Affective and Semantic Representations of Valence: A Conceptual Framework

Oksana Itkes, Assaf Kron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current article discusses the distinction between affective valence—the degree to which an affective response represents pleasure or displeasure—and semantic valence, the degree to which an object or event is considered positive or negative. To date, measures that reflect positivity and negativity are usually placed under the same conceptual umbrella (e.g., valence, affective, emotional), with minimal distinction between the modes of valence they reflect. Recent work suggests that what might seem to reflect a monolithic structure of valence has at least two different, confounding underlying sources, affective and semantic, that are fundamentally distinct, dissociable, and that obey different, recognizable rules. The current work discusses this distinction and provides implications for affective science from both the theoretical and the empirical perspective.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • affect
  • affective valence
  • emotional response
  • semantic valence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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