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Affective processes

When we use introspection as a method to observe our interior, we can notice different experiences from those that come to us from the outside world; These are called affective experiences or affective processes. They do not include memories or thoughts, but directly contain the feelings of each individual.

What are affective processes?

Affective processes are psychic phenomena of an intimate and personal nature, since they are experienced from a subjective perspective . They are dominated by two great conditions: the qualitative and the quantitative aspect. Within the qualitative aspect we can mention the orientation of the behavior and the direction of the reaction attitudes; Within the quantitative aspect we find the mobilization and transfer of organic energy.

The affective life is made up of those phenomena that appear in consciousness as modifications of the I and are identified with the subject who experiences them. According to the Belgian psychologist and philosopher Georges Dwelshauvers, mental life begins with the affective and affective experiences are the most elementary manifestations of conscious life.

Affective processes constitute one of the three main aspects of human behavior and are the main motivators of such behavior.

Our feelings remain in our sensations; in our wishes; in our actions, determining what perception or idea we should follow.

Enrique Mouchet (Argentine psychologist) proposes two kinds of sensation, in terms of the psychic effect they produce: the sensation with notion and the sensation with emotion. The sensation with notion is shown accompanied by prior knowledge and is a conscious sensation, whereas the sensation with emotion can be linked to trends and can sometimes occur subconsciously. However, the transition between one and the other is insensitive; in fact, although there are sensations more particularly reserved for emotion and others more reserved for the notion, at some point they will all be accompanied by notion and emotion at the same time.

Trends in affective processes

Trends are modes of behavior. These comprise large varieties of actions acquired by individuals, which resemble a general type of actions that are innate to the species. The different reactions acquired by the experience of each one of us, obey the tendencies . These have a common, typical and hereditary background.

The tendencies are latent forces of the organism; These forces sometimes drift towards feelings and other times they drift towards acting. From emotion and acting, emotions and instincts arise.

For Howard C. Warren (American psychologist) the tendency is the basis of action, the foundation of motor skills, that which motivates movement and which is modified by contact with external stimuli.

Theories of emotions

Emotions are complex psychological states made up of facts of consciousness. These can be caused by images and ideas and are closely linked to instincts and trends. They involve three different components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response.

While experts believe that there are a number of basic universal emotions, they also believe that experiencing emotions can be highly subjective. Subjective experience is one of the main components of emotions. Although an emotion can be generalized as being angry, happy or sad, the subject’s own experience is what defines each emotion.

In the words of Mc Dougall (English psychologist), each instinct presents an emotion, therefore, it can be concluded that the emotion is the affective aspect of the instinct.

The intellectual theory, proposes that the mental state would be the main factor of the emotions. These would have their origin in the conciliation or clash between ideas, subsequently generating concomitant physiological phenomena. According to this theory, emotions would be a special mental state where the events would occur in a chronological order that includes: an idea, the emotion and finally the expression of that emotion.

The psycho-physiological theory of James and Lange suggests that emotions occur as a result of physiological reactions to events. In other words, this theory proposes that people have a physiological response to external stimuli and that the interpretation of that physical response results in an emotional experience. These authors attach extraordinary importance to internal organic movements and external expressions.

For William James and Carl Lange the events occur in a different chronological order from that of intellectual theory; first the idea is located, then the organic expression and finally the emotion. This is one of the most widely used theories in positive psychology; It is not without reason that psychologists advise people who are sad to make a happy face, look at themselves in front of a mirror and rehearse their laughter. The emotional reaction will depend on how the physical reactions are interpreted

Pleasure and pain

Pleasure and pain are in the group of so-called “simple affective experiences . ” According to classical psychology, these would be the basic elements of all sensible life, understanding by pleasure everything that causes pleasure and satisfaction, and pain everything that causes displeasure.

When we speak of pleasure we refer to expansion, the increase of psychic energies that become benefits; On the other hand, when we speak of pain we refer to a setback, to displeasure , to the decrease in psychic energy that becomes destruction and loss for an individual.

