The Role of Emotional Clarity in Impressions of the Self and Others
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2007
Emotional Clarity refers to the ability to understand, label, and identify one’s specific emotions and may be crucial not only in the regulation and expression of emotions, but also in emotion-related judgments (Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, & Palfai, 1995). Low Emotional Clarity is associated with depression, rumination, and negative affect. Individuals low in Emotional Clarity may also avoid their emotions and distrust using them to inform their judgments (Gohm, 2003). Two studies were designed to explore whether individuals low in Emotional Clarity also appear to avoid emotions outside of directly experiencing them or whether they are instead more attuned to certain aspects of emotion. It was hypothesized that individuals low in Emotional Clarity would be more attuned to the emotion-relevant aspects of others and less attuned to emotion-relevant aspects of the self due to uncertainty in this domain. Furthermore, low Clarity was also expected to be associated with a greater accessibility of negatively valenced emotional information. Results showed that low Emotional Clarity was not associated with differential accessibility of emotion-relevant information regarding the self versus others. Instead individuals low in Emotional Clarity showed high accessibility of a subset of negative emotions and also more often considered negative emotions descriptive of people in general (the self and others). These results begin to provide a more specific framework for the role of Emotional Clarity in judgments and suggest that raising one’s Emotional Clarity may buffer against negative emotions.
ASC Undergraduate Honors Research Scholarship, Social and Behavioral Sciences Undergraduate Research Award