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Author"s note.

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Barbara L. Fredrickson, department of Psychology and also Research center for team Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research, college of Michigan.
Correspondence worrying this post should be addressed to Barbara L. Fredrickson, room of Psychology, university of Michigan, 525 eastern University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109. Ude.hcimu

In this article, the author describes a new theoretical perspective on hopeful emotions and situates this new perspective within the emerging field of confident psychology. The broaden-and-build theory posits the experiences of positive emotions increase people"s short-lived thought-action repertoires, which consequently serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and also intellectual resources to social and also psychological resources. Preliminary empirical evidence supporting the broaden-and-build theory is reviewed, and open empirical inquiries that stay to it is in tested are identified. The theory and also findings suggest that the capacity to experience optimistic emotions may be a an essential human strength central to the examine of human being flourishing.


The mission of positive psychology is to understand and also foster the determinants that enable individuals, communities, and also societies to flourish (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). What role do optimistic emotions pat in this mission? On first consideration, the answer appears simple: confident emotions offer as markers of flourishing, or optimal well-being. Absolutely moments in people"s lives identified by experience of optimistic emotions—such as joy, interest, contentment, love, and the like—are moment in which they space not plagued by an unfavorable emotions—such together anxiety, sadness, anger, and despair. Continuous with this intuition, the as whole balance the people"s optimistic and an unfavorable emotions has been presented to predict your judgments that subjective wellness (Diener, Sandvik, & Pavot, 1991). Building on this finding, Kahneman (1999) said that “objective happiness” can ideal be measure by tracking (and later aggregating) people"s short-lived experiences of an excellent and negative feelings (but view Fredrickson, 2000c). Follow to these perspectives, positive emotions signal flourishing. But this is no the totality story: optimistic emotions likewise produce flourishing. Moreover, they execute so not merely within the present, pleasant moment however over the lengthy term as well. The take-home blog post is that positive emotions room worth cultivating, not just as end states in themselves but additionally as a method to achieving psychological growth and also improved wellness over time.

A testimonial of current perspectives on emotions, affect, and their respective features provides an essential backdrop. A selective review follows.


Perspectives on Emotions and Affect

Working definitions of emotions and impact vary somewhat throughout researchers. Yet in spite of ongoing dispute (e.g., Diener, 1999; Ekman & Davidson, 1994), consensus is emerging that emotions are however a subset that the more comprehensive class that affective phenomena. Emotions, follow to this perspective, are finest conceptualized together multicomponent solution tendencies that unfold over relatively short time spans. Typically, one emotion begins with an individual"s evaluate of the personal definition of part antecedent event. This appraisal procedure may it is in either mindful or unconscious, and it root cause a cascade of an answer tendencies manifest throughout loosely combination component systems, together as subjective experience, facial expression, cognitive processing, and also physiological changes.

Affect, a much more general concept, describes consciously easily accessible feelings. Although impact is current within emotions (as the component of subjective experience), it is additionally present within plenty of other affective phenomena, consisting of physical sensations, attitudes, moods, and also even affective traits. Thus, emotions are unique from influence in lot of ways. First, emotions room typically around some personally systematic circumstance (i.e., they have actually an object), whereas impact is regularly free-floating or objectless (Oatley & Jenkins, 1996; Russell & Feldman Barrett, 1999; Ryff & Singer, in press). Additionally, emotions are generally brief and implicate the multiple-component systems described above, whereas influence is often more long-lasting and also may be salient just at the level the subjective suffer (Ekman, 1994; Rosenberg, 1998; Russell & Feldman Barrett, 1999). Finally, emotions are often conceptualized together fitting right into discrete category of emotion families, favor fear, anger, joy, and interest. Affect, by contrast, is frequently conceptualized as differing along 2 dimensions, either pleasantness and activation (Russell & Feldman Barrett, 1999) or confident and negative emotional activation (Teilegen, Walson, & Clark, 1999).


