According to cognitive appraisal theory, emotion in an individual is the result of how a situation/event is evaluated by the individual. This evaluation has different outcomes among people and it is often suggested to be operationalised by a set of rules or beliefs acquired by the subject throughout development. In addition, an individual might elicit more than one emotion at a time in reaction to an event. In this work, we show that: (i) the cognitive appraisal process can be realised without a complex set of rules; instead, we propose that this process can be operationalised by knowing only the positive or negative perceived effect the event has on the subject, thus facilitating extensibility and integrability of the emotional system; (ii) the final emotional state to attribute in relation to a specific situation is better explained by ethical reasoning mechanisms. These hypotheses are plausibly supported by our experimental results.