Motivation and emotion/Book/2014/Agreeableness and emotion

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Agreeableness and emotion:
How does agreeableness influence emotion?

Overview[edit]

What is agreeableness? How does agreeableness influence emotion? How does agreeableness affect behaviour? The chapter will examine these questions, [grammar?] through analysing key explanatory frameworks (impression management, emotion regulation, and effortful control), research and studies[clarification needed]. This chapter explains the significant role agreeableness plays in mitigating negative emotions, maintaining high quality relationships and low arousal positive mood states.

Emotions[edit]

An emotion has been described as a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a psychological response, and a behavioural or expressive response (Hockenbury, 2007). While [grammar?] others have described emotion as a psychological construct that consists of four main elements, feeling, arousal, purpose and expression (Reeve, 2009). However, an all encompassing and comprehending definition of emotion is difficult as a result of its complex nature. Though, [grammar?] researchers have supported the significance of positive and negative emotions. Positive emotion has been defined as the overall increase of feelings of happiness, such as joy and pleasure, whereas negative emotion is associated with a reduction in overall levels of happiness such as sadness and dejection (Davis, 2009). In determining how agreeableness influences emotion, the role agreeableness plays in mitigating negative emotions and arousing positive emotions is significant.

Agreeableness[edit]

What is Agreeableness[edit]

Agreeableness contrasts a pro-social and communal orientation towards others and is associated with being unselfish, compliant, trusting, modest, and helpful (Tobin, Graziano, Vanman, & Tassinary, 2000).

Furthermore, studies examining the role of agreeableness have found agreeableness has significant effect, including, individuals with higher levels of agreeableness have been associated with higher levels of cognitive control (Jensen-Campbell & Graziano, 2002). Additionally, agreeableness has been linked to low arousal positive mood states such as serenity and contentment (Johnson & Ostendorf, 1993), which in turn have been linked to lesser tendencies toward negative emotional reactivity (Watson, 2000). Furthermore, it has been proposed that individuals high in agreeableness are likely to have higher-quality interpersonal relationships than those low in agreeableness because of their desires and capacities for close relationships (Graziano & Eisenberg, 1997).

Explanatory Frameworks[edit]

Impression Management[edit]

Previous studies have observed a robust inverse relationship between self-reports of agreeableness and self-reports of anger and aggression (Watson, 2000). That is, individuals reporting higher levels of agreeableness generally report lower levels of anger and aggression and vice-versa. This has been attributed to impression management concerns. That is, individual’s high in agreeableness may be reporting lower levels of anger and aggression because they, relative to individual’s low in agreeableness, are more concerned with creating a favourable and positive social impression (Paulhus & John, 1998). However, studies suggest this inverse relationship extends beyond self report, as the actual behaviours of individual’s high in agreeableness are less aggressive and more pro-social (Bettencourt, Talley, Benjamen, & Calentine, 2006; Graziano & Tobin, 2002). Consequently, attributing this relationship to impression management processes is not sufficient for understanding the extent of the correlation between agreeableness and anger and aggression (Graziano & Eisenberg, 1997).

Emotion Regulation[edit]

Additionally, a second explanation for this inverse relationship suggests agreeableness plays a unique role in self-regulating the unwanted consequences of hostile thoughts and feelings (Meier & Robinson, 2004; Meier, Robinson, & Wilkowski, 2006). Meier and Robinson (2004) found that accessible hostile thoughts predicted anger and aggression only at low levels of agreeableness. Conversely, at high levels of agreeableness, accessible hostile thoughts did not predict anger or aggression. Additionally, Meier et al. (2006) found that individuals high in agreeableness were able to mitigate the primed influence of hostile thoughts in an implicit cognitive paradigm and in regards to a behavioural measure of laboratory aggression. Therefore, there is support for the idea that agreeable individuals are better able to regulate hostility-linked influences on anger and aggression See Below: Automatic Emotion Regulation.

Linking Emotion Regulation and High-Quality Interpersonal Relationships[edit]

It has been suggested that emotion regulation and high quality interpersonal relationships are interconnected (Vohs & Ciarocco, 2004). That is, emotion regulation processes are are [grammar?] especially important to effective relationship management, particularly in circumstances where interaction with others is unwanted or difficult (Finkel & Campbell, 2001). Specifically, individuals high in agreeableness are likely to have higher quality relationships as a result of their superior ability to regulate their negative emotional states when interacting with others (Graziano, Jensen-Campbell, & Hair, 1996).

Effortful Control[edit]

Researchers have identified a term called effortful control that appears to be substantial in moderating the negative emotions. That is, [grammar?] the ability of individuals high in agreeableness to regulate negative emotions has been significantly associated with increased effort (Tobin, Graziano, Vanman, & Tassinary, 2000). Additionally, studies have found that relationships between neuroticism and depressive symptoms are stronger among individuals lower in cognitive control (Robinson, Wikowski, Kirkbey &Meier, 2006). Consequently, it has been suggested that higher levels of control are significant in mitigating depressive tendencies among individuals high in neuroticism (Robinson, 2007).See: Automatic Emotion Regulation: Effort control and emotion regulation combine to mitigate negative emotions.

