Emotional granularity is associated with daily experiential diversity

Emotional granularity is the ability to create differentiated and nuanced emotional experiences and is associated with positive health outcomes. Individual differences in granularity are hypothesized to reflect differences in emotion concepts, which are informed by prior experience and impact current and future experience. Greater variation in experience, then, should be related to the rich and diverse emotion concepts that support higher granularity. Using natural language processing methods, we analyzed descriptions of everyday events to estimate the diversity of contexts and activities encountered by participants. Across three studies varying in language (English, Dutch) and modality (written, spoken), we found that participants who referred to a more varied and balanced set of contexts and activities reported more differentiated and nuanced negative emotions. Experiential diversity was not consistently associated with granularity for positive emotions. We discuss the contents of daily life as a potential source and outcome of individual differences in emotion.

Hoemann, K., Lee, Y., Kuppens, P., Gendron, M., & Boyd, R. L. (2023). Emotional Granularity is Associated with Daily Experiential Diversity. Affective Science, 4(2), 291–306.