People like some things yet dislike others, love some people but hate others, and sometimes feel happy and other times sad. From this perspective, feelings—generally referred to as affect, which includes such phenomena as attitudes, emotions, and moods—work in much the same way as temperature. Just as temperature falls along a simple dimension ranging from hot to cold, so, too, does affect fall along a simple dimension ranging from positive to negative.

A closer look, however, reveals that affect may be more complex than it first appears. Consider your attitude toward ice cream. You may like ice cream because it tastes good but also dislike ice cream because that great taste comes at the expense of vast amounts of fat, sugar, and calories. If so, you ...

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