Automatic Emotion Regulation[edit]

As mentioned above the ability of individuals high in agreeableness to regulate negative emotions has been significantly associated with increased effort (Tobin, Graziano, Vanman, & Tassinary, 2000). However, Meier, Robinson & Wilkowski, 2006 propose that the ability of highly agreeable individuals to regulate negative affect does not have to be effortful, instead can be automatic in implicit task paradigms. It is suggested that when individuals high in agreeableness are exposed to negative stimuli they automatically engage emotion regulation.

A study conducted by Haas, Omura, Constable, Canlil 2007 examined the relationship between levels of agreeableness and automatic emotion regulation. Research has suggested the right lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) is prominent in the conscious regulation of negative emotion (Ochsner et al., 2004). Consequently, on the basis of Tobin et al. (2000) and Ochsner et al. (2004), Haas et al., 2007 predicted that activation in the right LPFC should vary depending on the individual’s level of agreeableness. Participants LPFC activation was measured during the processing of emotional facial expressions in an implicit emotion task (gender discrimination). The study found that implicit processing of fearful facial expressions were associated with individual differences in activation in the right LPFC (Haas et al., 2007). The degree of activation significantly correlated with individual’s levels of agreeableness. However, automatic activation did not generalise to all categories of negative affect (sad facial expressions), instead Haas et al., 2007 findings were consistent with Meier et al., 2006 which narrowed the association of agreeableness with emotion regulating to paradigms involving aggression or conflict. This is inconsistent with Tobin et al. (2000) who found that agreeableness was linked with emotion regulation in response to broadly aversive stimuli. However, it is suggested that the adverse stimuli were representative of aggression or conflict which would account for the findings.

Agreeableness Helps Regulate Depressive Symptoms[edit]

Higher levels of agreeableness have been linked to lower levels of anger and aggression; this has in part been attributed to individuals with higher levels of agreeableness’s ability to self-regulate unwanted hostile thoughts and feelings (Meier & Robinson, 2004). Furthermore, pervious [spelling?] research has suggested that agreeableness may be a contributing factor in regulating negative emotions (Ode & Robinson, 2009). Consequently, a study conducted by Ode & Robinson 2009 examined the relationship between levels of agreeableness and neuroticism-linked tendencies toward depressive symptoms. Specifically, the study suggested that higher levels of agreeableness would moderate neuroticism-linked tendencies toward depressive symptoms, particularly among distress prone individuals(Ode & Robinson 2009). The study found that neuroticism and depressive symptoms were stronger among individuals low in agreeableness. That is, {[grammar?] tendencies toward negative affect priming were especially pronounced among individuals high in neuroticism and low in agreeableness (Ode & Robinson 2009). However, the relationship between neuroticism and negative affective priming was only apparent at low levels of agreeableness, as at high levels of agreeableness neuroticism was not a predictor. Additionally, the study provided support for an emotion-regulation view of such interactions in an implicit affective priming paradigm (Ode & Robinson 2009). Consequently, as the study found that high levels of agreeableness were associated with lesser negative affect priming at high levels of neuroticism, Ode & Robinson 2009 suggest that agreeableness is associated with intrapsychic (internal psychological processes) abilities to regulate negative affective states.

Practical Example[edit]

Research suggests that the practical implications of agreeable individual [grammar?] are valuable when implementing these findings in the workplace. That is, [grammar?] individuals high in agreeableness are unlikely to engage in deviant acts towards others even when they perceive the work environment negatively[factual?]. Conversely, a person low in agreeableness is more likely to participate in retaliatory action (Yang & Diefendorff, 2009).

Conclusion[edit]

Individual [grammar?] high in agreeableness are courteous, flexible, trusting, good-natured, cooperative, forgiving, soft hearted, and tolerant[factual?]. Agreeableness influences emotion in a variety of ways as individuals high in agreeableness are suggested to have superior cognitive control as well as an ability regulate negative emotion, and superior impression management skills[factual?]. Consequently, there is a robust inverse relationship between individuals high in agreeableness and aggression and anger[factual?]. That is, [grammar?] agreeable individuals display and report lower levels of aggression and anger compared to less agreeable individuals, this is [grammar?] attributed to superior emotion regulation processes. Furthermore, effortful control has been linked to emotion regulation, suggesting agreeable individuals have higher cognitive control compared to less agreeable individuals[factual?]. Lastly, agreeable individuals desire to have close interpersonal relationships and their superior emotion regulation has lead to higher-quality relationships[factual?]. Consequently, it is apparent {{grammar]} agreeableness has a positive influence on emotions, as it assists in mitigating negative emotion.

Quiz[edit]

1 Agreeableness has a

Negative correlation with aggression and anger
Positive correlation with aggression and anger
No significant correlation with aggression and anger

2 Individuals high in agreeableness often have higher-quality relationships because they have superior

Impression management
Emotion regulation, cognitive control, impression management
Emotion Regulation


See Also[edit]

Reference List[edit]

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Davis, M. (2009). Understanding the relationship between mood and creativity: A meta-analysis. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 108(1), 25-38. doi: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2008.04.001

Finkel, e. J., & Campbell, W. k. (2001). self-control and accommodation in close relationships: an interdependence analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 263-277.


Graziano, W. G., & Eisenberg, N. (1997). Agreeableness: A dimension of personality. In R. Hogan, J. Johnson, &, S. Briggs (Eds.), Handbook of personality psychology (pp. 795-824). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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