I'm a Master of Arts in Design with a specialization in Visual Commuication and a research focus on Emotion Visualization.

I'm a Master of Arts in Design with a specialization in Visual Commuication and a research focus on Emotion Visualization.


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Within my system of recording emotion, I use five dimensions in order to capture the more complicated process that occurs during the emotion experience. In 1896 German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt pioneered the dimensional-approach to emotion, but with only three dimensions:
1. Spannung (Strain) versus Lösung (Relaxation)
2. Lust (Pleasurable) versus Unlust (Unpleasurable)
3. Erregung (Arousing) versus Beruhigung (Subduing)

After Wundt, several researchers and psychologists have developed alternate dimensional models. Most of the dominant models are two-dimensional using Arousal and Valence (Bradley, Greenwald, Petry, and Lang, 1992 & Russell, 1980). Robert Plutchik’s three-dimensional model measures emotion through eight basic emotions (four pairs and their opposites) as well as the additional dimension of intensity (Plutchik, 2001). Both the PAD emotion state model and the Geneva Emotion Wheel introduce the dimension of control, sometimes referring to it as Dominance or Power (Mehrabian, 1980 & Scherer, 2005). In the release of the Geneva Emotion Wheel, Scherer published a list of characteristics that an instrument used to measure emotion should have in the future. One of those characteristics is the need for instruments (or a system) to go beyond the valence-arousal space in order to differentiate emotion states that share the same region, but are different experiences. He writes, "the appraisal dimensions that seem to have the strongest impact on emotion differentiation are goal conduciveness (including valence) and coping potential (control/power)”.

In an effort to start from scratch, I chose to begin using all of the dimensions that we a part of each major addition to the dimensional approach: Arousal, Valence, Intensity, Control and Conduciveness. As Scherer alludes, often Conduciveness positively correlates with Valence, so it was always an important effort through my self-tracking and my experiments with others to eventually discern whether Conduciveness was necessarily to keep. Up to this point in my research, I believe Conduciveness remains important to include if not for any other purpose than to encourage deeper reflection. The question of “did this feel good or not?,” which Valence asks is much different than the question of Conduciveness, “is this beneficial for who I want to be and how I want to feel?” Through the post-experiment interviews and workshops, I have found that participants and potential future users find Conduciveness to provide a valid nuance perspective in the recording of their emotion experiences.

Here are the five dimensions in my system and their descriptions:

Arousal should be thought of in terms of physiological changes that you are aware of, such as increased heart rate or sweating. The higher the arousal, the more desire you have to act on your emotions.

Conduciveness to Goals
Conduciveness is measured by the likelihood that the emotional experience will impact your overall goals. If an emotion yields a destructive behavior or consequences, than the conduciveness is low, as it is obstructive to your goals and future. The reverse is then also true: higher conduciveness represents an emotion that is constructive to your future.

Controllability is determined by whether or not you are able to change or influence the emotional experience - should you want to. Emotions such as Anger tend to be more dominant and therefore harder to control when desired.

An emotion is typically more intense when the stimulus which triggered the emotion is strong. The more serious the outcome of the event could be, the more intense the emotional experience. In terms of evolution, an organism experiences an emotion more intensely when their survival is on the line.

Valence is simply how „agreeable“ or "pleasant" the situation you‘re experiencing is. The higher the valence, the more pleasant the experience is and likely to have positive consequences - the lower, the more unpleasant and likelier to have negative consequences.