An emotion is a "complex reaction pattern, involving experiential, behavioral, and physiological elements, by which the individual attempts to deal with a personally significant matter of event." It arises without conscious effort and is either positive or negative in its valence.
Other closely related terms are:
- affect, a synonym for emotion
- affect display, external display of emotion
- disposition, referring to a durable differentiating characteristic of a person, a tendency to react to situations with a certain emotion
- feeling, which usually refers to the subjective, phenomenological aspect of emotion
- mood, which refers to an emotional state of duration intermediate between an emotion and a disposition
Emotion is derived from French émotion, from émouvoir, 'excite' based on Latin emovere, from e- (variant of ex-) 'out' and movere 'move'. "Motivation" is also derived from movere.
Definitions of emotion
Emotion is very complex, and the term has no single universally accepted definition. The study of emotions is part of psychology, neuroscience, and ethics.
According to Sloman, emotions are cognitive processes. Some authors emphasize the difference between human emotions and the affective behavior of animals.
We often talk about brains as information-processing systems, but any account of the brain that lacks an account of emotions, motivations, fears, and hopes is incomplete. Emotions are measurable physical responses to salient stimuli: the increased heartbeat and perspiration that accompany fear, the freezing response of a rat in the presence of a cat, or the extra muscle tension that accompanies anger. Feelings, on the other hand, are the subjective experiences that sometimes accompany these processes: the sensations of happiness, envy, sadness, and so on. Emotions seem to employ largely unconscious machinery—for example, brain areas involved in emotion will respond to angry faces that are briefly presented and then rapidly masked, even when subjects are unaware of having seen the face. Across cultures the expression of basic emotions is remarkably similar, and as Darwin observed, it is also similar across all mammals. There are even strong similarities in physiological responses among humans, reptiles, and birds when showing fear, anger, or parental love.
Modern views propose that emotions are brain states that quickly assign value or valence to outcomes and provide a simple plan of action. Thus, emotion can be viewed as a type of computation, a rapid, automatic summary that initiates appropriate actions. When a bear is galloping toward you, the rising fear directs your brain to do the right things (determining an escape route) instead of all the other things it could be doing (rounding out your grocery list). When it comes to perception, you can spot an object more quickly if it is, say, a spider rather than a roll of tape. In the realm of memory, emotional events are laid down differently by a parallel memory system involving a brain area called the amygdala.
One goal of emotional neuroscience is to understand the nature of the many disorders of emotion, depression being the most common and costly. Impulsive aggression and violence are also thought to be consequences of faulty emotion regulation.
The function of emotion (relations between: Emotion, Meta-emotion, and Reason)
Emotion is generally regarded by Western civilization as the antithesis of reason. This distinction stems from Western philosophy specifically Cartesian dualism and modern interpretations of Stoicism, and is reflected in common phrases like appeal to emotion or your emotions have taken over.
In Paul D. MacLean's Triune brain model, emotions are defined as the responses of the Mammalian cortex. Emotion competes with even more instinctive responses from the Reptilian cortex and the more logical, reasoning neocortex. However, current research on the neural circuitry of emotion suggests that emotion is an essential part of human decision-making and planning, and that the famous distinction made by Descartes between reason and emotion is not as clear as it seems.
Emotions can be undesired either to the individual experiencing them, but also can be undesired to the other persons, groups of persons, organizations, sub-cultures, and civilizations such as Western civilization, which can be viewed as the emotion being subjected to the individual's or someone else's discouraging meta-emotion about the undesired emotion or can be even repressed by the meta-emotions. Thus one of the most distinctive, and perhaps challenging, facts about human beings is this potential for entanglement, or possibly opposition, between emotion, meta-emotion, will, and reason.
Some state that there is no empirical support for any generalization suggesting the antithesis between reason and emotion: indeed, anger or fear can often be thought of as a systematic response to observed facts. In any case, it is clear that the relation between logic and argument and emotion is one which merits careful study. 
