The Psychological Foundations of the Affective Lexicon

Gerald L. Clore*, Andrew Ortony, Mark A. Foss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Scopus citations


Subjects rated their confidence that each word from a set of 585 words referred to an emotion. As a strategy for discriminating words that refer to genuine emotions from words that refer to other kinds of conditions, ratings were collected in two different linguistic contexts: first, in the context of feeling something and second, in the context of being something. We hypothesized that words that referred to genuine emotions would be judged as such when presented in the context of feeling or being (e.g., feeling angry and being angry should both be rated as emotions). Words not referring to genuine emotions, however, were expected to show one of several other patterns. For example, words such as abandoned, which refer to objective states of the world, were expected to be rated as emotions in the feeling context but not in the being context. A discriminant analysis showed that such patterns could be used to distinguish the categories of a taxonomy of psychological conditions that Ortony, Clore, and Foss (1987) have proposed. The most discriminable categories were the four classes of affective, cognitive, external, and bodily conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-766
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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