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This paper describes an innovative investigation of commonsense conceptions of emotion using a two‐person game where one player asked questions intended to determine the nature of an emotional state imagined by the other player. All questions used by players were then sorted into categories by expert judges. Based on cluster analysis, questions were categorized as relating to ‘causes’, ‘characteristics’, and ‘consequences’ of emotional states. Potential advantages and applications of this technique are discussed. Copyright © 1990 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Social Psychology

Publication Date





171 - 179