Research Methods in
Cognition and Emotion
W. Gerrod Parrott
Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA and
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, USA
In this chapter we critically survey research methods used in the field of cognition and emotion. Research on cognition and emotion addresses a great variety of topics, which include the ways in which emotional states influence cognitive processes, the role of cognition in producing emotion, and folk categories and knowledge of emotion. So great is this variety that a brief chapter cannot address all the research methods that have contributed to the expansion of knowledge that has occurred in recent years; there are too many methods, and many are relevant only to particular specialized topics. Specialized research methods are discussed throughout this volume in the chapters devoted to the relevant topics. In this chapter we restrict our attention to methodological issues that span the field of cognition and emotion, yet are in some way unique to it. Not surprisingly, these are the issues and methods that have to do with emotion itself.
What is common to most research on cognition and emotion is the inclusion of emotional states as an element of the research design. Emotions are sometimes treated as independent (or quasi-independent) variables, as categories or dimensions that may be associated with changes in other variables. At other times, emotions are treated as dependent variables, as states whose quality or intensity may be influenced by other variables. There is a noteworthy parallel between research designs in which emotional state is an independent variable and those in