What is a definition of emotion? And are emotions mental-behavioral processes?

Social Science Information 7 (3):26-29 (2007)
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[I argue that a precise definition of emotions is neither necessary nor possible prior to empirical research on emotions. It is not necessary because all that is needed for for fruitful research and successful communication is a working definition of emotions, a description that allows to roughly demarcate the class of emotions. It is not possible because precise emotion definitions are real definitions, empirical claims about the essence of emotions. These claims about the nature of emotion are always formulated against the background of a theory of emotion generation, whose truth they presuppose. The claim that emotions are syndromes of mental and behavioral states is such a theoretical definition of emotion. It is put into question by the finding of low correlations between the proposed syndrome components.]



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