2012. Vol.3, No.12, 1018-1026
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Instrumentalizing Cognitive Dissonance Emotions
Marie-Claude Bonniot-Cabanac1, Michel Cabanac1, José F. Fontanari2,
Leonid I. Perlovsky3
1Department of Psychiatry & Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
2Instituto de F´ısica de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos SP, Brazil
3Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Harvard University, Charlestown, USA
Received September 22nd, 2012; revised October 18th, 2012; accepted November 16th, 2012
Many psychologists think that there are few basic emotions, and most emotions are combinations of these
few. Here we advance a hypothesis that the number of principally different emotions is near infinite. We
consider emotions as mental states with hedonic content, indicating satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Basic
emotions correspond to bodily signals, and there are relatively few of them. Our hypothesis is that a large
number of emotions are related to the knowledge instinct (KI, or a need for knowledge). KI drives the
mind to fit mental representations to cognitive experiences and to resolve mental contradictions. Discom-
fort due to holding contradictory knowledge elements are known as cognitive dissonances. We emphasize
that cognitive dissonances involve specific emotions. The number of cognitive dissonances is combinato-
rial in terms of elements of knowledge. Correspondingly, the number of these knowledge-related emo-
tions is very large. We report experimental results on measuring these emotions and indicating that emo-
tions of cognitive dissonance exist. We also make a step toward proving that these emotions are different
from basic emotions in principle, and outline future research directions toward proving that their number
is large.
Keywords: Cognitive Dissonance Emotions; Basic Emotions; Instrumentalizing; Basic Emotions
Emotions are topics of much discussion in psychological lit-
erature, their mechanisms and functions are subjects of contro-
versy (Ekman, 1999; Juslin & Västfjäll, 2008). Psychological
functions of emotions have been related to social functioning
and associated with facial expressions (Ekman, 1957), emotions
have been related to survival (Plutchik, 1962), and to mental
states (Ortony et al., 1987). Belief-desire theory of emotions
has been developed in (Gratch et al., 2009; Reisenzein, 2009).
Emotions have been argued to perform appraisals of concepts
and events (Bechara et al., 2004; Damasio et al., 1994; Scherer
et al., 2001), although the question of phylogenic emergence of
emotions vs. mental representations of events has not been ade-
quately addressed in literature (Cabanac et al., 2009). Emotions
have been associated with creativity (Perlovsky, 2010g;
Festinger, 1957). We consider emotions as mental states with
hedonic content (Cabanac, 2002) that indicates satisfaction and
dissatisfaction of instinctual drives (Grossberg & Levine, 1987).
Usually psychologists study basic emotions (Ekman, 1999);
there are several proposals as to the nature of basic emotions,
and their number varies among authors from two to a dozen
(Plutchik, 1980; Tooby & Cosmides, 1990; Lazarus, 1991,
Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 1992; Ekman, 1999; Ortony & Turner,
1990; Izard, 1992). We consider basic emotions as related to
bodily instincts and named by specific words. There are few
different basic emotions, much fewer than emotional words
(Petrov et al., 2012). Most psychologists consider other emo-
tions as combinations of the basic emotions (Plutchik, 1962;
Ekman, 1999; Ortony & Turner, 1990; Izard, 1992).
We would emphasize that basic emotions unify human and
animal worlds. But what is the origin of the wealth of specifi-
cally human emotional experience, such as emotions of the
beautiful and sublime, musical emotions, and emotions we
perceive in songs and language prosody (Perlovsky, 2000, 2001,
2010a, 2010b, 2011c, 2011e, 2011g)? We disagree that they are
just mixtures of few basic emotions. We suggest that the num-
ber of fundamentally different human emotions is much larger
than the number of emotional words.
Most of human emotions are related to knowledge; they are
called aesthetic emotions since (Kant, 1790). We suggest that
they are related to satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the knowl-
edge instinct (KI) (Perlovsky, 1997, 2001, 2006a, 2006b, 2007a,
2007b, 2007c, 2008, 2010c, 2010d, 2010e, Perlovsky, Bon-
niot-Cabanac et al., 2012; Levine & Perlovsky, 2008, 2010),
and are inseparable from learning and cognition (Perlovsky &
Ilin, 2012a, 2012b; Tikhanoff et al., 2006; Kovalerchuk, 2012;
Vityaev et al., 2011). Existence of these emotions have experi-
mentally been demonstrated in (Bonniot-Cabanac & Cabanac,
2009; Bonniot-Cabanac et al., 2012, Perlovsky & Ilin, 2010).
