There is a major change taking place in the manner that emotions are conceptualized. The change is one in emphasis, from structuralism to functionalism. Structuralism is marked by several defining features, including attempts to derive a taxonomy of basic emotions, the search for autonomic, facial, or central nervous system responses that have close to a one-to-one relation with internal emotional states, and a relative neglect of the role of intentionality in the generation of emotion. In contrast, functionalists propose that one cannot understand the nature of emotion without understanding what the person is trying to do, and how events in the external or internal environment have an impact on such strivings. Functionalists also stress the importance of conceptualizing facial, vocal, and gestural behaviors as signals that affect the behavior of other persons, and not just as outward signs of internal states. Because emotions are manifested in very flexible ways, functionalists steer their investigations away from the search for a "gold standard " by which an emotion can be operationalized. Functionalism also has major implications for studying how feeling and emotion are interrelated, and understanding how culture influences emotion and emotional development.
We examined the relationship among four basic-level emotions and free associated words and discussed the independence of basic-level emotion using chain association. Different groups of undergraduate students including both gender took part in three experiments. In the first experiment subjects (n=195) associated freely four basic-level emotional words, "happy", "sad", "anger", "relax". Twelve words which subjects had responded frequently in the first experiment were selected as stimulus words in the second experiment, and subjects (n=141) associated those twelve words freely as the previous experiment. Finally, in the third experiment, subjects (n=50) rated the degree of relationship among four emotional words and associated words.The multivariate analysis showed that there was an intimate relationship between a few word which were associated the unpleasant emotional category with and the pleasant emotional category. We discussed that non-linear transformation process in the word association were reflected in our results.