Perspectives top top the functions of influence and Emotions

Positive affect, according to countless theorists, facilitates method behavior (Cacioppo, Gardner, & Berntson, 1999; Davidson, 1993; Watson, Wiese, Vaidya, & Teilegen, 1999) or continued action (Carver & Scheier, 1990; Clore, 1994). Native this perspective, experience of positive impact prompt people to engage with your environments and also partake in activities, numerous of which room adaptive for the individual, the species, or both. This link between positive affect and task engagement gives an explanation because that She often-documented positive offset, or the tendency for people to suffer mild positive affect frequently, also in neutral contexts (Diener & Diener, 1996; Ito & Cacioppo, 1999). Without such an offset, people most often would it is in unmotivated to communicate with your environments. Yet v such an offset, individuals exhibit the adaptive prejudice to approach and also explore novel objects, people, or situations. (See Watson et al., 1999, for a connected explanation because that diurnal trends of positive emotional activation.)

Because confident emotions incorporate a ingredient of positive affect, castle too duty as inner signals to approach or continue. Also so, positive emotions re-publishing this duty with a range of other optimistic affective states. Sensory pleasure, for instance, motivates people to approach and continue consuming everything stimulus is biologically useful for them in ~ the moment (Cabanac, 1971). Likewise, free-floating optimistic moods motivate human being to continue along any type of line of thinking or activity that they have actually initiated (Clore, 1994). As such, functional accounts of positive emotions that emphasize tendencies to technique or continue may only catch the lowest common denominator throughout all affective claims that re-publishing a pleasant subjective feel, leaving added functions unique to certain positive emotions uncharted.

Discrete emotion thinkers often link the role of details emotions to the principle of specific activity tendencies (Frijda, 1986; Frijda, Kuipers, & Schure, 1989; Lazarus, 1991; Levenson, 1994; Oatley & Jenkins, 1996; Tooby & Cosmides, 1990). Fear, because that example, is connected with the urge to escape, anger v the urge to attack, disgust through the advice to expel, and also so on. It is no that civilization invariably act out these urges once feeling particular emotions. Rather, people"s ideas about possible courses of activity narrow in top top a specific collection of behavior options. A key idea indigenous this perspective is the a particular action tendency is what provides an feeling evolutionarily adaptive: these are amongst the actions that presumably worked best in helping human ancestors endure life-or-death instances (Tooby & Cosmides, 1990). Another crucial idea from trie details emotions perspective is that particular action tendencies and also physiological alters go hand in hand. So, because that example, as soon as someone experiences an urge to escape when feeling fear, that person"s body reacts by mobilizing appropriate autonomic support for the opportunity of running (Levenson, 1994).

Although certain action tendencies have been invoked to describe the function of specific posiiive emotions together well, the action tendencies determined for hopeful emotions are significantly vague and also underspecified (Fredrickson & Levenson, 1998). Because that instance, joy has been linked with aimless activation, interest with attending, and contentment v inactivity (Frijda, 1986). These tendencies are far too basic to be called particular (Fredrickson, 1998). Castle resemble share urges to carry out anything or do nothing more than urges to execute something rather specific, prefer flee, attack, or spit. This is troublesome: If the activity tendencies prompted by hopeful emotions are vague, their results on survival might be inconsequential. So, prefer the view focused on generic strategy tendencies, the view focused on specific action tendencies returns an incomplete analysis of the function of positive emotions.


The Broaden-and-Build concept of confident Emotions

To breakthrough understanding in this area, ns formulated a new theoretical version to better capture the distinctive effects of hopeful emotions. I call this the broaden-and-buiid theory that posiiive emotions (Fredrickson, 1998). This theory states that specific discrete positive emotions—including joy, interest, contentment, pride, and love—although phenomenologically distinct, all share the ability to expand people"s momentary thought-action repertoires and also build your enduring personal resources, varying from physical and also intellectual resources to social and psychological resources.

I comparison this new theory (o timeless models based on particular action tendencies. Specific action tendencies job-related well to define the function of negative emotions and should be kept for models that this subset that emotions. There is no loss that theoretical nuance, a certain action tendency can it is in redescribed as the result of a psychological process that narrows a person"s momentary thought–action arsenal by calling to mind an urge to plot in a particular means (e.g., escape, attack, expel). In a life-threatening situation, a small thought–action repertoire promotes quick and also decisive activity that dead direct and also immediate benefit. Certain action tendencies dubbed forth by negative emotions represent the sort of plot that likely worked ideal to save human ancestors" lives and also limbs in similar situations.

