Publication 5643

Heavey C. L., Hurlburt R. T. & Lefforge N. L. (2012) Toward a phenomenology of feelings. Emotion 12(4): 763–777. Fulltext at
Our understanding of emotion cannot be complete without an understanding of feelings, the experiential aspect of emotion. Despite their importance, little effort has been devoted to the careful apprehension of feelings. Based on our apprehension of many randomly selected moments of pristine inner experience, we present a preliminary phenomenology of feelings. We begin by observing that often feelings occur as directly experienced phenomena of awareness; however, often no feelings are present in experience, or if they are present, they are too faint to be observed by a process intended to observe them. Feelings range from vague to distinct and sometimes do, but other times do not, include bodily sensations. When bodily sensations are present, there is a wide range of clarity and location of these sensations. Sometimes people experience multiple distinct feelings and sometimes people experience one feeling that is a mix or blend of different feelings. We also discuss what feelings are not, including instances when feelings do not appear to be present, despite evidence suggesting the presence of underlying emotional processes (e.g., behavioral evidence of emotion). These instances of emotion but not feeling lead us to speculate that experiencing feelings is a skill developed over time through an interaction of interpersonal and intrapersonal events. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


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