A premature consensus: Are happiness and sadness truly opposite affects?

Eshkol Rafaeli*, William Revelle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Within the debate on the structure of affect, a consensus began emerging in the last decade regarding the bipolarity of happiness-sadness. We argue that this consensus is premature. Focusing on the psychometrics of momentary affect, particularly happiness and sadness, and using a simulation study, a large-scale data set, and 2 experiments manipulating affect, we plot a map of affective space that departs from the consensus. One key departure is the finding that happiness and sadness are not bipolar opposites. Another is that nonuniform skewness plays a major role in studies of affective structure, but can be addressed with appropriate analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Affect
  • Bipolarity
  • Circumplex
  • Mood
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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