Romantic Jealousy as an Emotion Concept: A Prototype Analysis


A consensus is emerging that romantic jealousy is best defined in terms of a situation and is not itself an emotion. However, people use the term 'jealousy' as an emotion concept, which suggests that the term may reliably describe more than a situation. Emotion concepts embody prototypes (ideas about the characteristic features of emotion events and the organization of those features) as well as theories about why these events have the features and organization they do (Clore & Ortony, 1991). 1 explored the prototype aspect of the concept 'romantic jealousy'. A list of prototypic features was compiled and subjects were asked to rate the centrality of each feature to the concept 'romantic jealousy'. These ratings were made reliably. Further, subjects’ recognition of jealousy'S features in a memory task (Study 1) and judgments of jealousy intensity (Study 2) were influenced by feature centrality. Thus two criteria for demonstrating prototype structure (that subjects find it meaningful to judge features in terms of their centrality to the concept and that centrality affects cognition) were met. The prototype structure could be explored further and used in conjunction with psychological theory as a framework for studying romantic jealousy.


Psychological Science

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Article - Journal

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© 1993 SAGE Publications Inc., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 1993