Nico Frijda

Nico Frijda
Nico Frijda

Nico Henri Frijda (Amsterdam, 1 May 1927) is a Dutch psychologist[1] and emeritus professor of the University of Amsterdam



Frijda studied psychology at the Gemeenteuniversiteit Amsterdam, where he received his PhD in 1956 on the thesis title Understanding Facial Expressions. In 1965 he was appointed full professor. Frijda retired in 1992 to become emeritus professor.


Frijda has devoted his career to human emotions. In his early career he focused on facial expressions, which was an acceptable approach in the then dominant behaviourist tradition in which emotions were considered epiphenomena. Frijda developed a multifocal theory of emotions with the concept of "action tendency" as focal issues. Emotions are, in this view, tendencies to engage in behaviour influenced by the needs of the person. This theory was outlined in detail in The Emotions (1986), his magnum opus which was first published in English and two years later in a Dutch translation.


  • De betekenis van de gelaatsexpressie (1956)
  • Gelaat en karakter (1958)
  • Post uit Friesland (1984)
  • The Emotions (1986) ISBN 0521301556 (hardcover); ISBN 0521316006 (paperback)
  • De wetten van het gevoel (1987) rede ter gelegenheid van de zevende Duijkerlezing
  • De emoties; een overzicht van onderzoek en theorie (1988) ISBN 9035107020
  • De psychologie heeft zin (1993) ISBN 9053331840
  • The Laws of Emotions (2006) (Nederlandse vertaling: januari 2008)


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