They are related to the arts, the beautiful and sublime (Per-
lovsky, 2000, 2001, 2002a, 2002b, 2010a, 2010f, 2010g, 2011a,
2011b, 2011f, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c, 2012d, 2012e, 2012i,
2012j, 2012k).
Here we concentrate on aesthetic emotions related to cogni-
tive dissonances (CD) (Festinger, 1957). In the CD theory a
discomfort due to contradictions in knowledge has been con-
sidered as a non-differentiated state. Emotions related to CD
have not been studied. Here we emphasize that a contradiction
between any two elements of knowledge is a separate mental
state with its own CD emotion. This is a reason for a large
number of CD and the corresponding emotions. Every combi-
nation of two or more elements of knowledge contains some
degree of contra- diction among these elements (Perlovsky,
2004, 2009a, 2009b, 2009c, 2010a, 2012b, 2012d, 2012e, 2012f,
2012g, 2012h, 2012i).
It is discussed in these references that cognitive dissonances
are uniquely human phenomena. Evolution of knowledge abili-
ties in animals was slow, and no contradiction in the system of
knowledge evolved. In animals’ mind, conceptual understand-
ing of a situation, its emotional evaluation, and appropriate
behavior are a single unified psychic state. In the human mind,
with evolution of language, differentiation of human knowledge
accelerated (Fontanari et al., 2007, 2008a, 2008b, 2009; Tikha-
nov et al., 2006). This differentiation lead to cognitive disso-
nances, a loss of the unity of self, and potential lost of concen-
tration of will. Those of our ancestors, who could differentiate
the knowledge about the world while maintaining concentration
of will, received evolutionary advantage. Therefore emotions
unifying contradictions in knowledge had to evolve along with
language. As language and culture were evolving into a power-
ful system with tremendous differentiation of knowledge about
the world and self, the number of contradictions grew combi-
natorially (Perlovsky, 2004, 2006c, 2010a, 2012e). Every com-
bination of conceptual pieces of knowledge led to its own
shades of contradictions. Therefore, maintaining motivation for
this diversified knowledge required virtually infinite number of
shades of motivations. Knowledge elements acquired from
surrounding language contradict to bodily instincts and to each
other. Continuing evolution of language and knowledge re-
quired resolution of these contradictions. The resolution of CD
required emotions, potentially a unique emotion for each dis-
sonance (Perlovsky, Cabanac et al., 2012; Perlovsky & Levine,
2012). Existence and nature of these emotions is explored in
this paper, both experimentally and theoretically.
Aesthetic emotions related to cognitive dissonances can be
illustrated in the following examples. Consider an emotion
related to a mental effort of making a choice if one receives
offers of positions at Harvard and Stanford. Each offer would
be considered great by many people, and would result in highly
positive emotions; these emotions would be mostly basic emo-
tions related to satisfaction of basic needs and aspirations. But
making the choice between the two offers could be difficult and
evoke negative emotions. For many people it could be an ex-
cruciatingly painful decision. Making important life choices,
concerning place of living or job, even between wonderful al-
ternatives, could be difficult. Thus basic emotions associated
with each alternative have nothing to do with mental effort of
choice. This proves the main hypothesis of this paper: Emo-
tions of CD are different from basic emotions. A first step to-
ward exploring this possibility is a hypothesis that the number
of CD emotions is much larger than the number of basic emo-
However, there are no methods of measuring CD emotions.
Whereas basic emotions are named with specific words, there
are no words for CD emotions. Therefore the main goal of this
paper is to instrumentalize CD emotions, in other words to
develop experimental methods for their exploration. The fol-
lowing parts of the paper investigate properties of aesthetic
emotional spaces. Even minute decisions, seemingly effortless,
still require some emotional effort. To make a choice, any
choice, one has to have a motivation, therefore, an emotion.
