Emotion semantics show both cultural variation and universal structure

Science Vol/Iss. 366 (6472) AAAS Published In Pages: 1517-1522
By Jackson, Joshua Conrad, Watts, Joseph, Henry, Teague R., List, Johann-Mattis, Forkel, Robert, Mucha, Peter J., Greenhill, Simon J. , Gray, Russell D. , Lindquist, Kristen A.


Emotion semantics vary widely and significantly across language families (1519).


In order to test if the variation was significant, researchers tested the emotion concepts against color concepts with both a full sample of comparisons and a permutation-robust sample. Both comparisons showed the color concepts had more universality than the emotion concepts, with the emotion concepts containing significantly (p<.001) greater variation.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Language FamilyIndependentLinguistic Identification
Emotion semanticsDependentVocabulary, Semantics