Chapter 5: Dimensional Models

Summary of Early Dimensional Theories

Woodworth and Schlosberg were the first to suggest that emotions could be measured on a continuum.  They showed how emotional experiences could be reduced to a smaller number of dimensions.  In addition, they found that people often confused the facial expressions of similar emotions, providing evidence against the categorical basic emotion perspective.

One limitation of these early models is that the models focused on interpretation of facial expressions and ignored other components such as subjective feelings.  In addition, Woodworth and Schlosberg disagreed on how many dimensions existed (an argument still prevalent today!). A review of the circumplex model misses many important emotions – such as sadness and shame. Finally, the theories were not based on sound statistical analyses, mainly because computers did not exist in the 1940’s.




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Psychology of Human Emotion by Michelle Yarwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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