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Researchers including AICE members Jens Lange, Gerben van Kleef, and Agneta Fischer published a new theoretical paper suggesting an integrative psychometric model of emotions.

Researchers including Jens Lange, Gerben van Kleef, and Agneta Fischer suggest that suggest that methodological advancement may foster progress on this end. Specifically, the psychometric network model provides a psychometric approach to emotions that may ultimately help to unite different emotion theories and contribute to clarifying what an emotion is.

Abstract of the paper is as follows:

Emotions are part and parcel of the human condition, but their nature is debated. Three broad classes of theories about the nature of emotions can be distinguished: affect-program theories, constructionist theories, and appraisal theories. Integrating these broad classes of theories into a unifying theory is challenging. An integrative psychometric model of emotions can inform such a theory because psychometric models are intertwined with theoretical perspectives about constructs. To identify an integrative psychometric model, we delineate properties of emotions stated by emotion theories and investigate whether psychometric models account for these properties. Specifically, an integrative psychometric model of emotions should allow (a) identifying distinct emotions (central in affect-program theories), (b) between- and within-person variations of emotions (central in constructionist theories), and (c) causal relationships between emotion components (central in appraisal theories). Evidence suggests that the popular reflective and formative latent variable models—in which emotions are conceptualized as unobservable causes or consequences of emotion components—cannot account for all properties. Conversely, a psychometric network model—in which emotions are conceptualized as systems of causally interacting emotion components—accounts for all properties. The psychometric network model thus constitutes an integrative psychometric model of emotions, facilitating progress toward a unifying theory.