James Russell
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA, USA

A Dimensional Representation of Emotion

Abstract: The heterogeneous set of events called emotion are often thought to divide into discrete categories, but the categories have been shown to have degrees of membership, fuzzy boundaries.  Scientific theories based on categories of emotion are not faring well.  Scientists have also used an alternative, dimensional representation of those events.  Here evidence is presented favoring that alternative.

Dr. James A. Russell is a professor of psychology at Boston College.  He is known for his proposal of a dimensional account of emotion as an alternative to the prevalent taxonomy of discrete basic emotions.  In this pursuit, he and his colleagues have studied self-reports of emotion, facial expressions of emotion, and emotion concepts, especially as they develop during childhood.  Rather than prefabricated, emotion episodes are constructed on the fly to suit immediate circumstances.  The episode consists of multiple components such as core affect (dimensions of valence and arousal), appraisals (dimensions of evaluation of current circumstances), attributions, and goals and plans for behavior – all potentially independent.  His current project is a joint effect to test in remote indigenous societies the claim that certain facial expressions universally signal the basic emotions (results so far go against that claim).


Tanzeem Choudhury
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, USA

Abstract: TBD


Thomas R. Insel
Verily Life Sciences
San Francisco, CA, USA

Abstract: TBD