Emotion as the subject of scientific research has multiple dimensions: behavioral, physiological, subjective, and cognitive. Sloman argues that many emotions are side-effects of the operations of complex mechanisms (e.g. 'alarm' mechanisms) required in animals or machines with multiple motives and limited capacities and resources for coping with a changing and unpredictable world, just as 'thrashing' can sometimes occur as a side-effect of scheduling and memory management mechanisms required in a computer operating system for purposes other than producing thrashing. Such side effects are sometimes useful, but sometimes they are dysfunctional. Other theorists, often influenced by writings of Antonio Damasio argue that emotions themselves are necessary for any intelligent system (natural or artificial).
Psychiatrist William Glasser's theory of the human control system states that behavior is composed of four simultaneous components: deeds, ideas, emotions, and physiological states. He asserts that we choose the idea and deed and that the associated emotions and physiological states also occur but cannot be chosen independently. He calls his construct a total behavior to distinguish it from the common concept of behavior. He uses the verbs to describe what is commonly seen as emotion. For example, he uses 'to depress' to describe the total behavior commonly known as depression which, to him, includes depressing ideas, actions, emotions, and physiological states. Dr. Glasser also further asserts that internal choices (conscious or unconscious) cause emotions instead of external stimuli.
Many psychologists adopt the ABC model, which defines emotions in terms of three fundamental attributes: A. physiological arousal, B. behavioral expression (e.g. facial expressions), and C. conscious experience, the subjective feeling of an emotion. All three attributes are necessary for a full fledged emotional event, though the intensity of each may vary greatly.
Robert Masters makes the following distinctions between affect, feeling and emotion: "As I define them, affect is an innately structured, non-cognitive evaluative sensation that may or may not register in consciousness; feeling is affect made conscious, possessing an evaluative capacity that is not only physiologically based, but that is often also psychologically (and sometimes relationally) oriented; and emotion is psychosocially constructed, dramatized feeling."
In pop culture there are sub-cultures which cultivate the expressions of anger and rebelliousness even when they are not really angry, its members encouraging each other to express the anger by internalizing meta-gladness about it. Encouragement (i.e. meta-gladness) and discouragement (i.e. psychological repression) of selected emotions - instead of mere awareness and equal interest in all emotions - can be considered as additional source of organizational climate, family dynamics, psychodynamics, personality traits, and of mental disorders, including depression among others.
Emotions in the Philosophy of Mind
In opposition to the traditional Philosophy of Mind that has considered emotions only as non-essential addition, at best giving a flavour to rational intellectual thought, the authors of naturalistic Philosophy of Mind inspired by prospects of building robots and other autonomous agents are starting to give emotions a central role as an indispensable constituent for adaptive agency (see DeLancey 2002/2004).
Emotions in Decision Making
There is increasing support for treating people's emotions as an information source in their decision making process.
Emotions in Philosophy
What is the relationship between reason and emotion?
4 Maccabees  echoes nearly the same idea, and "philosophically" discusses the reason versus emotion in an argument that if reason rules the emotions that prevent self-control, then it may rule the emotions that stop people from acting justly (malice) and courageously (anger, fear and pain), and describes primary emotions using a branching and farming analogy. In short:
- The two primary emotions are pleasure and pain, which can affect body or soul, and cause many effects. Pleasure can be preceded by desire and followed by delight. Pain can be preceded by fear and followed by grief. Anger embraces pleasure and pain. In pleasure is a malevolent tendency, causing complexity; in the soul it boasts, covets and craves honor, rivalry, and malice; in the body it causes careless eating, gluttony, and the greedy consumption of food.
- Summary: Pleasure and Pain are two plants growing from the body and the soul, and have many offshoots, each of which Reason weeds, prunes, ties up, waters, irrigates, and so tames the jungle of habits and emotions.
Such basic views of emotions have seen the world through thousands of years, leading to ideas like the age of reason, age of enlightenment (ironically scorned by many Christians) and logical positivism, and affecting the history of logic, reason and science from its roots to its latest stems.Conversely, emotional people experience reason as cold, irrational and evil, despite its benefits. There is no use to proving wrong such meaningless, logic-eschewing beliefs that don't want to or claim to be reasonable.
Theoretical traditions in Psychogical Emotion Research
Several theoretical traditions in emotion research have been offered. These traditions are not mutually exclusive and many researchers incorporate multiple perspectives in their work.
