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Openness and other Big Five traits in relation to dispositional mixed emotions

Despite accumulating evidence for concurrent feelings of positivity and negativity (e.g., simultaneous happiness and sadness), little is known about individual differences in these mixed emotions experiences. We examined relations between a novel measure of dispositional mixed emotions (the Trait Mixed Emotions Scale; TMES) and the Big Five trait domains and aspects. We derived two a-priori predictions: (1) Openness/Intellect—reflecting cognitive flexibility and exploration—would predict the TMES, and (2) Extraversion and Neuroticism—reflecting susceptibility to positive and negative emotions, respectively—would jointly predict the TMES. Results showed that two measures of the Openness aspect of Openness/Intellect positively predicted TMES scores. Extraversion and Neuroticism did not jointly predict the TMES. Neuroticism positively predicted the TMES, but this reflected the relation of Neuroticism with dispositional negative emotions. The Volatility aspect of Neuroticism, however, was a positive predictor of the TMES beyond its relation with trait negativity. Our findings inform further study of differential mixed emotions experiences, and may help consolidate the previous fragmented literature in this area.

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