Affect theory organizes affects (i.e., emotions, or subjectively experienced feelings) into discrete categories and connects each one with its typical response. For example, the affect joy is observed through the display of smiling. These affects can be identified through immediate facial reactions that people have to a stimulus, typically well before they could process any real response to the stimulus.

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  • Affect theory organizes affects (i.e., emotions, or subjectively experienced feelings) into discrete categories and connects each one with its typical response. For example, the affect joy is observed through the display of smiling. These affects can be identified through immediate facial reactions that people have to a stimulus, typically well before they could process any real response to the stimulus. Affect theory is attributed to psychologist Silvan Tomkins and is introduced in the first two volumes of his book Affect Imagery Consciousness. The word affect, as used in Tomkins theory, specifically refers to the "biological portion of emotion"; that is, it refers to "hard-wired, preprogrammed, genetically transmitted mechanisms that exist in each of us", which, when triggered, precipitate a "known pattern of biological events". However, it is also acknowledged that, in adults, the affective experience is a result of both the innate mechanism and a "complex matrix of nested and interacting ideo-affective formations." (en)
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  • Affect theory organizes affects (i.e., emotions, or subjectively experienced feelings) into discrete categories and connects each one with its typical response. For example, the affect joy is observed through the display of smiling. These affects can be identified through immediate facial reactions that people have to a stimulus, typically well before they could process any real response to the stimulus. (en)
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  • Affect theory (en)
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