Perception and evaluation of 23 positive emotions in Hong Kong and the Netherlands

Rui SUN, Wai Kai HOU, Bryant P. H. HUI, Nicolson Yat-Fan SIU, Tiarah ENGELS, Disa A. SAUTER

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1 Citation (Scopus)


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. Copyright © 2021 Sun, Hou, Hui, Siu, Engels and Sauter.
Original languageEnglish
Article number579474
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


Sun, R., Hou, W. K., Hui, B. P. H., Siu, N. Y.-F., Engels, T., & Sauter, D. A. (2021). Perception and evaluation of 23 positive emotions in Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. Retrieved from


  • Positive emotions
  • Culture
  • Individual perception
  • Societal evaluations
  • Positive psychology
  • Emotions


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