Advertisement

Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 31–44 | Cite as

Paradoxical Sadness

  • Jack W. Brehm
  • Beverly H. Brummett
  • Lisa Harvey
Article

Abstract

Three experiments were conducted to examine the theoretical prediction that the intensity of sadness is determined not only by the instigating event but also by factors that impede or deter the function or purpose of sadness. In the first two experiments, participants were asked to read a story designed to induce sadness, and were then given a $1, $2, or $3 gift. In both, reported sadness was higher for persons receiving a $2 gift than for those receiving either a $1 or $3 gift. However, the increase in sadness from the $1 to $2 group failed to reach an acceptable level of significance. In the second experiment, as expected, a $1 gift produced less sadness than did the story by itself, and as in the first experiment, a $2 gift resulted in more sadness than either a $1 or $3 gift. The third experiment replicated the $1 and $2 conditions and obtained a highly reliable effect; sadness was greater among those who received the $2 gift. Measures of positive affect suggested that participants experienced either sadness or positive feelings, not both.

Keywords

Social Psychology Theoretical Prediction Positive Affect Acceptable Level Positive Feeling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Arnold, M. B. (1969). Human emotion and action. In T. Mischel (Ed.), Human action: conceptual and empirical issues (pp. 167–197). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  2. Brehm, J. W. (1999). The intensity of emotion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3, 2–22.Google Scholar
  3. Brehm, J. W., & Brummett, B. H. (1998). The emotional control of behavior. In M. Kofta, G. Weary, & G. Sedek (Eds.), Personal control in action: Cognitive and motivational mechanisms (pp. 133–154). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  4. Brehm, J. W., & Self, E. A. (1989). The intensity of motivation. In M. R. Rosenzweig and L. W. Porter (Eds.), Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 40 (pp. 109–131). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews, Inc.Google Scholar
  5. Brehm, J. W., Wright, R. A., Solomon, S., Silka, L., & Greenberg, J. (1983). Perceived difficulty, energization, and the magnitude of goal valence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 19, 21–48.Google Scholar
  6. Brummett, B. H. (1996). The intensity of anger. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  7. Clore, G. L., Ortony, A., & Foss, M. A. (1987). The psychological foundations of the affective lexicon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 751–766.Google Scholar
  8. D'Anello, S. (1997). Increased happiness from monetary losses and problems with health. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  9. Duffy, E. (1941). An explanation of “emotional” phenomena without the use of the concept “emotion.” Journal of General Psychology, 25, 283–293.Google Scholar
  10. Frijda, N. H. (1986). The emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Leeper, R. W. (1948). A motivational theory of emotion to replace “emotion as a disorganized response.” Psychological Review, 55, 5–21.Google Scholar
  13. Roberson, B. F., & Wright, R. A. (1995). Difficulty as a determinant of interpersonal appeal: A social-motivational application of energization theory. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 15, 373–388.Google Scholar
  14. Russell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 1161–1178.Google Scholar
  15. Schwartz, G. E., Weinberger, D. A., & Singer, J. A. (1981). Cardiovascular differentiation of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear following imagery and exercise. Psychosomatic Medicine, 43, 343–364.Google Scholar
  16. Silvia, P. J., & Brehm, J. W. (1998). Deterrence and the intensity of sadness: Effects of expected humor and distraction. Manuscript under review, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  17. Storm, C., & Storm, T. (1987). A taxonomic study of the vocabulary of emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 805–816.Google Scholar
  18. Wright, R. A. (1996). Brehm's theory of motivation as a model of effort and cardiovascular response. In P. M. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of action (pp. 287–312). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  19. Wright, R. A., & Brehm, J. W. (1989). Energization and goal attractiveness. In L. Pervin (Ed.), Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology (pp. 169–210). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack W. Brehm
  • Beverly H. Brummett
  • Lisa Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasLawrence

Personalised recommendations