What are emotions?

There are several definitions of emotions and theoretical approaches to study them. In this course we will follow what is called the definition of emotions as core affect: Short-lived psychological states that consume the individual’s energy and strongly influence cognition and behavior, for example expression.

Emotional or affective behavior of an individual takes place at various timescales. Depending on the timescale we study, we refer to various types of behavior and their manifestation:

Affective Science is the (interdisciplinary) scientific study of emotions. Computational Affective Science applies methods from Computer Science and Data Science to Affective Science. Some examples are:

Measuring emotions

To empirically study emotions, we need methods to measure them. Emotions can be measured through various signals and observable behaviors of individuals.

In the following, we are going to cover four models of how to capture emotions in quantitative research. Some approaches are better for some modes or signals (e.g. text, facial expression) than others.

Ekman’s basic emotions model