Saturday, 16 August 2014

Recognizing Emotions

List of emotions

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

Theorist Basic Emotions
PlutchikAcceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness, surprise
ArnoldAnger, aversion, courage, dejection, desire, despair, fear, hate, hope, love, sadness
Ekman, Friesen, and EllsworthAnger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise
FrijdaDesire, happiness, interest, surprise, wonder, sorrow
GrayRage and terror, anxiety, joy
IzardAnger, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, guilt, interest, joy, shame, surprise
JamesFear, grief, love, rage
McDougallAnger, disgust, elation, fear, subjection, tender-emotion, wonder
MowrerPain, pleasure
Oatley and Johnson-LairdAnger, disgust, anxiety, happiness, sadness
PankseppExpectancy, fear, rage, panic
TomkinsAnger, interest, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, joy, shame, surprise
WatsonFear, love, rage
Weiner and GrahamHappiness, sadness

Here is a deeper list of emotions as described in Parrot (2001), where emotions were categorised into a short tree structure.

Primary emotion Secondary emotion Tertiary emotions
Love AffectionAdoration, affection, love, fondness, liking, attraction, caring, tenderness, compassion, sentimentality
LustArousal, desire, lust, passion, infatuation
Joy CheerfulnessAmusement, bliss, cheerfulness, gaiety, glee, jolliness, joviality, joy, delight, enjoyment, gladness, happiness, jubilation, elation, satisfaction, ecstasy, euphoria
ZestEnthusiasm, zeal, zest, excitement, thrill, exhilaration
ContentmentContentment, pleasure
PridePride, triumph
OptimismEagerness, hope, optimism
EnthrallmentEnthrallment, rapture
Surprise SurpriseAmazement, surprise, astonishment
Anger IrritationAggravation, irritation, agitation, annoyance, grouchiness, grumpiness
ExasperationExasperation, frustration
RageAnger, rage, outrage, fury, wrath, hostility, ferocity, bitterness, hate, loathing, scorn, spite, vengefulness, dislike, resentment
Disgust Disgust, revulsion, contempt
EnvyEnvy, jealousy
Sadness Suffering Agony, suffering, hurt, anguish
SadnessDepression, despair, hopelessness, gloom, glumness, sadness, unhappiness, grief, sorrow, woe, misery, melancholy
DisappointmentDismay, disappointment, displeasure
Shame Guilt, shame, regret, remorse
NeglectAlienation, isolation, neglect, loneliness, rejection, homesickness, defeat, dejection, insecurity, embarrassment, humiliation, insult
SympathyPity, sympathy
Fear HorrorAlarm, shock, fear, fright, horror, terror, panic, hysteria, mortification
NervousnessAnxiety, nervousness, tenseness, uneasiness, apprehension, worry, distress, dread

So What

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


Ekman, P., Friesen, W. V., & Ellsworth, P. (1982). What emotion categories or dimensions can observers judge from facial behavior? In P. Ekman (Ed.), Emotion in the human face (pp. 39-55). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Frijda, N. H. (1986). The emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Gray, J. A. (1985). The whole and its parts: Behaviour, the brain, cognition and emotion. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society. 38, 99-112.

Izard, C. E. (1977). Human emotions. New York: Plenum Press

James, W. (1884). What is an emotion? Mind, 9, 188-205.

McDougall, W. (1926). An introduction to social psychology. Boston: Luce.

Mowrer, O. H. (1960). Learning theory and behavior. New York: Wiley.

Oatley, K., & Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1987). Towards a cognitive theory of emotions. Cognition & Emotion, 1, 29-50.

Ortony, A., & Turner, T. J. (1990). What’s basic about basic emotions? Psychological Review, 97, 315-331.

Panksepp, J. (1982). Toward a general psychobiological theory of emotions. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5, 407-467.

Parrott, W. (2001), Emotions in Social Psychology, Psychology Press, Philadelphia

Plutchik, R. (1980). A general psychoevolutionary theory of emotion. In R. Plutchik & H. Kellerman (Eds.), Emotion: Theory, research, and experience: Vol. 1. Theories of emotion (pp. 3-33). New York: Academic.

Tomkins, S. S. (1984). Affect theory. In K. R. Scherer & P. Ekman (Eds.), Approaches to emotion (pp. 163-195). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Watson, J. B. (1930). Behaviorism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Weiner, B., & Graham, S. (1984). An attributional approach to emotional development. In C. E. Izard, J. Kagan, & R. B. Zajonc (Eds.), Emotions, cognition, and behavior (pp. 167-191). New York: Cambridge University Press.


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