 1999) or positive and negative emotional activation (Teilegen, Walson, & Clark, 1999).


Perspectives on the Functions of Affect and also Emotions

Hopeful affect, according to plenty of philosophers, facilitates technique behavior (Cacioppo, Gardner, & Berntkid, 1999; Davidkid, 1993; Watson, Wiese, Vaidya, & Teilegen, 1999) or continued activity (Carver & Scheier, 1990; Clore, 1994). From this perspective, experiences of positive impact prompt individuals to engage via their settings and also partake in activities, many of which are adaptive for the individual, its species, or both. This attach between positive affect and also task engagement offers an explacountry for She often-recorded positivity offset, or the tendency for individuals to suffer mild positive impact typically, even in neutral conmessages (Diener & Diener, 1996; Ito & Cacioppo, 1999). Without such an counter, individuals the majority of often would certainly be unurged to interact through their settings. Yet with such an offset, individuals exhibit the adaptive biregarding technique and check out novel objects, world, or cases. (See Watchild et al., 1999, for a related explacountry for diurnal patterns of positive emotional activation.)

Due to the fact that positive emovements include a component of positive affect, they also feature as internal signals to method or continue. Even so, positive emovements share this function through a variety of various other positive affective says. Sensory pleacertain, for circumstances, encourages people to method and continue consuming whatever stimulus is biologically valuable for them at the moment (Cabanac, 1971). Likewise, free-floating positive moods motivate people to continue alengthy any type of line of thinking or activity that they have initiated (Clore, 1994). Because of this, useful accounts of positive emotions that emphadimension tendencies to method or continue may just capture the lowest prevalent denominator throughout all affective claims that share a pleasant subjective feel, leaving extra attributes distinct to particular positive emovements uncharted.

Discrete emotion philosophers often link the attribute of specific eactivities to the idea of certain action tendencies (Frijda, 1986; Frijda, Kuipers, & Schure, 1989; Lazarus, 1991; Levenboy, 1994; Oatley & Jenkins, 1996; Tooby & Cosmides, 1990). Fear, for example, is linked via the urge to escape, anger via the urge to strike, disgust with the urge to expel, and also so on. It is not that civilization invariably act out these urges when feeling particular emotions. Rather, people"s ideas about feasible courses of activity narrowhead in on a specific collection of behavioral options. A key principle from this perspective is that a particular activity tendency is what makes an emovement evolutionarily adaptive: These are among the actions that presumably worked ideal in helping humale ancestors survive life-or-death cases (Tooby & Cosmides, 1990). Another key concept from trie certain emotions perspective is that particular activity tendencies and physiological transforms go hand also in hand. So, for instance, once someone experiences an urge to escape once feeling are afraid, that person"s body reacts by mobilizing proper autonomic support for the opportunity of running (Levenboy, 1994).

Although particular action tendencies have actually been invoked to define the attribute of certain posiiive emovements also, the action tendencies identified for positive emovements are notably vague and also understated (Fredrickboy & Levenson, 1998). For circumstances, joy has been connected with aimmuch less activation, interest with attending, and also contentment through intask (Frijda, 1986). These tendencies are much too basic to be referred to as specific (Fredrickson, 1998). They resemble generic urges to carry out anypoint or execute nopoint more than urges to perform somepoint quite particular, prefer flee, attack, or spit. This is troublesome: If the activity tendencies prompted by positive emovements are vague, their impacts on survival may be inconsequential. So, like the check out focused on generic strategy tendencies, the watch centered on particular action tendencies yields an incomplete analysis of the function of positive emovements.


The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions

To breakthrough expertise in this location, I formulated a new theoretical version to much better capture the distinct impacts of positive eactivities. I speak to this the broaden-and-buiid theory of posiiive emotions (Fredrickboy, 1998). This theory says that specific discrete positive emotions—including joy, interest, contentment, pride, and also love—although phenomenologically unique, all share the capability to broaden people"s short-term thought-action repertoires and develop their enthroughout personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and emotional resources.

I contrast this brand-new concept (o typical models based upon specific activity tendencies. Specific activity tendencies work-related well to describe the feature of negative emovements and have to be maintained for models of this subset of emotions. Without loss of theoretical nuance, a specific action tendency have the right to be redefined as the outcome of a mental procedure that narrows a person"s short-term thought–activity repertoire by calling to mind an urge to act in a specific way (e.g., escape, assault, expel). In a life-threatening situation, a narrowed thought–action repertoire promotes quick and also decisive action that carries direct and also instant benefit. Specific activity tendencies dubbed forth by negative eactivities represent the type of actions that most likely worked finest to save huguy ancestors" stays and limbs in comparable instances.