William James in the late 19th century believed that emotional experience is largely due to the experience of bodily changes. These changes might be visceral, postural, or facially expressive. The most basic of these somatic theories is the James-Lange theory. This theory and its derivates state that a changed situation leads to a changed bodily state. It is this bodily state which in turn gives rise to an emotion. Hence the emotion fear upon encountering a bear in the woods would follow from:
- Spot a bear
- -> Heart begins beating faster; adrenalin is being produced
- -> The emotion fear arises
- -> Heart begins beating faster; adrenalin is being produced
This approach underlies experiment where through manipulating the bodily state, a desired emotion is induced (e.g. in laughter therapy).
Walter Cannon provided empirical evidence against the dominance of the James-Lange theory of the physiological aspects emotions in the second edition of Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage. Cannon and Bard came up with a different account of the relations between emotions and behavior; where a certain situation leads to an emotion; which in turn activates a typical behavior. Here the emotion fear upon encountering a bear in the woods would result in:
- Spot a bear
- -> The emotion fear arises
- -> Run away
- -> The emotion fear arises
Research in social psychology interprets emotions as a combination of two elements; physiological arousal and cognitive interpretation. The earliest account of such a theory is the Singer-Schachter theory that is based on experiments that varied arousal introducing chemical (adrenaline) and put the participants in different situations. The combination of the appraisal of the situation (cognitive) and whether participants received adrenaline or a placebo together determined the response. In the example of the bear this would lead to:
- Spot a bear
- -> Adrenalin is released, hearts starts beating faster
- -> The sight of a bear is interpreted as being dangerous for the health (note this needs not necessarily be a conscious appraisal)
- -> The emotion fear arises.
Several other theories have a similar ideas, for example, the framework proposed by Nico Frijda where such appraisal leads to action tendencies is related to this idea.
In all these theories, the different emotions causes a detectable physical response in the body. These responses are often perceived as sensation in the body; for example:
- Fear is felt as a heightened heartbeat, increased “flinch” response, and increased muscle tension.
- Anger, based on sensation, seems indistinguishable from fear.
- Happiness is often felt as an expansive or swelling feeling in the chest and the sensation of lightness or buoyancy, as if standing underwater.
- Sadness is often experienced as a feeling of tightness in the throat and eyes, and relaxation in the arms and legs.
- Shame can be felt as heat in the upper chest and face.
- Desire can be accompanied by a dry throat, heavy breathing, and increased heart rate.
The evolutionary perspective
A fourth theoretical tradition has been gaining influence once more (see: Cornelius, 1996). This fourth, evolutionary tradition, started in the late 19th century with Charles Darwin's publication of a book on the expression of emotions in man and animals. Darwin's original thesis was that emotions evolved via natural selection for reasons of warning other creatures about your intentions (e.g. a cat with a high back is angry and will strike you unless you back off). Darwin argued that for mankind emotions were no longer functional but are epiphenomena of functional associated habits. Such an evolutionary origin would predict emotions to be cross-culturally universal. Confirmation of this biological origin was provided by Paul Ekman's seminal research on facial expressions in humans. Other research in this area focuses on physical displays of emotion including body language of animals and facial expressions in humans. (See Affect display.) The increased potential in neuroimaging has allowed investigation of this idea focusing on the working brain itself. Important neurological advances where made from this perspectives in the 1990s by, for example, Joseph LeDoux and Antonio Damasio.
Primary and secondary emotion
- Smell carries directly to limbic areas of the mammalian brain via nerves running from the olfactory bulbs to the septum, amygdala, and hippocampus. In the acquatic brain, olfaction was critical for detecting food, foes, and mates from a distance in murky waters.
- An emotional feeling, like an aroma, has a volatile or "thin-skinned" quality because sensory cells lie on the exposed exterior of the olfactory epithelium (i.e., on the bodily surface itself).
- A sudden scent, like a whiff of smelling salts, may jolt the mind. The force of a mood is reminiscent of a smell's intensity (e.g., soft and gentle, pungent, or overpowering), and similarly permeates and fades as well. The design of emotion cues, in tandem with the forebrain's olfactory prehistory, suggests that the sense of smell is the neurological model for our emotions.
Secondary emotions (i.e., feelings attached to objects [e.g., to dental drills], events, and situations through learning) require additional input, based largely on memory, from the prefrontal and somatosensory cortices. The stimulus may still be processed directly via the amygdala but is now also analyzed in the thought process. Thoughts and emotions are interwoven: every thought, however bland, almost always carries with it some emotional undertone, however subtle.
Neurobiological theories of emotion
Based on discoveries made through neural mapping of the limbic system, the neurobiological explanation of human emotion is that emotion is a pleasant or unpleasant mental state organized in the limbic system of the mammalian brain.
Defined as such, these emotional states are specific manifestations of non-verbally expressed feelings of agreement, amusement, anger, certainty, control, disagreement, disgust, disliking, embarrassment, fear, guilt, happiness, hate, interest, liking, love, sadness, shame, surprise, and uncertainty. If distinguished from reactive responses of reptiles, emotions would then be mammalian elaborations of general vertebrate arousal patterns, in which neurochemicals (e.g., dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin) step-up or step-down the brain's activity level, as visible in body movements, gestures, and postures. In mammals, primates, and human beings, feelings are displayed as emotion cues.
For example, the human emotion of love is proposed to have evolved from paleocircuits of the mammalian brain (specifically, modules of the cingulated gyrus) designed for the care, feeding, and grooming of offspring. Paleocircuits are neural platforms for bodily expression configured millions of years before the advent of cortical circuits for speech. They consist of pre-configured pathways or networks of nerve cells in the forebrain, brain stem and spinal cord. They evolved prior to the earliest mammalian ancestors, as far back as the jawless fishes, to control motor function.
Presumably, before the mammalian brain, life in the non-verbal world was automatic, preconscious, and predictable. The motor centers of reptiles react to sensory cues of vision, sound, touch, chemical, gravity, and motion with pre-set body movements and programmed postures. With the arrival of night-active mammals, circa 180 million years ago, smell replaced vision as the dominant sense, and a different way of responding arose from the olfactory sense, which is proposed to have developed into mammalian emotion and emotional memory. In the Jurassic Period, the mammalian brain invested heavily in olfaction to succeed at night as reptiles slept — one explanation for why olfactory lobes in mammalian brains are proportionally larger than in the reptiles. These odor pathways gradually formed the neural blueprint for what was later to become our limbic brain.
Emotions are thought to be related to activity in brain areas that direct our attention, motivate our behavior, and determine the significance of what is going on around us. Pioneering work by Broca (1878), Papez (1937), and MacLean (1952) suggested that emotion is related to a group of structures in the center of the brain called the limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus, cingulate cortex, hippocampi, and other structures. More recent research has shown that some of these limbic structures are not as directly related to emotion as others are, while some non-limbic structures have been found to be of greater emotional relevance. The following brain structures are currently thought to be most involved in emotion:
- Amygdala — The amygdalae are two small, round structures located anterior to the hippocampi near the temporal poles. The amygdalae are involved in detecting and learning what parts of our surroundings are important and have emotional significance. They are critical for the production of emotion, and may be particularly so for negative emotions, especially fear.
- Prefrontal cortex — The term prefrontal cortex refers to the very front of the brain, behind the forehead and above the eyes. It appears to play a critical role in the regulation of emotion and behavior by anticipating the consequences of our actions. The prefrontal cortex may play an important role in delayed gratification by maintaining emotions over time and organizing behavior toward specific goals.
- Anterior cingulate — The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is located in the middle of the brain, just behind the prefrontal cortex. The ACC is thought to play a central role in attention, and may be particularly important with regard to conscious, subjective emotional awareness. This region of the brain may also play an important role in the initiation of motivated behavior.
- Ventral striatum — The ventral striatum is a group of subcortical structures thought to play an important role in emotion and behavior. One part of the ventral striatum called the nucleus accumbens is thought to be involved in the experience of goal-directed positive emotion. Individuals with addictions experience increased activity in this area when they encounter the object of their addiction.
- Insula — The insular cortex is thought to play a critical role in the bodily experience of emotion, as it is connected to other brain structures that regulate the body’s autonomic functions (heart rate, breathing, digestion, etc.). This region also processes taste information and is thought to play an important role in experiencing the emotion of disgust.
Positive and negative perception
Like aromas, emotions are experienced as either positive or negative, pleasant or unpleasant; emotions do not seem to be neutral. Like odors, feelings come and go, but are logical, and clearly show upon our face in mood signs. It is likely that many emotions evolved from aroma paleocircuits a. in subcortical nuclei (e.g., the paleocortex of the amygdala), and b. in layers of nerve cells within the forebrain's outer covering of neocortex. The latter's stratified architecture resembles that of the olfactory bulb, which is organized in layers as well.
Sociology of Emotions
Systematic observations of group interaction found that a substantial portion of group activity is devoted to the socio-emotional issues of expressing affect and dealing with tension. Simultaneously, field studies of social attraction in groups revealed that feelings of individuals about each other collate into social networks, a discovery that still is being explored in the field of social network analysis.
Ethnomethodology revealed emotional commitments to everyday norms through purposeful breaching of the norms. For example, students acting as boarders in their own homes reported others' astonishment, bewilderment, shock, anxiety, embarrassment, and anger; family members accused the students of being mean, inconsiderate, selfish, nasty, or impolite. Actors who breach a norm themselves feel waves of emotion, including apprehension, panic, and despair. However, habitual rule breaking leads to declining stress, and may eventually end in enjoyment.
T. David Kemper proposed that people in social interaction have positions on two relational dimensions: status and power. Emotions emerge as interpersonal events change or maintain individuals' status and power. For example, affirming someone else's exalted status produces love-related emotions. Increases or decreases in one's own and other's status or power generate specific emotions whose quality depends on the patterns of change.
Sociologist Randall Collins has stated that emotional energy is the main motivating force in social life, for love and hatred, investing, working or consuming, rendering cult or waging war. Emotional energy ranges from the highest heights of enthusiasm, self-confidence and initiative to the deepest depths of apathy, depression and retreat. Emotional energy comes from variously successful or failed chains of interaction rituals, that is, patterned social encounters –from conversation or sexual flirtation through Christmas family dinners or office work to mass demonstrations, organizations or revolutions. In the latter, the coupling of participants' behavior synchronizes their nervous systems to the point of generating a collective effervescence, one observable in their mutual focus and emotional entraining, as well as in their loading of emotional and symbolic meaning to entities which subsequently become emblems of the ritual and of the membership group endorsing, preserving, promoting and defending them. Thus social life would be most importantly about generating and distributing emotional energy.
Thomas J. Scheff established that many cases of social conflict are based on a destructive and often escalating, but stoppable and reversible shame-rage cycle: when someone results or feels shamed by another, their social bond comes under stress. This can be cooperatively acknowledged, talked about and – most effectively when possible - laughed at so their social bond may be restored. Yet, when shame is not acknowledged, but instead negated and repressed, it becomes rage, and rage may drive to aggressive and shaming actions that feed-back negatively on this self-destructive situation. The social management of emotions might be the fundamental dynamics of social cooperation and conflict around resources, complexity, conflict and moral life. It is well-established sociological fact that expression and feeling of the emotion of anger, for example, is strongly discouraged (repressed) in girls and women in many cultures, while fear is discouraged in boys and men. Some cultures and sub-cultures encourage or discourage happiness, sadness, jealousy, excitedness, and many other emotions. The free expression of the emotion of disgust is considered socially unacceptable in many countries.
Arlie Hochschild proposed that individuals apply cultural and ideological standards to judge the suitability of emotions occurring during a social interaction, and then manage their feelings to produce acceptable displays. Hochschild showed that jobs often require such emotional labor. Her classic study of emotional labor among flight attendants found that an industry speed-up, reducing contact between flight attendants and passengers, made it impossible for flight attendants to deliver authentic emotional labor, so they ended up surface-acting superficial smiles. Peggy Thoits divided emotion management techniques into implementation of new events and reinterpretation of past events. Thoits noted that emotions also can be managed with drugs, by performing faux gestures and facial expressions, or by cognitive reclassifications of one's feelings.