Both pleasure and pain can be classified into two groups: physical and moral. Physical pleasure can be, for example, savoring a food that produces a pleasant sensation or touching something that is hot when it is cold, and moral pleasure can be receiving praise or encouraging news. In relation to pain, a physical pain can be produced by a cut or a burn and, a moral pain can be produced by bad news or negative thoughts.

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According to psychoanalytic theory, the individual instinctively has to seek satisfaction. The pleasure principle is linked to the unconscious mind, to the id of the personality. The Id is the one who will try to dominate the mind to satisfy the needs and instinctual impulses that generate pleasure and allow psychic energy to flow freely.

Continuing with the psychoanalytic theory, pain would become part of the reality principle, which is governed by the ego of the personality and seeks to control the instinctual impulses sent by the id. According to the reality principle, psychic energy no longer flows freely, but is transformed to circulate in a controlled manner.

The passions

Passions are chronic, stable, intense and lasting affective states. Unlike what is usually believed and that some authors have hinted, in the passions there is no elimination of reason. It cannot be said that a passionate person does not think, nor that passion implies the elimination of reason. Although a subject can be carried away by his feelings and give a place to impulses, his rational brain continues to function, although with a tendency that leans towards his emotional side.

Streamlining is a normal process of physical activity. This consists of self-justification and the effort to direct thoughts in search of reasons or justifications for their actions. The passionate subject, tends to distort reality and believe in the facts of pure imagination ; it presents a logical reasoning, at least to itself, although it lacks objectivity.

A passionate state is characterized, first of all, by the total concentration and absorption of the psychic life in a given matter, wrapped in an intense affective tonality. Under the dominion of passion, the ego becomes unbalanced, absorbed by the passionate inclination. The Ego remains identified with the dominant passion until new forces emerge to help it regain balance and achieve independence.

The forms of passion correspond to the same amount of possible feelings. There is a passion for beauty, for art, for success, for justice, for love, etc. The love passion is one of the most mentioned, because it can lead the individual to commit wrong deeds and end up on the brink of despair.

Passion is a dominant affective interest, which leads the individual towards action. This is formed when the normal personality rejects certain deep aspirations that it cannot control, but neither can it eliminate from its psyche. According to Freudian theory , these manifestations would be impulses sent by the Id.

At the core of all passion we find a kind of obsessive fixed idea that undergoes modifications throughout the passionate process. Finally, it develops by confiscating most of the mental forces that inhabit the psyche and is nourished by that obsessive idea created previously, which displaces all other impulses and desires. Unless it is destroyed by a new awakening of the Self, it will find itself dominating the consciousness with the passionate impulses that emerge from the unconscious.


Affection is the external expression of feelings and emotions. This can manifest itself through expressions such as: the tone of voice, a smile, facial stiffness, a frown, a tear, biting the lips, a pleasant sound or a look. Any facial expression, body movement or tone of voice that indicates an emotion will be considered an affection.

Affection is generally used for communication between individuals, to decipher the way another person feels about an event.

Types of affection

There are four main types of affects, which are shown according to the individual’s reaction to emotions.

Flat affection 

This type of affection is a restriction of all expression of emotion. For example, a person using flat affect will not express their emotion through facial expressions, tone of voice, or body movements.

Broad affection

This is a type of affect that is commonly shown in psychologically healthy individuals. This person can express a wide variety of affections to show sadness, excitement, happiness, fear, shame, etc.

Those who show broad affection have the ability to show their emotions through various facial expressions, for example, they can express a wide variety of affections to show sadness, joy, happiness, fear, shame, etc.

Restricted affect

Restricted affect denotes a limited range of affects that a person can display. For example, when they talk about something that they are really happy or excited about, they may not smile or express their emotions in a cheerful way.

There are cases where the restricted affect becomes more severe and the expression of emotion becomes even more absent. Sometimes those who show restricted affection can be seen as expressionless and insensitive, but this is because they limit their affection for their personal use.

Slippery affection

This is an unstable effect, which is generally disproportionate to the situation. This type of affection is sometimes seen as inappropriate. For example, a person with whom you are having a conversation can make a funny comment and the reaction that is generated by slippery affection can be an uncontrollable and exaggerated laugh for a prolonged period of time.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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