Mixed Emotions: Toward a Phenomenology of Blended and Multiple Feelings

Christopher L. Heavey*, Noelle L. Lefforge, Leiszle Lapping-Carr, Russell T. Hurlburt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


After using descriptive experience sampling to study randomly selected moments of inner experience, we make observations about feelings, including blended and multiple feelings. We observe that inner experience usually does not contain feelings. Sometimes, however, feelings are directly present. When feelings are present, most commonly they are unitary. Sometimes people experience separate emotions as a single experience, which we call a blended feeling. Occasionally people have multiple distinct feelings present simultaneously. These distinct multiple feelings can be of opposite valence, with one pleasant and the other unpleasant. We provide examples that inform theories of emotions and discuss the important role observational methodology plays in the effort to understand inner experience including feelings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-110
Number of pages6
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • descriptive experience sampling
  • feelings
  • inner experience
  • mixed emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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