This study examined the relative contribution and the nature of dimensions underlying intracultural and intercultural differences in the recalled frequency of emotional experience. From 48 nations, 9,300 participants provided self-reports of the frequency of experienced emotions and several other variables relevant to emotional experience. The data were analyzed by means of multilevel component analysis, which decomposes the data into intracultural and intercultural components. The results showed that positive affect and negative affect emerged as universal dimensions underlying intracultural differences, accounting for the relatively largest part of variance in the data (40%). These dimensions were related to life satisfaction and other variables reflecting positive and negative affectivity. Two dimensions, reflecting positive emotions and interpersonal (negative) emotions, emerged as dimensions underlying nation-level differences, accounting for a smaller proportion of the variance (6%). Intercultural differences on these dimensions were related to nation-level life satisfaction, individualism, and the cultural appropriateness of experiencing corresponding emotions. Differences among individuals affect recalled emotional experience to a greater extent than differences among nations.
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