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SAA’s Early Career Research Award

Katie Hoemann (KU Leuven) is the winner of the
SAA’s Early Career Research Award 2022!

We are looking forward to her exciting keynote contribution, a summary of which we present to you below in advance.

CONTEXT-AWARE EXPERIENCE SAMPLING REVEALS THE SCALE OF VARIATION
IN AFFECTIVE EXPERIENCE

Katie Hoemann*, Zulqarnain Khan*, Mallory Feldman, Catie Nielson, Madeleine Devlin, Jennifer Dy, Lisa Feldman Barrett,
Jolie B. Wormwood, & Karen S. Quigley

* shared first authorship

Emotion research typically searches for consistency and specificity in physiological activity across instances of an emotion category, such as anger or fear, yet even in-lab studies have observed more variation than expected. We adopt an alternative approach, searching inductively for structure within variation, both within and across participants as they go about their everyday lives. Participants completed a novel, biologically triggered experience sampling procedure, during which they wore devices that recorded peripheral physiological activity and physical movement, and were prompted to describe their current affective experience after substantive changes in cardiac activity in the absence of movement. Unsupervised clustering analyses revealed variability in the number and nature of patterns of physiological activity that recurred within individuals, as well as in the affect ratings and emotion labels associated with each pattern. There were also broad patterns that recurred across individuals. These findings are consistent with a constructionist account of emotion, which proposes that emotion categories are populations of variable instances tied to situation-specific needs.

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