What is Emotional Aperture?


Emotional aperture has been defined as the ability to perceive features of group emotions.

This skill involves the perceptual ability to adjust one’s focus from a single individual’s emotional cues to the broader patterns of shared emotional cues that comprise the emotional composition of the collective.


Some examples of features of group emotions include:

  • The level of variability of emotions among members (i.e. affective diversity);
  • The proportion of positive or negative emotions; and
  • The modal (i.e. most common) emotion present in a group.

The term “emotional aperture” was first defined by the social psychologist, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, and organisational theorist, Quy Huy. It has since been referenced in related work such as in psychologist, journalist, and author of the popular book Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman’s most recent book “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.” Academic references to emotional aperture and related work can be found on the references site for the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organisations.

Emotional Aperture abilities have been measured using the emotional aperture measure (EAM). The EAM consists of a series of short movie clip showing groups that have various brief reactions to an unspecified event. Following each movie clip, individuals are asked to report the proportion of individuals that had a positive or negative reaction.


The construct, emotional aperture, was developed to address the need to expand existing models of individual emotion perception (e.g. emotional intelligence) to take into account the veracity of group-based emotions and their action tendencies.

Book: Fully Human – 3 Steps to Grow Your Emotional Fitness in Work, Leadership, and Life

Book Title:

Fully Human – 3 Steps to Grow Your Emotional Fitness in Work, Leadership, and Life.

Author(s): Susan Packard.

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Tarcherperigee.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.


HGTV cofounder Susan Packard launches the next chapter in emotional intelligence (EQ), and shows you how to increase your personal satisfaction and productivity – in work and life – via her three-step path toward EQ Fitness.

Emotions can sink us, or they can power us like fuel to succeed. Many of us show up for work, and life, feeling lonely even in a room full of people, or bringing unproductive emotions into work, like anger or fear. You do not have to feel this way. Susan Packard offers an accessible new guidebook to grow your emotional fitness, and it has arrived just in time, as technology is quickly becoming our main interface for communication. No matter where you are in your career, success is an inside job. Packard lays out how to develop interdependent work relationships, and for leaders, how to build healthy company cultures.

Packard introduces us to successful people, and companies, that are rich with ‘connector’ emotions like hope, empathy and trust-building. She tackles unconventional topics, like how workaholism keeps us emotionally adolescent, and how forgiveness belongs in the workplace too. Packard shares her EQ Fit-catalysed success at HGTV and the stories of the executives she coaches in mindfulness and other emerging techniques, and she teaches an ‘inside out’ practice of self-discovery, which helps you uncover unproductive emotions, and dispel them.

The best leaders balance power and grace, and everyone can effectively use resilience – an ability to endure tough situations and make tough decisions, and vulnerability, a willingness to open up, change, and admit when we need help. She offers new tools to bring our strongest emotional selves to work each day.