Journal article

The social functions of positive emotions

L Sels, A Tran, KH Greenaway, L Verhofstadt, EK Kalokerinos

Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences | Elsevier | Published : 2021


Emotions unfold in the context of social interactions and relationships, where they serve social ends. In this review, we discuss recent research on the social functions served by positive emotions. We identify three functions of positive emotions: intimacy, impression, and influence functions. Intimacy functions refer to the benefits individuals acquire in improving their bond with others. Impression and influence functions follow from the information that others derive from positive emotion expressions. Positive emotions can therefore be used in social contexts to achieve goals such as maintaining social standing or enhancing motivation in others to achieve important goals.


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