Affective and cognitive validation of thoughts: an appraisal perspective on anger, disgust, surprise, and awe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Pablo Briñol
  • Richard Petty
  • Maria Stavraki
  • Benjamin Wagner
  • Dario Diaz

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Universidad de Castilla La-Mancha
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas College
  • Ohio State University


Anger, disgust, surprise, and awe are multifaceted emotions. Both anger and disgust are associated with feeling unpleasant as well as experiencing a sense of confidence, whereas surprise and awe tend to be more pleasant emotions that are associated with doubt. Most prior work has examined how appraisals (confidence, pleasantness) lead people to experience different emotions or to experience different levels of intensity within the same emotion. Instead, the current research focused on the consequences (rather the antecedents) of appraisals of emotion, and it focuses specifically on the consequences for thought usage rather than the consequences for generating many or few thoughts. We show that when these four emotions are induced following thought generation, thoughts can be used either more or less with each emotion depending on whether the pleasantness/unpleasantness or confidence/doubt appraisal is made salient. In five experiments, it was predicted and found that anger and disgust following thought generation led to more thought use than surprise and awe when a confidence appraisal for the emotion was encouraged, but led to less thought use than surprise and awe when a pleasantness appraisal was made salient. The current studies are the first to reveal that different appraisals can lead to different (even opposite) outcomes on thought usage within the same experimental design.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693–718
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018