eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5


Full article in PDF format | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2008.4.02

Ene Vainik, Toomas Kirt


The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that the way of approaching Estonian concepts of emotion may influence their emergent structure. One hundred participants assessed the semantics of 24 words in two different tests that provided access to the concepts from two different levels of representation of knowledge of emotions. The first task addressed the semantic interrelations of emotion terms (synonymy and antonymy) and the second addressed the qualities of emotional experience as measured on seven scales. The results were visualized by self-organizing maps, revealing two visually different topological layouts, where coherence of the conceptual structure was recognizable only in general terms. Two main clusters, positivity and negativity, were found in both maps. In addition, a cluster of alertness emerged while the concepts were accessed through the interrelations of emotion words. There was much less coherence for local neighbourhood relations. That is, relations which coincided on both maps were identified only in approximately half of the cases.


Alhoniemi, E., Himberg, J., Parhankangas, J., and Vesanto J. (2005) SOM Toolbox (Version 2.0). [Computer software and manual]. Retrieved November 11, 2005, from projects/somtoolbox/

Allik, J. (1997) “Eesti keele emotsioone väljendava sõnavara tähendus”. [On the meaning of Estonian lexicon expressing emotions.] In Psühholoogia lihtsusest, 131–150.[The Simplicity of Psychology.] Tartu, Estonia: Tartu Ülikooli kirjastus.

Allik, J. and Realo, A. (1997) “Emotional experience and its relation to the five-factor model”. Journal of Personality 65, 3, 625–645.

Alvarado, N. (1998) “A reconsideration of the structure of the emotion lexicon”. Motivation and Emotion 22, 4, 329–344.

Cacioppo, J. T. and Berntson, G. G. (1999) “The affect system: architecture and operating characteristics”. Current Directions in Psychological Science 8, 133–137.

Church, A. T., Katigbak, M. S., Reyes, J. A. S., and Jensen, S. M. (1998) “Language and organiza­tion of Filipino emotion concepts: comparing emotion concepts and dimensions across cultures”. Cognition and Emotion 12, 1, 63–92.

Cruse, A. (2000) Meaning in language. An introduction to semantics and pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Duda, R. O., Hart, P. E., and Stork, D. G. (2001) Pattern classification. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Ekman, P. (1992) “An argument for basic emotions”. Cognition and Emotion 6, 3-4, 169–200.

Feldman Barrett, L. (2006) “Solving the emotion paradox: categorization and the experience of emotion”. Personality and Social Psychology Review 10, 1, 20–46.

Feldman Barrett, L. (2004) “Feelings or words? Understanding the content in self-report ratings of experienced emotion”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 87, 2, 266–281.

Feldman Barrett, L. (1995) “Valence focus and arousal focus: Individual differences in the structure of affective experience”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69, 153–166.

Feldman Barrett, L. and Fossum, T. (2001) “Mental representations of affect knowledge”. Cognition and Emotion 15, 3, 333–363.

Fillenbaum, S. and Rapoport, A. (1971) Structures in the subjective lexicon. New York: Academic Press.

Fontaine, J. R. J., Poortinga, Y. H., Setiadi, B., and Markam, S. S. (2002) “Cognitive structure of emotion terms in Indonesia and the Netherlands”. Cognition and Emotion 16, 1, 61–86.

Frijda, N. H. (1987) “Emotion, cognitive structure, and action tendency”. Cognition and Emotion 1. 115–143.

Frijda, N. H., Markam, S., Sato, K., and Wiers, R. (1995) “Emotions and emotion words”. In Everyday conceptions of emotion: An introduction to the psychology, anthropology and linguistics of emotion, 121–144. J. A. Russell, J.-M. Fernandez-Dols, A. S. R. Manstead, and J. C. Wellenkamp, eds. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academy Press.

Gärdenfors, P. (2000) Conceptual spaces. The geometry of thought. London: The MIT Press.

Griffiths, P. E. (1997) What emotions really are: the problem of psychological categories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Haslam, N. (1995) “The discreteness of emotion concepts: categorical structure in the affective circumplex”. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21,10, 1012–1019.