Even most simple everyday choices between “tea or coffee”,
“red or white wine”, create minute cognitive dissonances, and
related emotions. These kinds of emotions are considered be-
low. The primary goal of the following parts of this paper is to
explore experimental methods “instrumentalizing” aesthetic
emotions of cognitive dissonances, demonstrating that these
emotions exist, can be experimentally measured, and to initiate
scientific research of their properties.
Experimental Method
This study followed a classical psychologic method that ex-
plored mental experience in interviews where participants an-
swered printed questionnaires (Bonniot-Cabanac & Cabanac,
2009, 2010; Balasko & Cabanac, 1998; Cabanac et al., 1997,
2002; Cabanac & Bonniot-Cabanac, 2007; Ramirez et al., 2005,
2009; Perlovsky, Bonniot-Cabanac et al., 2012). Thirty four
anonymous participants (who were referred to by numbers
only), 17 men (age 12 - 70) and 17 women (age 16 - 72) were
presented two questionnaires each containing ten items. Both
questionnaires presented the same items, but the participant was
asked to rate hedonicity from one and intensity from the other.
All items described a decision to be made among two conflict-
ing motivations and the participant was to rate analogically the
magnitude of her/his experience.
Hedonicity was explored by the first questionnaire—Ques-
tionnaire H: a horizontal line was present below the item with a
zero on its middle, a minus () sign at the left end and a plus (+)
sign at the right end. The participant was to pencil a small ver-
tical mark on the right side of that line if the feeling was pleas-
ant, or on the left side if unpleasant. The experienced hedonic
feeling would be indicated by the distance from the middle
(zero mark) of the line.
The second questionnaire—Questionnaire E—explored emo-
tion: as before, a horizontal line was present below the item but
with the zero mark on its left end. The participant was to pencil
a small vertical mark at that line rating the intensity of the ex-
perienced feeling. The distance from the zero mark would indi-
cate the magnitude of the experience. After rating the magni-
tude of the emotion the participant wrote one word describing
the nature of the experienced emotion, e.g., curiosity, surprise,
joy, indifference, anger, etc. 33 of the 34 participants responded
with the emotion word.
The hedonic and magnitude feelings were measured quanti-
tatively in millimeters as well as recorded semantically. Ques-
tionnaires E and H were presented separately over time varied
from about one hour to half a day, depending on the availabil-
ity of the participant. This was done in order to minimize a
possible influence of answering one questionnaire on the re-
sponse to the other questionnaire. The first questionnaire was
presented in the morning period while keeping the gender of the
participants balanced, and the second questionnaire was pre-
sented in the afternoon.
Decisions to be made were described by ten items covering a
broad range of motivations, from minor decisions in the daily
life (e.g., how about movie or theatre for tonight?) to clear but
non-vital problems (e.g., would you go for a high-gain but risky
investment or for a low-gain but secure one?) and finally to
vital problems (e.g., would you go for radical surgery or for
life-long therapy to treat a severe illness?). This ten items are
presented in the appendix).
Analysis of the Data
The degree of arousal E takes on positive values only
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1019
whereas the degree of pleasure H can take on positive as well as
negative values,
E0,1 and
H1,1 .
Characterizing emotions by two-dimensional space of
arousal and pleasure corresponds to model (Russell, 1980,
1989). The data are presented in Figure 1 where the symbols
indicate the values of the arousal E and pleasure H for the 340
points corresponding to the 10 choice questions of the 34 sub-
A different characterization of the data in Figures 2 and 3
shows distributions and of the arousal and
pleasure degrees. The normalization is such that
340 
 . One can see that the subjects’ answers
are well balanced. The mean values of these distributions yield
<E> = 0.417 and <H> = 0.058. The mean value <E> can be
used to separate the regime high arousal (E > <E>) from low
arousal (E < <E>). For the degree of pleasure we can average
the absolute value of H. We find <|H|> = 0.423. This can be
used to define the regimes of high pleasure, H > <|H|> and high
displeasure, H < <|H|>.
These figures show the raw data, which now are interpreted
and analyzed.
Figure 1.
