Positive affect can be described as the experience of a set of emotions reflecting pleasurable engagement with the environment. Positive affect reflects neither a lack of negative affect, nor the opposite of negative affect, but is a separate, independent dimension of emotion (Watson & Tellegen, 1985). It may be exhibited as either a trait-like variable, typically referred to as positive affectivity, or as a state-like variable (Watson, 2002). Research on positive affectivity has focused on associations with beneficial coping mechanisms, increased cognitive flexibility, and certain health benefits and improved outcomes.
Watson and Tellegen (1985) presented a two-factor model of mood and affect, in which high levels of positive affect reflect enthusiastic, active, and alert mood states. They contrast this to negative affect, which includes aversive mood states, such as anger, guilt, nervousness, and fear. They suggest...
References and Readings
- Watson, D. (2002). Positive affectivity: The disposition to experience pleasurable emotional states. In C. R. Snyder (Ed.), Handbook of Positive Psychology (pp. 106–119). New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Watson, D., Weber, K., Assenheimer, J. S., Clark, L. A., Strauss, M. E., & McCormick, R. A. (1995). Testing a tripartite model: I. Evaluating the convergent and discriminant validity of anxiety and depression symptom scales. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, 1–14.Google Scholar