Basic human emotions

Basic human emotions
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   A colorful mind can create colorful emotions. Starting from the darkest ones to the most enlighten states, we often go through all the specter without us even realizing how many emotions we feel in the same time. But how many emotions are out there? This is a question tougher than we might expect because we live through emotions every day.

   This search of emotions started many years ago with Aristotle who concluded we have 14 different emotions (fear, confidence, anger, friendship, calm, grudge, shame, rudeness, pity, kindness, envy, indignation, rivalry, and contempt) which gives our life a purpose. I don’t know what kind of experiments he did (probably none), but it’s a big ass list. Since we, as humans, want to evolve and we want to clear some space in our mind since a list of 14 emotions occupies too much of our memory, we tried clearing up the list. So in 20th century, Robert Plutchik reduced the list to eight basic emotions (joy, sadness, trust, disgust, fear, anger, surprise, and anticipation) which interact with each other creating the so called Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions.

   Because Mr. Plutchik’s model wasn’t enough, Paul Ekman started to play with our emotions and it seems that he hasn’t stopped yet because there are models from 5 to 7 emotions (based on this Atlas of Emotions, it seems that most researchers agreed on 5 basic emotions, which are anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment). There is also an animated movie called Inside Out with these five basic emotions, which gave me some interesting insights about how our mind might work.

   Based on all these theories, which emotions you think you feel the most?

31 thoughts on “Basic human emotions

  1. This is awesome. I love the employment of the colour wheel because it demonstrates the multifaceted application of the nature of symbolism to facilitate communication and learning

      1. Actually, I tend to feel all of that in one day. Switching from one to the other to the next. It could be said that my emotions are ‘all over the place’.

  2. I always wonder why no one ever puts guilt on the list of emotions… slightly different than shame.

    I feel fear the most…an ever-present general anxiety about everything and nothing.

  3. Well, seeing as how I am one of a kind, no one else like me, it would be difficult to compare my emotions with someone else’s theory… whatever emotion I would have would be determined by the circumstances of the moment… 🙂

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ― Oscar Wilde

      1. Being busy with some sort of task brings enjoyment, or maybe just not having anything to feel bad about. I still feel much sadness and shame, but I think it’s the low times that allow one to appreciate the good times.

  4. Curiosity! Isn’t that an emotion? I fell like that’s at least half of what I feel in any given day. It may as simple as “All right, which cat just got sick” or as unanswerable as “Who decided cooking meat was a good idea?”

      1. Haha! Cool. You know I just made a guess at that though. To me, curiosity isn’t an emotion but I’m not an expert or any shit on neuroscience. I just hazard educated guesses? Whatever feels right. (Because truth and fact aren’t the same thing)

    1. I think that curiosity creates excitement, which is the actual emotion. In my view, curiosity is more like an personality trait (like being introverted or extroverted).

      1. ‘A strong desire to learn or know something’ is the definition I found. I need to think on this some.

      2. I think of emotions as a whole spectrum of various degrees of feeling… Very difficult to explain or pin down exact emotions because they are subjective by experience. Yet curiosity, omg I am very curious… That is why i do anything that I do or have done in the past… It is what drives me on. I am the embodiment of curiosity. I love to poke and prod and learn and provoke and just,… everything. Yet I do not “feel” curious… I just am. Emotions to me are reactionary. It is something felt after the experience. Because I am incredibly emotional. Happy, sad, passionate, apathetic, anxious.. a whole bunch of stuff.

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