Categorical versus Dimensional Models of Affect

A seminar on the theories of Panksepp and Russell

Peter Zachar | Auburn University Montgomery
Ralph D. Ellis | Clark Atlanta University
ISBN 9789027241573 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027274755 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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One of the most important theoretical and empirical issues in the scholarly study of emotion is whether there is a correct list of “basic” types of affect or whether all affective states are better modeled as a combination of locations on shared underlying dimensions. Many thinkers have written on this topic, yet the views of two scientists in particular are dominant. The first is Jaak Panksepp, the father of Affective Neuroscience. Panksepp conceptualizes affect as a set of distinct categories. The leading proponent of the dimensional approach in scientific psychology is James Russell. According to Russell all affect can be decomposed into two underlying dimensions, pleasure versus displeasure and low arousal versus high arousal.

In this volume Panksepp and Russell each articulate their positions on eleven fundamental questions about the nature of affect followed by a discussion of these target papers by noted emotion theorists and researchers. Russell and Panksepp respond both to each other and to the commentators. The discussion leads to some stark contrasts, with formidable arguments on both sides, and some interesting convergences between the two streams of work.

[Consciousness & Emotion Book Series, 7] 2012.  vi, 350 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Zachar and Ellis have produced a valuable tome aimed at dissecting and contrasting the positions of Jaak Panksepp and James Russell on the matter of affect. Several differences are identified, mostly having to do with the different perspectives of the two target thinkers, but several areas of agreement emerge as well. The differences are illuminating and so the journey turns out to be rewarding for anyone interested in the nature and organization of affective processes.”
Categorical versus Dimensional Models of Affect makes important contributions to the thorny question “What are emotions?” By exploring two extremes in the debate, it helps illuminate the essence of emotion in the broader sense.””
Cited by

Cited by 7 other publications

Adair, Heather V.
2019. Updating Thought Theory: Emotion and the Non‐Paradox of Fiction. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100:4  pp. 1055 ff. DOI logo
Broekens, Joost
2021. Emotion. In The Handbook on Socially Interactive Agents,  pp. 349 ff. DOI logo
Grollero, Demetrio, Valentina Petrolini, Marco Viola, Rosalba Morese, Giada Lettieri & Luca Cecchetti
2023. The structure underlying core affect and perceived affective qualities of human vocal bursts. Cognition and Emotion 37:1  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Miller, Gregory A.
2020. Commentary on “The Impact of Faculty Psychology and Theories of Psychological Causation on the Origins of Modern Psychiatric Nosology”. In Levels of Analysis in Psychopathology,  pp. 479 ff. DOI logo
Montag, Christian & Jaak Panksepp
2017. Primary Emotional Systems and Personality: An Evolutionary Perspective. Frontiers in Psychology 8 DOI logo
Panksepp, Jaak
2015. The neuroevolutionary sources of mind. In The Constitution of Phenomenal Consciousness [Advances in Consciousness Research, 92],  pp. 226 ff. DOI logo
Russell, James A.
2016. A Sceptical Look at Faces as Emotion Signals. In The Expression of Emotion,  pp. 157 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 17 june 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Consciousness Research

Consciousness research



Main BIC Subject

JMQ: Psychology: emotions

Main BISAC Subject

PSY008000: PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011051987 | Marc record