Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Theories of Emotion, History of

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_162


We are all experts on emotion – we were influenced by them before we could talk, we have been thinking about what they are and what they mean ever since we could reason, and we have all at one time or another wished fervently that we could better understand and manage them. In this chapter our primary focus is on formal Western scientific theories in psychology that aim to explain emotion’s function, operation, and effects on behavior. Historical and current study of emotion is rich with theory. In psychology it is easy to count over 20 theories of emotion put forward since the 1960s (Strongman 2003). The scientific study of emotion from its earliest days has been an interdisciplinary enterprise; however, the scope of this chapter does not include theories grounded in philosophy, social history, sociology, or anthropology.

Some features of emotion make its study both fascinating and complex. These features include:
  1. 1.

    Emotion has multiple facets. Emotion can be described...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology & Women’s StudiesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkPAUSA