Categorical versus Dimensional Models of Affect

A seminar on the theories of Panksepp and Russell

| Auburn University Montgomery
| Clark Atlanta University
ISBN 9789027241573 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027274755 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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
1. Introduction: Categories, dimensions, and the problem of progress in affective science
Peter Zachar
2. In defense of multiple Core Affects
Jaak Panksepp
3. From a psychological constructionist perspective
James A. Russell
4. “Nature proposes…and science disposes” tertiary vs primary process approaches to emotions and affects: Commentary on Jim Russell’s position
Jaak Panksepp
5. Preliminary comments on Panksepp
James A. Russell
6. Discrete emotions: From folk psychology to causal mechanisms
Andrea Scarantino
7. Nothing in mammalian psychology makes sense except in light of primary-process affective capacities
Paul Sheldon Davies
8. Lessons for affective science from a metascience of ‘molecular and cellular cognition’
John Bickle
9. Affect as appraisal
Meaghan A. Leddy, Gail C. Robertson and Jay Schulkin
10. What should theories of emotion be about?
James R. Averill
11. Valence, reductionism, and the ineffable: Philosophical reflections on the Panksepp–Russell debate
Ronald de Sousa
12. Functional and empirical presuppositions in Russell and Panksepp: Neural predispositions of affect
Georg Northoff
13. Comparison of affect program theories, appraisal theories, and psychological construction theories
Agnes Moors
14. Final remarks
James A. Russell
15. My reflections on commentaries and concluding perspectives
Jaak Panksepp
16. Concluding observations: Comparisons, contrasts, and some important convergences
Ralph D. Ellis and Bill Faw
“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 4 other publications

Adair, Heather V.
2019. Updating Thought Theory: Emotion and the Non‐Paradox of Fiction. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100:4  pp. 1055 ff. Crossref logo
Miller, Gregory A.
2020.  In Levels of Analysis in Psychopathology,  pp. 479 ff. Crossref logo
Montag, Christian & Jaak Panksepp
2017. Primary Emotional Systems and Personality: An Evolutionary Perspective. Frontiers in Psychology 8 Crossref logo
Panksepp, Jaak
2015.  In The Constitution of Phenomenal Consciousness [Advances in Consciousness Research, 92],  pp. 226 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 15 june 2021. 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


BIC Subject: JMQ – Psychology: emotions
BISAC Subject: PSY008000 – PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011051987 | Marc record