Scatter plot of the arousal and pleasure degrees. For each one of the 34
subjects and for each question we represent the measured degrees of
arousal and pleasure as the coordinates (E, H) of a point in a two-di-
mensional space. The Roman numerals indicate the location of the
emotion classes defined according to Table 1).
Figure 2.
Histogram of the distribution of values of the arousal measure E shown
in the scatter plot of Figure 1 using a bin of size 0.02. The mean of this
distribution is indicated by the vertical green line.
Figure 3.
Histogram of the distribution of values of the arousal measure H shown
in the scatter plot of Figure 1 using a bin of size 0.02. The mean of this
distribution is 0.058. Here the symmetric vertical green lines indicate
the mean and the negative mean of the absolute value of H.
The Arousal-Hedonicity Correlation
Our previous analysis, indicate a strong correlation between
the degrees of arousal (E) and pleasure (H). Figure 4 presents
these correlations for the 34 subjects that have completed the
questionnaires (red crosses). We also show correlations ob-
tained in the case E and H are chosen randomly and uniformly
in the ranges [0,1] and [1.1], respectively (green x). The hori-
zontal lines located at 13
delimit region bounded by one
standard deviation in the case E and H are independent random
variables. We expect that on average about 32% of the correla-
tion values would lay outside this region. For the random sam-
ple illustrated in the figure, only 21% of the values are outside
those boundaries whereas 47% of the correlation values associ-
ated to the subjects’ choices lay outside the one-standard devia-
tion region. This indicates that the actual data are significantly
more correlated than the random ones. We have studied the
correlation between E and the absolute value of H, i.e., Covα(E,
|H|), for each participant α, and the results were qualitatively
similar to those exhibited in Figure 4.
An interesting result revealed by Figure 4 is the enormous
variation of the arousal-pleasure correlation among the subjects.
For example, for the subject , arousal and pleasure are
maximally correlated whereas for subject these quan-
tities as maximally uncorrelated. This result casts doubts on any
conclusion based on the averaging over different subjects. Ac-
tually, if one averages the correlations over the 34 subjects we
αE,H 340Cor .132
which is within the one-
standard deviation zone of the random model.
A positive correlation indicates that the deviations of the
pleasure and arousal degrees from the correspondent subject’s
means are in the same direction. It is interesting that the sub-
ject-dependent mean degrees of arousal and pleasure, α
α, respectively, vary wildly among subjects, reflect-
ing perhaps the personality and life-experience of them. These
quantities are show in Figure 5.
The Emotion Words
As mentioned, 33 participants described the emotions they
felt by a single emotion word. They used a total of 78 different
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Figure 4.
Correlations between arousal and pleasure as defined in Equations (1)
and (2) for each one of the 34 subjects (red crosses). The green x sym-
bols illustrate an outcome when the arousal and pleasure degrees are
chosen randomly. The dashed horizontal lines, which are located at
13, indicate one standard deviation of the correlation for the ran-
dom case.
Figure 5.
Mean degree of arousal (red crosses) and mean degree of pleasure
(green x’s) for each subject. These means are calculated averaging over
the measured values of E’s and H’s for the ten choice questions. The
dashed horizontal lines indicate the average of these mean values over
the 34 subjects.
emotion words for the 330 choice questions, which means that
on the average each word was used 4 times. Considering that
many of these words are synonymous or have very close
meanings which could not be tell apart unless by an ex-
perienced psychologist, which was not the case of any of the
participants, we decided to group the emotion words in 18
classes as described in Table 1. The numbers in the column
Frequency indicate how many times a word in the cor-
responding class was used by the participants.
First, we address the issue of whether the subjects used these
emotion words or, more correctly, classes, in a coherent way, in
the sense that we expect that many participants use words
within the same class to describe their emotions for a given
choice question. To quantify this expectation, we calculate the
probability that one selects two participants at random and they
describe their emotions by words belonging to the same class
Table 1.
Basic emotion words and frequency of their use by participants to de-
scribe their CD emotions.
