Affect and Health-Relevant Cognition

Authored by: Peter Salovey , Jerusha B. Detweiler , Wayne T. Steward , Brian T. Bedell

Handbook of Affect and Social Cognition

Print publication date:  November  2000
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805832174
eBook ISBN: 9781410606181
Adobe ISBN: 9781135670061


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Hippocrates, the first physician, posited four body fluids (“humors”) that when imbalanced produced various physical maladies. Hippocrates's theory, however, was more than just one that linked body fluids to diseases; it also included a role for emotion. The humoral imbalances thought to cause illness also, in his view, created characteristic and chronic emotional states—black bile led to sorrow, phlegm to sleepiness, blood to sanguine feelings, and yellow bile to anger—and thus Hippocrates linked affect and disease by virtue of their common antecedents. Hippocrates no doubt had the particulars wrong. Yet if we ignore the devil in the details and, instead, focus on the big picture, Hippocrates provides prescient guidance: He motivates us to look for connections between emotion and health.

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