Appraisal determinants of emotions: Constructing a more accurate and comprehensive theory

Ira J. Roseman, Ann Aliki Antoniou, Paul E. Jose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

455 Scopus citations


In order to move toward a more accurate, complete, and integrative theory of the causes of emotions, empirical evidence relevant to a recently proposed appraisal theory was examined, and hypotheses from several alternative appraisal theories were compared and tested. Given questions that focused on the cognitive causes of emotions rather than their phenomenological contents, 182 subjects rated the appraisal determinants of emotion experiences that they recalled. Results suggest that appraisals of unexpectedness (not unexpected/unexpected), situational state (motive-inconsistent/motiveconsistent), motivational state (aversive/appetitive), probability (uncertain/ certain), control potential (low/high), problem source (non-characterological/characterological factors), and agency (circumstances/other person/self), differentiate a large number of widely-discussed emotions. These results are used to formulate a revised, empirically grounded, and more comprehensive model that specifies which appraisals cause 17 different emotions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-278
Number of pages38
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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