This project investigates four central issues concerning the nature of neutral affect. Specifically, whether neutral affect is (a) a common experience, (b) dependent on positive and negative affect, (c) occurs at all levels of activation, and (d) is discriminable from other, seemingly similar, affective states. In three studies, participants rated their neutral affect (e.g., feeling indifferent) and affective states that occupy major regions of the affective circumplex. First, neutral affect was a commonly reported experience. Second, neutral affect was independent of and co-occurred with both positive and negative affect, as well as all the other affective states. Third, the activation measures were problematic. The tentative data indicated that neutral affect occurred across the activation dimension, but it was more reflective of a deactivated than activated state. Finally, neutral affect was discriminable from both negative and positive deactivated states. The paper concludes by providing some methodological and theoretical recommendations regarding the conceptualization of neutral affect.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology