Affect is the result of an animal’s or human’s exposure to stimuli. Affect has been equated to other feeling states such as mood and emotion in past research; however, in its most basic form, affect represents a neurophysiologic state characterized by valance (pleasure versus displeasure) and strength (high activation versus low activation), and is conceptually and operationally different from other feeling states. Furthermore, scholars continue to conflate core affect by using it interchangeably with the concepts of emotion and mood. However, these three feeling states are different with respect to the level of description they provide for explaining responses to stimuli. For the purposes of this discussion, this entry uses James Russell and Lisa Feldman Barrett’s (1999) conceptualization of core affect as an ever-present state ...

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