I have encountered a vast variety of definitions for affect, each of which contrasts it with the term "emotion" in a whole different way. Here are a few:
- Affect denotes the visible/objective expression of an emotion.
- Affect is the actual underlying subjective feeling an emotion.
- Affect means the initial automatic reaction to a situation before cognitive appraisal helps build-up to the more complex emotions.
Also, given how practically (amongst professionals) both of these terms are often used interchangeably, I wonder if there's a clear non-controversial distinction between "affect" and "emotions".