Scientific article

Toward a Working Definition of Emotion

Published inEmotion Review, vol. 4, no. 4, p. 345-357
Publication date2012

A definition of emotion common to the affective sciences is an urgent desideratum. Lack of such a definition is a constant source of numerous misunderstandings and a series of mostly fruitless debates. There is little hope that there ever will be agreement on a common definition of emotion, given the sacred traditions of the disciplines involved and the egos of the scholars working in these disciplines. Our aim here is more modest. We propose a list of elements for a working definition of emotion and discuss the justification for the inclusion of elements from our respective perspectives (philosophy and psychology). This working partial definition may at least serve as a litmus test to examine theories of emotion, old and new, across disciplinary boundaries.

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Citation (ISO format)
MULLIGAN, Kevin, SCHERER, Klaus R. Toward a Working Definition of Emotion. In: Emotion Review, 2012, vol. 4, n° 4, p. 345–357. doi: 10.1177/1754073912445818
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1754-0739

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