Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 370–392 | Cite as

“Tears of joy” and “tears and joy?” personal accounts of dimorphous and mixed expressions of emotion

  • Oriana R. AragónEmail author
Original Paper


In this investigation two distinct theoretical frameworks were applied to personal accounts of experiencing both smiles and crying, informally referred to as “tears of joy.” Dimorphous theory posits that such expressions arise from a positive or negative appraisal, and a single corresponding emotional experience. In contrast, mixed emotions theoretically arise from simultaneous positive and negative appraisals, positive and negative emotions, which might also culminate in two expressions of emotion. Across three experimental studies participants were exposed to a positive story, or a story with mixed positive and negative aspects. Participants reported on their appraisals, emotions, and personal accounts of their expressions. Explicit, freely-written, and implicit measures, as well as participants’ own explanations for their reported smiling and crying all converged on patterns supporting both dimorphous and mixed expressions of emotion. Data suggest the subjective experience of both “tears of joy” and “tears and joy.”


Emotion Dimorphous expression Mixed emotions Emotion expression 

Supplementary material

11031_2017_9606_MOESM1_ESM.docx (118 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 119 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Marketing DepartmentClemson University College of BusinessClemsonUSA

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