Feelings of affect range from pleasant to unpleasant, from idle to activated

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A note for Lesson no. 6, "Brains Make More Than One Kind of Mind," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 105 is:

Feelings of affect range from pleasant to unpleasant, from idle to activated.

The appendix adds:

Affect is described by a mathematical structure [...] called a circumplex.

For more information on the affective circumplex, see these references.[1][2][3]

The dimensions of the affective circumplex — valence (pleasant, unpleasant) and arousal (active or attentive, still or sleepy) — are much older than the circumplex itself and have their roots in writings by the psychologist Wilhelm Wundt,[4] Robert S. Woodsworth,[5] and Harold H. Schlosberg,[6] among others. Note also that affect is not emotion.

See also

Interesting tidbits from the webnotes for How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain:


  1. Russell, James A. 1980. “A Circumplex Model of Affect.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39 (6): 1161–1178.
  2. Barrett, Lisa Feldman, and Eliza Bliss‐Moreau. 2009. “Affect as a Psychological Primitive.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 41: 167–218.
  3. Kuppens, Peter, Francis Tuerlinckx, James A. Russell, and Lisa Feldman Barrett. 2013. “The Relation Between Valence and Arousal in Subjective Experience.” Psychological Bulletin 139 (4): 917–940.
  4. Wundt, Wilhelm. (1897) 1998. Outlines of Psychology, translated by Charles Hubbard Judd. Bristol, UK: Thoemmes Press.
  5. Woodworth, Robert S. 1938. Experimental Psychology. Oxford, England: Holt.
  6. Schlosberg, Harold. 1954. "Three Dimensions of Emotion." Psychological Review 61: 81–88.