Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Brent Dean RobbinsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_200076

Joy has been identified as a basic emotion in psychology (Ekman 1999). Basic emotions are characterized by universal signals, such as facial or vocal expressions or bodily comportments, which communicate the presence of the emotion to others and evoke the same or corresponding emotional states in others. As basic emotions, they are understood to form basic building blocks for more complex emotions. They share the quality of having distinct physiological, appraisal, cognitive, and perceptual patterns, and they occur early in development of human children. Basic emotions such as joy can be witnessed in other primates and even other mammals, and they tend to come on quickly and occur as a brief state of mind.

Joy differs from subjective well-being or happiness since the latter construct denotes a personality trait or an enduring state of mind rather than a fleeting or temporary emotional state (Robbins 2006; Campos et al. 2013). As a basic emotion, joy appears early in the development of...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPoint Park UniversityPittsburghUSA