The hypothesis that there would be a consistently ordered sequence of basic emotion words in Spanish—a phenomenal claim—has been strongly corroborated on 103,184 emotion terms from a representative corpus of 188,975,000. The observed sequence of miedo, pena, sorpresa, alegría, rabia, desprecio and asco—linguistic exemplars of emotion “families” corresponding to fear, sadness, surprise, happiness, anger, contempt and disgust—is highly consistent diachronically (through current and modern Spanish), and synchronically (through various countries, among them—Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, USA and Venezuela). These results converge with evidence of emotion universals from cognitive psychology and neuroscience, as well as with predictions from functional approaches. By analogy with the colour-perception domain, it is proposed that this sequence be hypothesized as a ranking of psychological salience.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2007
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