ClassWords Frequency
I Joy, pleasure, satisfaction, delight, enthusiasm,
elation, excitement, luck, fun, well-being 67
II Desire, greed 12
III Indifference, minor interest, boredom 57
IV Discomfort, embarrassment, uneasiness, distress,
impatience, guilt, anguish, displeasure, disarray 33
V Interest, curiosity, motivation, purpose, puzzling29
VI Surprise 9
VII Hope, anticipation, expectation, waiting 32
VIII Rejection, repulsion 3
IX Furor, anger, wrath, irritation, indignation 9
X Serenity, relaxation, relief, safety, comfort 11
XI Sadness, nostalgia, fatalism, patience, weariness 7
XII Concern, anxiety, fear, stress, nervousness, think-
ing, exasperated, doh! 31
XIII Hesitation, incertitude, indecision, uncertainty,
unbelief, swindle 10
XIV Disappointment, frustration, despair, disgust, dis-
couragement, perplexity 9
XV Challenge, difficulty 2
XVI Contempt, disdain 6
XVIISolidarity, commitment 2
XVIIICourage 1
for the same choice question k = 1, ···, 10. We recall that in this
part of the experiment there are a total of 33 participants who
can form 528 different pairs. So the desired probability is esti-
mated by counting the number of pairs of subjects who choose
words in the same class for each question k = 1, ···, 10 and di-
viding by 528. In Table 2 we show the results together with a
realization of the random situation in which the subjects pick
the classes I, ···, XVIII with probability proportional to the
frequencies exhibited in Table 1.
Our goal has been to demonstrate that basic emotion words
selected by participants do not adequately characterize their
feelings of choice. If the probabilities in each column would be
comparable this would be sufficient for our purpose. However,
for 8 out of 10 cases real data result in a higher probability than
the random model. Does it mean that basic emotions selected
by subjects reflect the real difference in their feeling of choice?
This psychological question, however cannot be answered from
existing data. We have to acknowledge that if non-random
probabilities from actual data are higher than random one, there
could be emotional or other reasons affecting the choice non-
randomly. Therefore this test works only one way: if there is no
statistically significant difference between the columns, that
means that there is no emotional difference either. However, if
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1021
the difference is statistically significant, we could not infer the
psychological reason, and could only conclude that the test
requires improvement.
The next step is to analyze statistical significance of the dif-
ferences. We averaged columns 2 and 3 in Table 2. The aver-
aged probabilities for real data (column 2) and for the random
model (column 3) are Pd = 0.1670 and Pr = 0.1062. The data
probability is larger than the random one. Is this difference
statistically significant? We approach this by generating 105
random realizations similar to shown in the third column of
Table 2 and computed their mean and standard deviation (of
the probability distribution of Pr). The results are = 0.1108 and
σr = 0.004. Hence Pd is 14 standard deviations away from Pr,
which means we can safely discard the possibility that the as-
signment of the emotion words to the choice questions were
random. We would repeat again that psychological interpreta-
tions of these results so far remain uncertain.
As the next step we verify whether and how the emotion-
word classes presented in Table 1 are related to the degrees of
arousal and pleasure. A simple way to approach this issue is to
draw the histograms of the degrees of arousal and pleasure
associated to a fixed emotion-word class. This is done in Fig-
ures 6-8 for emotion words in classes I, V and XII, respectively.
(These figures can be compared with Figures 2 and 3, for
which all classes are included.) The means and the standard
deviations for each one of the 18 classes are presented in Table
This table illustrates the inadequacy of characterizing emo-
tions solely through the degrees of arousal and pleasure. In fact,
in Figure 1 we show where the “centers of mass” of each class
are located in the (E, H) space. We have omitted class XVIII
because it overlaps with class VI. In addition, classes XI, XII,
XIII and XIV are also too close to each other. The usefulness of
such a representation is to get some insight about the similarity
between emotions. Negative emotions represented by words in
classes IV, VIII, XI-XIV, and XVI are close to each other. It is
interesting that among these negative emotions contempt (XVI)
is the closest to repulsion (VIII). It is also a welcome surprise
that emotions such as curiosity (V), surprise (VI) and courage
Table 2.
