Chapter 4: Cognitive Appraisal Theory

Strengths and Weaknesses of Cognitive Appraisal Theory

 The CPM and cognitive appraisal theory have many strengths.  One strength is that the theory is not confined to discrete categorical emotions, and thus can explain a wide range of emotional experiences.  This theory also explains why people may experience the same eliciting event but report different emotions.  Also, measuring the cognitive appraisals dimensionally allows us to find clear differences between emotions.


One weakness is that many cognitive appraisal dimensions exist.  For instance, Scherer (1997) identified eight appraisal dimensions!  And other researchers (Tong, 2015) have identified additional ones beyond Scherer’s eight. Another weakness is that assessing  quick, nonconscious appraisals can be difficult.  Finally, this theory does not answer whether we can experience an emotion without any appraisal at all!


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