Affective vs. effective

Affective is an adjective meaning influenced by emotions or arousing emotions. It is roughly synonymous with emotional. It’s used mainly in psychology, where affective disorders are conditions characterized by emotional problems or mood disturbances, though it does appear occasionally outside psychology.

The much more common effective means (1) producing a desired effect, (2) in effect, (3) actual, and (4) impressive.

Examples

Affective

The questionnaires at the beginning of the study measured general affective distress, where participants reported how often during the previous 30 days they had felt worthless, hopeless, nervous, restless or fidgety. [NHS Choices]

Objectives in the affective domain are concerned with the development of students’ attitudes, feelings, and emotions.[Effective Instructional Strategies, Kenneth D. Moore]

It uses unabashedly affective terms like “love” to describe its highly effective philosophy of working with low-income and minority young people. [Huffington Post]

Effective

So the single most effective way to improve as a runner is to consistently run a lot. [Running Times]

To deliver an effective finale a series has to provide a satisfying resolution to the central story while leaving sufficient storylines unresolved. [The Independent]

The most effective project managers are those who can both deal effectively with conflict and get along well with other people. [The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice]

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