Affect is the psychological term for an observable expression of emotion.

A person's affect is the expression of emotion or feelings displayed to others through facial expressions, hand gestures, voice tone, posture, and other nonverbal communicators of emotion such as laughter or tears. Individual affect fluctuates according to emotional state. What is considered a normal range of expressed feelings, called broad affect, varies from culture to culture, as well as within culture. Some people may gesture widely while talking and display dramatic facial expressions in reaction to social situations or other stimuli whereas others may show little outward expression, showing a narrow range of emotions to the outside world.

See also Abnormal psychology ; Emotion ; Mood ; Social competence ; Social psychology .



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Gregg, Melissa, and Gregory J. Seigworth. The Affect Theory Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.


American Psychiatric Association, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 1825, Arlington, VA, 22209, (703) 907-7300, (888) 357-7924),, .