Davidson: emotional state

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The origins of Persian miniature are difficult to ascertain, but most historians agree that its “golden age” was reached between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.
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The smallest, most fleeting unit of emotion is an emotional state.
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Typically lasting only a few seconds, it tends to be triggered by an experience—the spike of joy you feel at the macaroni collage your child made you for Mother’s Day, the sense of accomplishment you feel upon finishing a big project at work, the anger you feel over having to work all three days of a holiday weekend, the sadness you feel when your child is the only one in her class not invited to a party.
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Emotional states can also arise from purely mental activity, such as daydreaming, or introspection, or anticipating the future.
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But whether they are triggered by real-world experiences or mental ones, emotional states tend to dissipate, each giving way to the next.
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A feeling that does persist, and that remains consistent over minutes or hours or even days, is a mood, of the “he’s in a bad mood” variety.
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And a feeling that characterizes you not for days but for years is an emotional trait.
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We think of someone who seems perpetually annoyed as grumpy, and someone who always seems to be mad at the world as angry.
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