What More Is There to Emotion Concepts Than Prototypes?

Gerald L. Clore*, Andrew Ortony

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Russell's principal claim is that a characterization of emotion concepts in terms of prototypes offers the most fruitful approach to understanding emotion. He contrasts this position with the classical view that emotion categories have necessary and sufficient conditions. The focal issue concerns whether the two views of emotion concepts that Russell contrasts really are incompatible. Reasons are offered for supposing that concepts in general embody both representations of prototypes and of theory-laden information, some of which might be compatible with a classical view. The proposal is made that the primary utility of the prototype representation is as a heuristic for the identification of instances, whereas other parts of the conceptual representation support reasoning and explanation processes, as well as providing a backup for cases in which the similarity-to-the-prototype heuristic fails.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-50
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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