In How to design atmospheres attuned to the concerns of the user? we talked about emotions and how architecture can influence the emotional state of a person.
In the series What is emotion? we’ve tried to explain in more detail what emotion actually is.

Light (source: kwc on flickr)

1. What is emotion? – 4 Affective states

The word ‘emotion’ is often applied to a wide variety of phenomena, such as passions, sentiments, temperament, and moods. Although these words are regularly used interchangeably, they do in fact refer to specific and different experiential phenomena, called affective states. Below we will describe 4 different affective states: emotions, moods, emotional traits and sentiments.
Read more about the 4 Effective states

2. What is emotion? – 3 Perspectives on Emotion

When surveying emotion research in the field of psychology, one finds various traditions that hold different views on how to go about defining, studying and explaining emotions. Most contemporary emotion research has its roots in one of three major theoretical traditions: the evolutionary, the bodily-feedback or the cognitive tradition. In this section we comprehensively discuss the 3 major traditions and evaluates their possibilities for explaining how architecture elicit emotions.
Read more about the 3 Perspectives on Emotion

3. What is emotion? – 4 Ways of Manifestation

There seems to be no empirical solution to the debate on which manifestation is sufficient or necessary to define emotions. At present, the psychologists most favoured solution is to say that emotions are best treated as a multifaceted phenomenon consisting of several components. These components, i.e. behavioural reactions, expressive reactions, physiological reactions and subjective feelings, are discussed below.
Read more about the 4 Ways of Manifestation

If you have any comments, questions or ideas about the What is emotion? series – please let us know.

Disclaimer: These articles are based on chapters 1 and 6 from the book Designing Emotions by Pieter Desmet. These chapters were originally written for industrial designers and are rewritten here for our architectural approach.