the term affect is used in two meanings:

  • After traditional view affect is a condition of strong emotional excitation, which the behavior leads.
  • After newer view affect is a comprehensive term for Konstrukte such as emotion and tendency, with a changed subjective condition and alsophysical changes accompany. To this meaning also into the Psychopathologie used term Affektivität, which tendency and emotions of a person as well as the affektive variability designate, belongs.

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the term of the affect from the Greek Páthos παθος (passion) developed, from which during the shift in latin afficere (influence, treat) and finally affectus (condition, above all: Passion,Longing) became.


after stoischer view can be attained Eudämonie (luck blessedness) only if no affect disturbs the soul peace. An affect is an overridden impulse - stoisches ideal is apathy, the liberty of such Affekten.

It becomes between4 basic kinds of Affekten differentiated: - Desire - Unlust - longing - fear.

For apathy the realization is crucial that all outside goods do not have value for the luck blessedness.

>>The affect develops, if the reason sets a wrong [...] purpose for the impulse and the failure deplored.<< (M. Hossenfelder)

traditional definition

in accordance with traditional definition marks itself a person, who is in the affect condition, by the affect-conditioned absence or the reduction of the judgement, insight and criticism ability. Acting becomes then mainly of the person concerned by the emotions instead of of the understandingdetermined. This definition still finds in the iurisdiction application.

In the psychology the affect in the affect theory was classified for the first time by William Wundt according to quality, strength, duration and physiological effect. According to the affect theory sthenische Affekte was coined/shaped by the strain of the body, asthenische Affekteby slackening. As sthenische Affekte conditions are counted such as rage, anger, eagerness, while the asthenischen Affekte is fear, fear or frights.

modern trend definition

general definition

according to the modern definition is affect a comprehensive term for phenomena, which with a changedaccompany to subjective condition. To the affektiven phenomena belong above all emotion, tendency and motivation. Affect is often used contrary to cognition.

definition into the Psychopathologie

Psychopathologi symptoms

the mimischen, gestischen and paraverbalen expression characteristics only weaklyclearly, then of a “decreased affect” one speaks. If a contradiction exists between the expression characteristics and feeling condition lying behind, then this is a “inadäquater affect”. With larger and rapid changes between the expression characteristics of an affect instability one speaks.

psychological disturbances

disturbances of the affectin the Psychopathologie Affektive disturbances are called.


Affekte (according to traditional definition) take influence on right traffic, if the acting person thereby in its business, delikts or criminally liableness are limited. In principle Affekte do not exclude the ability to the participation in right traffic.

Criminally the affect on several levels of the Deliktsprüfung is relevant:

- Already on the level of the criminally liableness (the ability to see right and injustice and to control its actions thereafter) the debt can be excluded, however only then if the affect reaches the quality of a profound consciousness disturbance.In this case the affect is not the argument for the debt exclusion, but only its cause. One excludes thus the debt because of the consciousness disturbance and not because of the affect. See. § 20 StGB.
- On the level of the debt excluding deficiencies are with self-defence actionsto consider: The borders of the self-defence are only exceeded in the measure (so-called. intensive self-defence excess), thus about 4 defense impacts instead of the sufficient 3, then is justified a debt excluding reason, if the excess were caused by asthenischen affect in particular confusion, fear or fright (§ 33 StGB). ThoseExcess action is however illegal and for their part legally defensable. Also such a debt excluding reason favours only the Affektierten and further not act-taken part. These cling fully.
- Is appropriate the borders of the self-defence however qualitatively exceeded, thus one for defense after its kind not necessary defense made,an extensive self-defence excess so mentioned forwards, which leads to the full punishment, since in such a case the conditions are not given to a self-defence already in the sense by § 32 StGB. Example: Fleeing Beleidiger strike.
- On the level of fixing of the penalty rules isolates sthenische Affekte howZorn (siehe oben Philosophisch-Anthropologische Einordnung) berücksichtigt. For example with homicide by a punishing framework shift a moderating is granted (§ 213 StGB).
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