Kuppens, P., Van Mechelen, I., Nezlek, J. B., Dossche, D., & Timmermans, T. (2007). Individual differences in core affect variability and their relationship to personality and psychological adjustment. Emotion, 7, 262-274.
How people's feelings change across time can be represented as trajectories in a core affect space defined by the dimensions of valence and activation. In this paper, we analyzed individual differences in within-person affective variability defined as characteristics of core affect trajectories, introducing new ways to conceptualize affective variability. In two studies, participants provided multiple reports across time describing how they were feeling in terms of core affect. From these data, characteristics of participants' core affect trajectories were derived. Across both studies, core affect variability was negatively related to average valence, to self-esteem and agreeableness, and it was positively related to neuroticism and depression. Moreover, spin, a measure of how much people experienced qualitatively different feelings within the core affect space, was related more consistently to trait measures of adjustment and personality than other measures of within-person variability, including the widely used measure of within-person single-dimension standard deviations.