We reviewed the literature on affect, with a special emphasis on affective experience. We proposed a taxonomy of affective experience that distinguishes types, qualities, and aspects of affective experience. Different types of affective experience have different origins and have different consequences for the formation and change of attitudes. Emotions and sensory affects are more likely to have lasting effects on attitudes than moods. A salient distinction between qualities of affective experience is valence (pleasant vs. unpleasant). Recent evidence of mixed feelings suggests that pleasure and displeasure are distinct affective qualities. One important avenue for future research is relating mixed affective experience to ambivalent attitudes (Priester & Petty, 1996). We also believe that attitude research can benefit from the distinction among aspects of affective experience. Some attitudes may be based on a few intense experiences, whereas others may be based on frequent mild affective experiences. Finally, the rapid progress in affective neuroscience provides new opportunities to study the neurological underpinning of the affective component of attitudes.
Contribution to Book
The structure of affectThe handbook of attitudes (2005)
EditorD. Albarracín, B. T. Johnson, & M. P. Zanna
Citation InformationSchimmack, U., & Crites, S. L. J. R. (2005). The Structure of Affect. In D. Albarracín, B. T. Johnson & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), The handbook of attitudes. (pp. 397-435). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.