Affect Control Theory which was originated by David R. Heise proposes that social actions are designed by their agents to create impressions that befit sentiments reigning in a situation. Emotions are transient personal states depending on the current impression of the emoting person, and on the comparison of that impression with the sentiment attached to the person's identity.
Classification of emotions
There has been considerable debate whether emotions should be classified as a position in a continuum (e.g. the circumplex model by Russell, or many of the valence approaches in social psychology) or whether emotions are best identified as distinct (basic) states.
Classification by basic emotions
One of the most influential classification approaches in the study of emotion is Robert Plutchik’s classification into eight primary emotions. The emotions that Plutchik lists as primary are:
Similar to the way primary colors combine, primary emotions are believed to blend together to form the full spectrum of human emotional experience. Plutchik reasons that these eight are primary on evolutionary grounds, by relating each to behavior with survival value. For example: fear motivates flight from danger, anger motivates fighting for survival. They are considered to be part of our biological heritage and built into human nature.Paul Ekman devised a similar list of basic emotions from cross-cultural research on the Fore tribesmen of Papua New Guinea. He found that even members of an isolated, stone age culture could reliably identify the expressions of emotion in photographs of people from cultures which the Fore were not yet familiar, and concluded that the facial expression of some basic emotions is innate. The following is Ekman’s list of basic emotions:
Lazarus (1991) similarly offers a taxonomy of 'Core Relational Themes' for various emotions; these help define both function and eliciting conditions. They include a demeaning offense against me and mine for anger; facing an immediate, concrete, and overwhelming physical danger for fear; having experienced an irrevocable loss for sadness; taking in or being too close to an indigestible object or idea (metaphorically speaking) for disgust; making reasonable progress toward the realization of a goal for happiness.
Emotions and Psychotherapy
Depending on the particular school's general emphasize either on cognitive component of emotion, physical energy discharging, or on symbolic movement and facial expression components of emotion, different schools of psychotherapy approach human emotions differently. While, for example, the school of Re-evaluation Counseling propose that distressing emotions are to be relieved by “discharging” them - hence crying, laughing, sweating, shaking, and trembling. other more cognitively oriented schools approach them via their cognitive components, or via symbolic movement and facial expression components (like in contemporary Gestalt therapy).
Meta-emotion refers in accordance with the general definition of the prefix "meta-" to second-order emotions about first-order emotions. Meta-emotions can be short-lived or long-lived. The latter can be a source of discouragement or even psychological repression, or encouragement of specific emotions, having implications for personality traits, psychodynamics, organizational climate, emotional disorders, but also emotional awareness, and emotional intelligence.
Emotions and computer models, artificial intelligence and computing
A flurry of recent work in computer science, engineering, psychology and neuroscience is aimed at developing devices that recognize human affect display and modelling emotions generally (Fellous, Armony & LeDoux, 2002).
Emotion in animals
Animals have physiological responses that are analogous to human emotional responses, as has been recognized at least since Darwin published The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals in 1872.
- vandenBos, Gary B. (2006). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
- Emotional Competency discussion of emotion
- Sloman, Aaron (1981) Why Robots Will Have Emotions. In proc.. University of Sussex, UK
- Damasio, Antonio (1994) Descartes Error Penguin Putnam, New York, New York
- Damasio, Antonio (1994) Descartes Error Penguin Putnam, New York, New York
- Masters, Robert (2000), Compassionate Wrath: Transpersonal Approaches to Anger
- 4 Maccabees
- Darwin, Charles (1872). The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. Note: This book was originally published in 1872, but has been reprinted many times thereafter by different publishers
- Hare, A. P. (1976). Handbook of small group research (2nd ed.). New York: Free Press, Chapter 3
- Hare, A. P. (1976). Handbook of small group research (2nd ed.). New York: Free Press, Chapter 7
- Milgram, S. (1974, ). An interview with Carol Tavris. Psychology Today, pp. 70-73
- Kemper, T. D. (1978). A social interactional theory of emotion. New York: Wiley
- Collins, Randall. (2004) Interaction Ritual Chains. Princeton University Press
- Scheff, Thomas J, and Retzinger, Suzanne. (1991) Emotions and violence : shame and rage in destructive conflicts. Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books
- Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart: The commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press
- Thoits, P. A. (1990). Emotional deviance: research agendas. T. D. Kemper (Ed.), Research agendas in the sociology of emotions (pp. 180–203). Albany: State University of New York Press
- Ekman, P. & Friesen, W. V (1969). The repertoire of nonverbal behavior: Categories, origins, usage, and encoding. Semiotica, 1, 49–98.