Although positive emotions deserve to take place in adverse situations, the typical conmessage of positive emotions is not a life-threatening instance. Thus, a emotional process that narrows a person"s short-term thought-action collection to promote quick and decisive activity might not be needed. Instead, the positive emotions of joy, interest, contentment, pride, and also love show up to have actually a complementary effect: They expand people"s temporary thought-action repertoires, widening the selection of the thoughts and also actions that involved mind (Fredrickkid, 1998; Fredrickkid & Branigan, 2001). Conceptual analyses of a variety of positive emotions assistance this insurance claim. Joy, for instance, expands by creating the urge to play, push the limits, and be artistic. These urges are noticeable not only in social and also physical actions, but also in intellectual and creative actions (Ellsworth & Smith, 1988; Frijda, 1986). Interemainder, a phenomenologically distinct positive emotion, expands by creating the urge to check out, take in brand-new indevelopment and also experiences, and expand also the self in the procedure (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Izard, 1977; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Tomkins, 1962). Contentment, a third distinct positive eactivity, broadens by producing the urge to savor existing life situations and also combine these situations right into new views of self and also of the civilization (Izard, 1977). Pride, a fourth distinctive positive emovement that follows individual accomplishments, increases by producing the urge to share news of the success through others and also to envision even better success later (Lewis, 1993). Love, conceptualized as an amalgam of unique positive emotions (e.g., joy, interemainder, contentment) proficient within conmessages of safe, cshed relationships (Izard, 1977), increases by developing recurring cycles of urges to play with, explore, and also savor experiences through loved ones. These assorted thought-activity tendencies—to play, to explore, to savor and incorporate, or to envision future achievement—each represent ways that positive eactivities increase habitual settings of reasoning or acting (Fredrickson, 1998,2000a; Fredrickchild & Branigan, 2001).

In comparison to negative eactivities, which lug direct and also immediate adaptive benefits in instances that threaten survival, the broadened thought-activity repertoires prompted by positive eactivities are helpful in various other means. Specifically, these broadened attitudes bring indirect and also long-term adaptive benefits because broadening builds enthroughout individual sources, which function as reserves to be drawn on later on to control future threats.

Take play, the urge connected via joy, as an example. Animal study has found that certain develops of chasing play noticeable in juveniles of a species, favor running into a functional sapling or branch and also catapulting oneself in an unintended direction, are checked out in adults of that species solely during predator avoidance (Dolhinow, 1987). Such correspondences suggest that juvenile play builds enduring physical resources (Boulton & Smith, 1992; Caro, 1988). Play likewise builds enthroughout social resources: Social play, via its mutual amusement, excitement, and smiles, builds lasting social bonds and also attachments (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyguy, 2000; Lee, 1983; Simons, McCluskey-Fawcett, & Papini, 1986), which have the right to come to be the locus of succeeding social support. Childhood play also builds enin the time of intellectual sources by increasing levels of creative thinking (Sherrod & Singer, 1989), developing concept of mind (Leslie, 1987), and fueling brain development (Panksepp, 1998). Other positive emotions, favor interemainder, contentment, pride, and also love, similarly augment individuals" personal resources, varying from physical and also social resources to intellectual and emotional resources. (Fuller descriptions of the broaden-and-build theory are accessible in Fredrickchild, 1998, 2000a, in press; Fredrickson & Branigan, 2001.)

It is important to note that the individual resources accrued during states of positive emotions are conceptualized as resilient. They outlast the transient emotional states that caused their acquisition. By consequence, then, the often incidental result of suffering a positive eactivity is an increase in one"s individual sources. These sources function as reserves that have the right to be drawn on in subsequent moments and in different emotional claims.

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In short, the broaden-and-develop concept explains the form of positive eactivities in terms of broadened thought–action repertoires and defines their attribute in regards to building enthroughout individual sources. In doing so, the concept provides a brand-new perspective on the evolved adaptive meaning of positive emotions. Human ancestors who succumbed to the urges sparked by positive emovements to play, explore, and so on would certainly have by consequence accrued more personal resources. When these exact same ancestors later confronted unavoidable risks to life and limb, their better individual sources would have actually translated right into higher odds of survival, and also, consequently, higher odds of living lengthy enough to redevelop. To the level, then, that the capacity to endure positive emotions is genetically encoded, this capacity, via the process of organic selection, would certainly have end up being component of universal huguy nature.