Basic Human Emotions

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Basic Human Emotions

Six basic human emotions are universally recognized but other positive emotions are culturally specific. Humen use a wide range of different cues, both verbal and non-verbal, to share important information and particularly to warn others of danger.

As ever, theorists disagree. Ortony and Turner (1990) collated a wide range of research on identification of basic emotions.

Theorist Basic Emotions
Plutchik Acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness, surprise
Arnold Anger, aversion, courage, dejection, desire, despair, fear, hate, hope, love, sadness
Ekman, Friesen, and Ellsworth Anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise
Frijda Desire, happiness, interest, surprise, wonder, sorrow
Gray Rage and terror, anxiety, joy
Izard Anger, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, guilt, interest, joy, shame, surprise
James Fear, grief, love, rage
McDougall Anger, disgust, elation, fear, subjection, tender-emotion, wonder
Mowrer Pain, pleasure
Oatley and Johnson-Laird Anger, disgust, anxiety, happiness, sadness
Panksepp Expectancy, fear, rage, panic
Tomkins Anger, interest, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, joy, shame, surprise
Watson Fear, love, rage
Weiner and Graham Happiness, sadness

Basic Human Emotions

Here is more detailed list of emotions as described in Shaver et al. (2001), where emotions were categorized into a short tree structure.

Primary emotion Secondary emotion Tertiary emotions
Love Affection Adoration, affection, love, fondness, liking, attraction, caring, tenderness, compassion, sentimentality
Lust Arousal, desire, lust, passion, infatuation
Longing Longing
Joy Cheerfulness Amusement, bliss, cheerfulness, gaiety, glee, jolliness, joviality, joy, delight, enjoyment, gladness, happiness, jubilation, elation, satisfaction, ecstasy, euphoria
Zest Enthusiasm, zeal, zest, excitement, thrill, exhilaration
Contentment Contentment, pleasure
Pride Pride, triumph
Optimism Eagerness, hope, optimism
Enthrallment Enthrallment, rapture
Relief Relief
Surprise Surprise Amazement, surprise, astonishment
Anger Irritation Aggravation, irritation, agitation, annoyance, grouchiness, grumpiness
Exasperation Exasperation, frustration
Rage Anger, rage, outrage, fury, wrath, hostility, ferocity, bitterness, hate, loathing, scorn, spite, vengefulness, dislike, resentment
Disgust Disgust, revulsion, contempt
Envy Envy, jealousy
Torment Torment
Sadness Suffering Agony, suffering, hurt, anguish
Sadness Depression, despair, hopelessness, gloom, glumness, sadness, unhappiness, grief, sorrow, woe, misery, melancholy
Disappointment Dismay, disappointment, displeasure
Shame Guilt, shame, regret, remorse
Neglect Alienation, isolation, neglect, loneliness, rejection, homesickness, defeat, dejection, insecurity, embarrassment, humiliation, insult
Sympathy Pity, sympathy
Fear Horror Alarm, shock, fear, fright, horror, terror, panic, hysteria, mortification
Nervousness Anxiety, nervousness, tenseness, uneasiness, apprehension, worry, distress, dread

Learn to recognize emotions at increasing levels of detail. If you can see the emotion, then you can respond appropriately to it.

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