- Counseling recovery processes - RC website
- On Emotion - an article from Manchester Gestalt Centre website
- Arbib, M. and Fellous, J-M (editors). (2005) Who Needs Emotions?: The Brain Meets the Robot. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
- Cornelius, R. (1996). The science of emotion. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- DeLancey, C. (2002/2004). "Passionate Engines: What Emotions Reveal about Mind and Artificial Intelligence", Oxford University Press.
- Ekman P. (1999). "Basic Emotions". In: T. Dalgleish and M. Power (Eds.). Handbook of Cognition and Emotion. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Sussex, UK:.
- Ekman P. (1999). "Facial Expressions" in Handbook of Cognition and Emotion. Dalgleish T & Power M, Eds. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. New York, New York.
- Fellous, J.M., Armony, J.L., & LeDoux, J.E. (2002). "Emotional Circuits and Computational Neuroscience" in 'The handbook of brain theory and neural networks' Second Edition. M.A. Arbib (editor), The MIT Press. 
- Frijda, Nico H. (1986). The Emotions. Maison des Sciences de l'Homme and Cambridge University Press. 
- Jaeger, C., & Bartsch, A. (2006), "Meta-emotions". Grazer Philosophische Studien, 73, 179–204.
- Lazarus, R. (1991). "Emotion and adaptation". New York: Oxford University Press.
- LeDoux, J.E. (1986). The neurobiology of emotion. Chap. 15 in J E. LeDoux & W. Hirst (Eds.) Mind and Brain: dialogues in cognitive neuroscience. New York: Cambridge.
- Plutchik, R. (1980). A general psychoevolutionary theory of emotion. In R. Plutchik & H. Kellerman (Eds.), Emotion: Theory, research, and experience: Vol. 1. Theories of emotion (pp. 3–33). New York: Academic.
- Moore, S. C. & Oaksford, M. (2002) Emotional Cognition: From Brain to Behaviour. Amsterdam: John Benjamin’s Publishing Company.
- Loewenstein, G. F., Weber, E. U., Hsee, C.K., & Welch, E. 2001. Risk as feelings. Psychological Bulletin, 127: 267–286
- Mellers, B., &McGraw, A. P. (2001). Anticipated emotions as guides to choice. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 10(6), 210–214.
- Isen, A. M. (2001). An influence of positive affect on decision making in complex situations: Theoretical issues with practical implications. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 11(2), 75–85
- William James
- Charles Darwin
- Ivan Pavlov
- James Papez
- Paul D. MacLean
- Paul Ekman
- Antonio Damasio
- Candace Pert
- Robert Plutchik
- Joseph LeDoux
- Robert Zajonc
- Baruch Spinoza
- Klaus Scherer
- Richard Lazarus
- Lisa Feldman Barrett
- Gerald Clore
- Anat Refaeli
- Affective computing
- Affective neuroscience
- Affective science
- Anticipatory Grief
- Emotional dysregulation — as in a borderline personality
- Emotions and Culture
- Emotion and memory
- Emotion in negotiation
- List of emotions
- Emotional bias
- Emotional detachment
- Emotional distance
- Descartes' Error
- Emotional conflict
- Emotional contagion
- Emotional Intelligence
- Group Emotion
- Philosophy of Mind
- Dissociation (psychology)
- Emotions and Disease, an exhibition developed by the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.
- A consultancy started by Shombit Sengupta works on infusing emotional surplus on organizational offerings
- Emotions, a well-organized collection of links on emotion by Michael Speer.
- An emotion research page at Salk Institute, maintained by Jean-Marc Fellous and Eva Hudlicka
- The affective computing portal
- Socially intelligent agents page
- Low emotional intelligence and alexithymia
- The Psychology of Emotions, Feelings and Thoughts, Free Online Book
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