Affective psychology, as its name indicates, focuses its study on treating the psychological field that is linked to people’s affective relationships. Although it is true that it has always been a subject of study to understand how human behavior works , as well as their emotions, science has made more precise contributions to its analysis.

The brain as an organ is a complex system which has a very important role with respect to emotions. Here various mental processes take place of which some are not aware, this is the case of emotions. Therefore, affectivity is not an experience that is controlled but can be felt, it is spontaneous as well as evolutionary .

The psychology affective sets out to find the source of some emotional patterns, these can be handled through decisions with foresight. That is, affectivity is the result of an interactive process that remains active throughout a person’s life, depending on various social factors, some of these affects will have a reciprocal response. It is possible to know what effect they will have by analyzing how these schemas are generated.

Affective psychology concept

Affective psychology is defined as a part of this science, which is responsible for studying the reaction capacity of people to both internal and external stimuli. These will have as their main manifestations the feelings and emotions , which are the result of the reception of said stimuli.

Affectivity from the point of view of psychology is the demonstrations of affection or love that are typical of the human being. Other species have also manifested this type of action in their environment, which is why humans and domestic pets manage to establish affective relationships.

However, affective psychology proposes that human beings express themselves mainly through emotions that can be positive or negative. On the other hand, other animal species have shown that their way of life and coexistence has a closer relationship with natural instincts .

Affective psychology was born as a necessity to inquire more about the origin of emotions , for this the brain is studied and to find which are the areas of the same that intervene. It has been established that emotions are generated spontaneously and it is not possible to have control over them either.

Currently the only certainty is that throughout a person’s life, the various experiences will shape the behavior that develops as a direct effect. The affects can consequently generate benefits or also problems if they are not treated correctly from the psychological point of view .

Characteristics of affective psychology 

The main characteristic of affective psychology is to focus its attention on the analysis of the various affective phenomena . Like other branches of psychology, in this case there are a series of characteristics that make it identifiable and unique due to the aspects that are considered most relevant to study:

  • It is a science that can be subjective, as it depends on the study of various internal experiences . External stimuli to which people are exposed are also taken into consideration.
  • It is considered the biological component that each individual’s personality possesses. This is shaped throughout life, depending on the way of reacting and relating to different situations and people.
  • One of its bases is to understand that feelings and emotions have a spontaneous character. These are the result of a reaction of each individual , therefore they are involuntary and cannot be considered as good or bad a priori.
  • This science understands that behavior and conduct have an emotional foundation behind them. It is also understood that emotions have a bipolar nature , they can mainly generate rejection and pleasure. But in some cases the affects can have neutral reactions.
  • Affective phenomena are universal from the expressive point of view. That is, human beings alike maintain the same pattern of behavior for the demonstration of joy and sadness, for example. A language is used that is understandable in any society or geographical area.
  • Affective psychology proposes that affective phenomena are directly related to people’s decisions and behaviors . Therefore, they have an important participation in rational processes, affectivity guides people.
  • It is about studying because objectivity is altered as well as logic. People are sometimes unable to critically analyze reality.
  • Affectivity requires that a language be used that is not limited to the use of written or verbal language. Gestures and attitudes are the main means.
  • Affective psychology proposes that it is not possible to disguise or deny the affects . In this way, feelings and emotions can induce people to make mistakes, as well as cheat or lie.
  • Affective psychology studies biological and constitutional factors . This means that it focuses its study on the central nervous system, also on endocrine functions, metabolism and hormones.
  • Genetically inherited factors are considered which contribute certain psychological characteristics.
  • Some learned factors are also considered in relation to family experiences mainly.

Examples of affective psychology

Affective psychology studies different processes , each of them can be more easily identified if they are compared with some common examples. These are classified according to the characteristics that are identified, these help to establish differences as well as similarities.

Affective psychic states can affect the psychological and organic system . The study of behavior, reactions and also analyze the origin of certain aspects of the personality , are all important elements for the study of affective psychology.

Each of the most important affective processes are described below, these are the object of study of this branch of psychology. The examples corresponding to each of these cases are described:

  • The intimacy is an emotional process that is the result of personal needs and has a significant value . For example, the personal affective reaction is different in each individual even if they are experiencing the same situation. This could be the case of receiving good news, people will have diverse reactions that correspond to intimate affective processes.
  • The intensity is defined as a subjective reaction that represents the magnitude of an inner attachment process. In each individual it occurs in a different way in variable periods of time, these correspond to various external factors and the capacity for self-control. For example, the reaction to a display of maternal affection.
  • The breadth defines the affective processes that are intimately linked to the personality . For example, this is the case of people who express sadness briefly or permanently because of a loss.
  • The polarity in an affective process is identified by the duality of reactions between positive and negative , but neutrality is also included. Affective processes can generate dislike, liking, repulsion or affectation alike. For example, emotions of affection or instead of hatred.
  • The depth defines the relevance or that is given to a relationship, feeling or emotion. Affective processes allow individuals to establish superficiality or relevance. For example, paternal affection is more relevant when compared with the affection that one has towards a material good.
  • The social value relates to the appreciation you have a view from the cultural or moral mainly. For example, in some affective processes, respect is considered to be more important when compared to envy.
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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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