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Historical Perspective, Emotions Over The Life Course, Summary

The term emotion or affect is used to refer to a broad class of behaviors that include facial and vocal expressions as well as neurological and physiological patterns. The term feeling refers to the subjective experience of emotion—which may last seconds or minutes—and the term mood involves feelings that last over a protracted period of time. The scientific study of emotional behavior, feelings, and moods has a relatively short history, and the study of emotion and aging has had even a more limited history. Fortunately, during the last two decades of the twentieth century, the field of psychology began to accumulate a great deal that is of importance to understanding emotion and the aging process.

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