Perception and Evaluation of 23 Positive Emotions in Hong Kong and the Netherlands

Rui Sun (Corresponding Author), Wai Kai Hou, Pui Hung Hui, Nicolson Yat-Fan Siu, Tiarah Engels, Disa A. Sauter

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Positive emotions are linked to numerous benefits, but not everyone appreciates the same kinds of positive emotional experiences. We examine how distinct positive emotions are perceived and whether individuals’ perceptions are linked to how societies evaluate those emotions. Participants from Hong Kong and Netherlands rated 23 positive emotions based on their individual perceptions (positivity, arousal, and socially engaging) and societal evaluations (appropriate, valued, and approved of). We found that (1) there were cultural differences in judgments about all six aspects of positive emotions; (2) positivity, arousal, and social engagement predicted emotions being positively regarded at the societal level in both cultures; and (3) that positivity mattered more for the Dutch participants, although arousal and social engagement mattered more in Hong Kong for societal evaluations. These findings provide a granular map of the perception and evaluation of distinct positive emotions in two cultures and highlight the role of cultures in the understanding how positive emotions are perceived and evaluated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number579474
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberMay
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2021


  • culture
  • emotions
  • individual perception
  • positive emotions
  • positive psychology
  • societal evaluations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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