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Spörrle, Matthias; Alves de Paula Wesemann, Luciana (July 2009): Not just another aspect of pleasure: Functionality as a distinct component of emotions. 11th European Congress of Psychology, 07. - 10. Juli 2009, Oslo, Norwegen.


According to Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT, Ellis, 1985; Ellis & DiGiuseppe, 1993) functionality is the central criterion when distinguishing between adaptive and maladaptive emotions. Hereby, adaptive emotions signify appropriate responses to an eliciting event, whereas, maladaptive emotions signify inappropriate reactions. This research examines relevant characteristics of emotions (i.e., pleasure, arousal, duration, influence on life, and typicality) as potential predictors of functionality. In Study 1 (N= 96) using single item measures results indicated that pleasure and arousal had a significant predictive value on functionality, whereas the predictive value of the other dimensions was limited. Study 2 (N= 240) widely confirmed these results by using different psychometrically more reliable scales. In both studies all predictors explained less than 30% of the variance of functionality. Functionality should be regarded as a predominantly independent characteristic of emotions, which is partially associated with pleasure and arousal.