Desired emotions across cultures: A value-based account

Maya Tamir*, Jan Cieciuch, Claudio Torres, Vivian Dzokoto, Shalom H. Schwartz, Michaela Riediger, Christie Scollon, Xiaolu Zhou, Allon Vishkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Values reflect how people want to experience the world; emotions reflect how people actually experience the world. Therefore, we propose that across cultures people desire emotions that are consistent with their values. Whereas prior research focused on the desirability of specific affective states or 1 or 2 target emotions, we offer a broader account of desired emotions. After reporting initial evidence for the potential causal effects of values on desired emotions in a preliminary study (N = 200), we tested the predictions of our proposed model in 8 samples (N = 2,328) from distinct world cultural regions. Across cultural samples, we found that people who endorsed values of self-transcendence (e.g., benevolence) wanted to feel more empathy and compassion, people who endorsed values of self-enhancement (e.g., power) wanted to feel more anger and pride, people who endorsed values of openness to change (e.g., self-direction) wanted to feel more interest and excitement, and people who endorsed values of conservation (e.g., tradition) wanted to feel more calmness and less fear. These patterns were independent of differences in emotional experience. We discuss the implications of our value-based account of desired emotions for understanding emotion regulation, culture, and other individual differences.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Psychological Association.


  • Culture
  • Emotion
  • Emotion regulation
  • Motivation
  • Values


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