This article reports on a redefinition and a new operationalisation of the construct of emotional understanding based on the componential emotion approach. Emotional understanding was redefined as the ability to understand the likely emotional processes (i.e., appraisals, action tendencies, bodily reactions, expressions, and subjective feelings) that emerge when a person encounters goal-relevant events. In all, 10 emotions were identified to represent the variability in the emotion domain. For each emotion, a scenario was constructed that typically elicits that emotion. For each scenario, participants had to rate the likelihood of five emotions, five appraisals, five action tendencies, five bodily reactions, five expressions, and five subjective feelings. The new instrument, the Components of Emotional Understanding Test–South African Student version, was administered to 132 undergraduate students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the expected one-factorial structure. Emotional understanding correlated positively with verbal cognitive ability, self-report emotional intelligence, and well-being and was negatively correlated with somatic complaints. Moreover, women outscored men, and no difference was observed between respondents with Black African and White cultural backgrounds.
South African Journal of Psychology – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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