Introduction: A standard model of affect suggests that affective space may be organized in terms of the orthogonal dimensions of affective valence and overall arousal. This model suggests that affect is bipolar and ranges from negative to positive. An alternative model suggests that a rotation of affective space identifies more fundamental dimensions: Energetic Arousal (associated with Positive Affect) and Tense Arousal (associated with Negative Affect). Both models observe that between-subjects the correlation of EA and TA is roughly zero. However, we report here that the within-subject correlations of EA and TA range from -.8 to +.8.
Method: Subjects were asked to fill out short mood scales every three hours during their waking day for a week followed after a break of two weeks with another week of data collection. In four studies this was done with a paper and pencil visual analogue scale for 8-16 mood items. In two studies this was done using "personal digital assistants" (Palm Pilots) programmed to query the subject every three hours. In two of the paper and pencil studies, subjects were also asked to do a simple reaction time task or simple memory task at five different times of day.
Results and Conclusion: Some people are characterized by high affective synchrony (overlapping experience of positive and negative moods), others by a-synchrony (positive and negative mood that fluctuate independently), while others still by dis-synchrony (positive and negative moods that function as bipolar opposites). We discuss the possible roots of this individual difference, its potential importance, and its implications to models of affect.
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