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Difference Between Mood and Affect

Mood vs Affect

In the English language, the word affect is mainly used as a verb, with two shades of meanings that are very similar. Affect may either mean changing someone’s feelings or altering someone’s mental state. In a wider sense, it may also mean to affect something in some way. In psychology , affect is used to describe mood, especially a change in mood. However, while affect may describe mood, the two are completely different in meaning.

Mood is a state of feeling (emotional), usually temporary, resulting from a specific stimulus. The word is derived from an ancient English word ‘mod’ which meant courage especially during war times. Mood creates either a positive or negative valence. This is when people talk of being in good or bad mood. Often, moods last a little longer than other emotional feelings like surprise and fear. In psychology, mood is said to result from tension and energy. According to the psychologist, Robert Thayer, a calm-energy mood gives the best feelings while the feelings get worse when one is in a tense-tired mood.

There’s a high tendency to confuse the meanings of the two words as in psychology they mean very similar things. Mood, similar to emotion, is a state of affect. Mood doesn’t necessarily have to have a specific stimuli or cause but rather it is as a result of a more diffused and unfocused occurrence. Emotion, however, has a clear cause. Affect also describes the state of feeling or experience of emotion. It is an essential part of our direct interaction with stimuli.

Another key difference between affect and mood is that affect results from instant reactions, which change if someone becomes expectant of some future enjoyment or pain. Therefore, it is a bit short-lived, while mood can last for some considerable period of time because causes are unfocused. Because it lasts longer, mood is harder to cope with.

In the sphere of interpersonal communication, the display of affect is very crucial. Emotions are known to be ways through which organisms maintain their relationship with their environment. Reactions to both mood and affect are physically manifested through posture, facial expression, sound or other body gestures.

1. Affect is the experience of feeling an emotion while mood is a state of emotion.
2. Affect is usually short-lived while mood can last for hours or days.
3. Mood can be a state of affect, where it may have no specific cause.

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