Although hopeful emotions can happen in adverse circumstances, the typical context of optimistic emotions is not a life-threatening situation. As such, a psychological process that narrows a person"s short-term thought-action collection to encourage quick and also decisive action may not be needed. Instead, the optimistic emotions that joy, interest, contentment, pride, and love show up to have actually a security effect: They increase people"s short-lived thought-action repertoires, widening the selection of the thoughts and actions that concerned mind (Fredrickson, 1998; Fredrickson & Branigan, 2001). Conceptual analyses the a variety of positive emotions support this claim. Joy, for instance, expands by developing the urge to play, push the limits, and also be creative. This urges are noticeable not just in social and physical behavior, but likewise in intellectual and artistic habits (Ellsworth & Smith, 1988; Frijda, 1986). Interest, a phenomenologically distinctive positive emotion, broadens by producing the urge to explore, take it in brand-new information and also experiences, and also expand the self in the process (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Izard, 1977; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Tomkins, 1962). Contentment, a third distinct positive emotion, increases by creating the advice to savor current life circumstances and integrate these circumstances into brand-new views of self and of the people (Izard, 1977). Pride, a fourth unique positive emotion that follows an individual achievements, expands by creating the advice to re-publishing news the the achievement with others and to envision even greater success in the future (Lewis, 1993). Love, conceptualized together an amalgam of distinct positive emotions (e.g., joy, interest, contentment) proficient within contexts that safe, close relationships (Izard, 1977), expands by producing recurring cycles that urges to play with, explore, and also savor experiences v loved ones. These various thought-action tendencies—to play, to explore, come savor and also integrate, or come envision future achievement—each represent means that hopeful emotions broaden habitual modes of reasoning or acting (Fredrickson, 1998,2000a; Fredrickson & Branigan, 2001).

In contrast to an unfavorable emotions, which carry direct and also immediate adaptive services in cases that threaten survival, the increased thought-action repertoires triggered by hopeful emotions are helpful in other ways. Specifically, these broadened perspectives carry indirect and long-term adaptive benefits due to the fact that broadening builds enduring an individual resources, which function as reserves to be drawn on later to manage future threats.

Take play, the urge associated with joy, as an example. Animal research has discovered that details forms that chasing play obvious in juveniles that a species, like running into a functional sapling or branch and catapulting oneself in an unanticipated direction, are seen in adult of that varieties exclusively throughout predator avoidance (Dolhinow, 1987). Together correspondences indicate that youth play build enduring physical sources (Boulton & Smith, 1992; Caro, 1988). Play likewise builds enduring social resources: social play, with its shared amusement, excitement, and smiles, builds lasting society bonds and attachments (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000; Lee, 1983; Simons, McCluskey-Fawcett, & Papini, 1986), i m sorry can become the locus of succeeding social support. Childhood play also builds enduring pundit resources by boosting levels of creative thinking (Sherrod & Singer, 1989), creating theory of mind (Leslie, 1987), and fueling mind development (Panksepp, 1998). Other optimistic emotions, prefer interest, contentment, pride, and love, similarly augment individuals" personal resources, varying from physical and social resources to intellectual and psychological resources. (Fuller descriptions of the broaden-and-build concept are obtainable in Fredrickson, 1998, 2000a, in press; Fredrickson & Branigan, 2001.)

It is crucial to keep in mind that the personal resources accrued during states of hopeful emotions are conceptualized as durable. They outlast the transient emotional states that brought about their acquisition. By consequence, then, the frequently incidental result of suffering a positive emotion is an increase in one"s an individual resources. This resources function as to make reservation that have the right to be drawn on in subsequent moments and also in different emotional states.

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In short, the broaden-and-build theory defines the kind of confident emotions in state of broadened thought–action repertoires and describes their duty in terms of building enduring an individual resources. In law so, the theory gives a new perspective on the evolved adaptive significance of hopeful emotions. Person ancestors who yielded to the urges sparked by confident emotions come play, explore, and so ~ above would have by consequence accrued an ext personal resources. As soon as these exact same ancestors later confronted inevitable dangers to life and limb, your greater personal resources would have translated into greater odds the survival, and, in turn, better odds of living long enough to reproduce. To the extent, then, that the capacity to experience hopeful emotions is gene encoded, this capacity, through the process of natural selection, would have actually become component of universal person nature.