Heylighen, F. (2001) “The science of self-organization and adaptivity”. In The encyclopedia of life support systems (EOLSS): knowledge management, organizational intelligence and learning, and complexity. L. D. Kiel, ed. Oxford: Eolss Publishers. Available from

Johnson-Laird, P. N. and Oatley, K. (1989) “The language of emotions: An analysis of a semantic field”. Cognition and Emotion 3, 2, 81–123.

Kaski, S. (1997) Data exploration using self-organizing maps. (Acta Polytechnica Scandinavica, Mathematics, Computing and Management in Engineering Series, 82.) Helsinki: Helsinki University of Technology.

Kästik, L. (2000) Emotsioone väljendavate terminite subjektiivne ruum. [The subjective space of emotion terms.] Unpublished diploma paper. Tallinn: Pedagogical University of Tallinn.

Kemper, T. (2000) “Social models in the explanation of emotions”. In Handbook of emotions. 2nd ed., 45–58. M. Lewis and J. Haviland-Jones, eds. New York: The Guilford Press.

Kohonen, T. (2000) Self-organizing maps. 3rd ed. Berlin: Springer.

Langacker, R. (1987) Foundations of cognitive grammar I. Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Larsen, R. J. and Diener, E. (1992) “Problems and promises with the circumplex model of emotion”. Review of Personality and Social Psychology 13, 25–59.

Niedenthal, P. M., Auxiette, K., Nugier, A., Dalle, N., Bonin, P., and Fayol, M. (2004) “A prototype analysis of the French category ‘émotion’”. Cognition and Emotion 18, 289–312.

Niedenthal, P. M., Setterlund, M. B., and Jones, D. E. (1994) “Emotional organization of perceptual memory”. In The hearts eye. Emotional influences in perception and attention. P. M. Niedenthal and S. Kitayama, eds. 87–113. New York: Academic Press.

Ortony, A., Clore, G. L., and Collins, A. (1988) The cognitive structure of emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Osgood, C. E., Suci, G. J., and Tannenbaum, P. H. (1975) The measurement of meaning. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Reisenzein, R. (1995) “On Oatley and Johnson-Laird’s theory of emotion and hierarchical structures in the affective lexicon”. Cognition and Emotion 9, 4, 383–416.

Russell, J. A. (1980) “A circumplex model of affect”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39, 1161–1178.

Russell, J. A., Lewicka, M., and Niit, T. (1989) “A cross-cultural study of a circumflex model of affect”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57, 5, 848–856.

Schimmack, U. and Reisenzein, R. (1997) “Cognitive processes involved in similarity judgments of emotions”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 73, 4, 645–661.

Shaver, P., Schwartz, J., Kirson, D., and O’Connor, C. (1987) “Emotion knowledge: further exploration of a prototype approach”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52, 6, 1061–1086.

Storm, C. and Storm, T. (1987) “A taxonomic study of the vocabulary of emotions”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53, 4, 805–816.

Sutrop, U. (2001) “List task and a cognitive salience index”. Field Methods 13, 289–302.

Tulving, E. (1972) “Episodic and semantic memory”. In Organization of memory. 381–403. E. Tulving and W. Donaldson, eds. New York: Academic Press.

Vainik, E. (2002) “Emotions, emotion terms and emotion concepts in an Estonian folk model”. Trames 6, 4, 322–341.

Vainik, E. (2006) “Intracultural variation of semantic and episodic emotion knowledge in Estonian”. Trames 10, 2, 169–189.

Veski, E. (1996) Emotsionaalseid seisundeid kirjeldav sõnavara eesti keeles ja selle seos isiksuse omadustega. [The vocabulary of emotional states in Estonian and its relation to personality traits.] Unpublished diploma paper. Tartu: University of Tartu.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., and Tellegen, A. (1988) “Development and validation of brief measures of Positive and Negative Affect: the PANAS Scales”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 47, 127–144.

Watson, D., and Tellegen, A. (1985) “Toward a consensual structure of mood”. Psychological Bulletin 98, 219–235.

Watson, D., Wiese, D., Vaidya, J., and Tellegen, A. (1999) “The two general activation systems of affect: structural findings, evolutionary considerations, and psychological evidence”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 76, 5, 820–838.

Wierzbicka, A. (1999) Emotions across languages and cultures: diversity and universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zammuner, V. L. (1998) “Concepts of emotion: ‘Emotionness’, and dimensional ratings of Italian emotion words”. Cognition and Emotion 12, 2, 243–272.

Back to Issue