Estimated probabilities of participants picking emotional word classes
for each question, averaged over participants. Actual data are in column
2 and simulated random data are in column 3.
k Data Random
1 0.1648 0.0739
2 0.2102 0.1382
3 0.1534 0.0909
4 0.2898 0.0682
5 0.1326 0.1345
6 0.1837 0.0966
7 0.1061 0.1439
8 0.1932 0.1136
9 0.1439 0.0947
10 0.0928 0.1079
(XVIII) are also overlapping in the (E, H) space. There is defi-
nitely much to learn from such a representation but our statis-
tics is still too poor to make any conclusive claim about the
similarity between choice emotions. It is known from other
studies specifically concentrated on basic emotions, that among
approximately 150 emotional words there are between 5 and 30
different basic emotions (Ekman, 1999; Ortony & Turner, 1990;
Izard, 1992; Petrov et al., 2012).
Cognitive dissonance (CD) is a field of psychology intensely
studied for more than 50 years. Nevertheless emotions of CD to
our knowledge have not been studied. Experimental demonstra-
tion of CD emotions is possibly the main contribution of this
paper. Choice decisions appear to be made in the hedonic di-
mension of consciousness (Cabanac et al., 1997, 2002, 2011);
the hedonic experience takes place as an actual or an expected
reward. In this paper we made a step toward exploring a new
type of emotions, aesthetic emotions related to dissatisfaction
of the knowledge instinct, or more specifically, emotions of CD
related to contradictions between two pieces of knowledge.
These emotions are different in principle from basic emotions.
Whereas specific words exist to name basic emotions, there are
no specific words for most emotions of cognitive dissonance.
This creates difficulty to studying these emotions. This diffi-
culty might be a reason that these emotions have not been sys-
tematically studied in psychological literature. Although the
words “cognitive dissonance” have been used for long time, we
emphasize again, emotions of cognitive dissonance have not
been recognized as a special type of emotions different in prin-
ciple from basic emotions.
Table 3.
Average and standard deviation of arousal and pleasure for each class.
Class Arousal Pleasure
I 0.501 0.218 0.417 0.324
II 0.400 0.210 0.374 0.243
III 0.143 0.204 0.067 0.348
IV 0.472 0.225 0.213 0.543
V 0.530 0.190 0.151 0.455
VI 0.439 0.286 0.308 0.348
VII 0.410 0.273 0.274 0.402
VIII 0.307 0.327 0.514 0.364
IX 0.550 0.250 0.630 0.505
X 0.481 0.248 0.274 0.505
XI 0.512 0.315 0.308 0.683
XII 0.456 0.241 0.241 0.547
XIII 0.455 0.220 0.317 0.407
XIV 0.522 0.186 0.348 0.578
XV 0.300 0.233 0.171 0.428
XVI 0.400 0.262 0.209 0.544
XVII 0.597 0.097 0.050 0.378
XVIII 0.406 0.000 0.328 0.000
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Figure 6.
Histograms of the degrees of arousal (red lines) and pleasure (green
lines) restricted to choices associated to emotion words belonging to
class I, e.g., joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, etc. For this class, the mean
degree of arousal is 0.501 and the mean degree of pleasure is 0.417.
Figure 7.
Histograms of the degrees of arousal (red lines) and pleasure (green
lines) restricted to choices associated to emotion words belonging to
class V, e.g., curiosity, interest, purpose etc. For this class, the mean
degree of arousal is 0.530 and the mean degree of pleasure is 0.151.
Figure 8.
Histograms of the degrees of arousal (red lines) and pleasure (green
lines) restricted to choices associated to emotion words belonging to
class XII, e.g., fear, anxiety, concern etc. For this class, the mean de-
gree of arousal is 0.456 and the mean degree of pleasure is 0.241.
