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The question of whether people use perceived expressions of emotion to infer motive is tested in this study. Naïve observers viewed target subjects performing a simple «tower building» task under more or less motivating conditions. Observers ranked target effort levels and ticked emotions displayed of four targets. Motive rankings matched target motive conditions well. Emotion checklist scores also showed high accuracy when compared with target self-reports of emotions experienced. Regression showed that most of the variance in motivation ratings was accounted for by emotions observed. Discussion centers on applications of this understanding of emotive perception in organizations, and the relation between the first two components of Salovey and Mayer’s (1990) model of emotional intelligence.



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License