The Laws of Emotion: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Laws of Emotion

1st Edition

By Nico H. Frijda

Psychology Press

366 pages

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Paperback: 9780805825985
pub: 2006-08-14
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The Laws of Emotion is an accessible work that reviews much of the insightful new research on emotions conducted over the last ten years. It expands on the theory of emotions introduced in Nico Frijda’s earlier work and addresses a number of unanswered, basic problems on emotion theory. The author’s goal is to better understand the underlying psychological mechanisms of emotion. In this book, Professor Frijda also examines previously neglected topics of emotion such as determinants of emotional intensity, the duration of emotions, and sexual emotions. It touches on both evolutionary and neuroscientific explanations.

The book begins by reviewing a number of principles governing emotion, or “the laws of emotion”. The author then examines the passionate nature of emotions and the motivational processes underlying them, and the nature and causes of pleasure and pain. Professor Frijda then explores the processes that lead to emotional arousal, including cognitive influences and why people care more about certain things than others. Emotional intensity is then discussed, including the often-neglected topic of the course of emotions over time. The book concludes with the author's insights into complex emotional domains such as sex, revenge, and the need to commemorate past events.

The Laws of Emotion will appeal to social, cognitive, and developmental psychologists, social scientists, philosophers, and neuroscientists, as well as anyone interested in the workings of the mind. It also serves as a text for advanced courses in the psychology of emotions or the neuroscience of emotions.


“I really like the book. It is, in my opinion, one of the landmark books to be published in the first decade of the new millennium…[Frijda] is one of the founding fathers of contemporary emotions research… and is…well versed in philosophy, history, and literature, and this is evident throughout this book. I can think of no book in contemporary psychology that is as rich in its scope and imagination.” —Robert C. Solomon, Ph.D.

University of Texas at Austin

"The Laws of Emotion raises interesting questions about how psychological processes are distinguished… Frijda offers an ambitious integration of ideas about the nature and function of emotions found in the social and biological sciences… The Laws of Emotions reflects a thoughtful stock-taking of much that is known about emotions and how it influences behavior." - Theresa A. Thorkildsen, PsycCRITIQUES

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Laws. Passion. Pleasure. Appraisal. Concerns. Strength. Time. "Feelings". Sex. Revenge. Commemorating.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Clinical Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Personality