In this paper, following (Grossberg & Levine, 1987), we
consider emotions as feelings and mental states related to neu-
ral signals, which indicate to various brain regions satisfaction
or dissatisfaction of fundamental organism needs. Mechanisms
measuring these needs we call instincts. Basic emotions are
mostly related to bodily needs, whereas aesthetic emotions are
related to need for knowledge or knowledge instinct (KI). This
is a fundamental theoretical difference between basic and aes-
thetic emotions. Also in (Perlovsky, 2006c, 2010a, 2012c,
2012d) the arguments were presented that emotions of cogni-
tive dissonance could be in some way similar to musical emo-
tions. Steps to demonstrating this experimentally have been
made in (Masataka et al., 2012a, 2012b; Perlovsky, Cabanac et
al., 2012). It has been demonstrated that music helps resolve
CD emotions of discomfort, so that contradictions in knowl-
edge can be tolerated (Masataka et al., 2012a, 2012b; Perlovsky,
Cabanac et al., 2012). This made possible accumulation of
knowledge and evolution of cultures. The “Mozart effect” has
been demonstrated to be caused by resolving CD. Still many
questions remain challenges for future research.
The main experiential argument separating basic and aes-
thetic emotions of cognitive dissonances in this paper are ex-
amples of the following type of choices. A choice between
different types of work could be difficult and experienced as
negative CD emotions, even if each alternative separately is
experienced as positive basic emotions. In this paper our results
are inconclusive with regard to qualitative difference between
basic and aesthetic emotions. It is possible that standard meth-
ods of exploring emotions, arousal and pleasure plots, charac-
terizing each aesthetic emotion of cognitive dissonance by a
single basic emotion—these methods may not be sensitive
enough for fine distinctions required to differentiate details of
aesthetic emotions. One has to keep in mind that mechanisms
of basic emotions are hundreds of millions or even billions
years old, whereas CD emotions are due to recently evolved
mechanisms, probably less than millions years old.
The main experimental result of this paper is “instrumental-
izing” aesthetic emotions of cognitive dissonance, by present-
ing subject questions as mental choices between two alterna-
tives. In future we suggest more refined measures, such as 1)
using more refined splitting of basic emotions in classes than
the relatively subjective groupings in Table 2; 2) characterizing
each emotion of choice by several basic emotions; 3) measuring
distances-similarities between various choice emotions and then
use these distances for analyzing properties of the aesthetic
emotional space.
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The 10 items of Questionnaire E aiming at measuring the
degree of arousal of the evoked emotion are presented below:
1) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: with the duck with orange what do you prefer of red
wine or white wine? Do you feel an emotion at the idea of this
choice? Indicate its intensity on the line below.
2) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: what do you prefer the cinema or theater? Do you feel
an emotion at the idea of this choice? Indicate its intensity on
the line below.
3) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: what do you prefer of the holiday sea or in the moun-
tain? Do you feel an emotion at the idea of this choice? Indicate
its intensity on the line below.
4) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: what do you prefer of the holiday sea or in the moun-
tain? Do you feel an emotion at the idea of this choice? Indicate
its intensity on the line below.
5) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice of career: what do you prefer: a relatively poorly paid
work but secure or a very well-paid work but at risk of loss of
employment. Do you feel an emotion at the idea of this choice?
Indicate its intensity on the line below.
6) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: what do you prefer to hear a Sonata for violin or piano?
Do you feel an emotion at the idea of this choice? Indicate its
intensity on the line below.
7) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: your work requires you to learn a Scandinavian lan-
guage; what do you prefer the Norwegian or Swedish? Do you
feel an emotion at the idea of this choice? Indicate its intensity
on the line below.
8) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: to treat an illness with what do you prefer the quick
surgery or medication extended? Do you feel an emotion at the
idea of this choice? Indicate its intensity on the line below.
9) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice: do you prefer very expensive insurance but comprehen-
sive or cheaper but with gaps? Do you feel an emotion at the
idea of this choice? Indicate its intensity on the line below.
10) Focus on what you feel when you are asked to make a
choice about the elections: the Right party, which guarantees
the security or the Left party, which promotes a sharing social?
Do you feel an emotion at the idea of this choice? Indicate its
intensity on the line below.
In addition, in order to measure the degree of pleasure in
making that choice, the same set of choice-questions was pre-
sented to the participants except that they were asked to indi-
cate in the following straight line, after reading each item,
the degree of pleasure. Here the sign indicates a most un-
pleasant choice and the + sign a most pleasant one, and the
distance from zero was the analog magnitude rating of he-
donicity. This is an example of item from Questionnaire H that
contained the same 10 items as Questionnaire E.
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