Researchers Discover 27 Different Types of Emotions
Researchers from the University of California-Berkeley recently published a study that suggests that people are capable of 27 different types of emotions, all of which are interconnected. This finding essentially reveals a cornucopia of feelings far beyond what psychologists long thought – that all emotions could be classified among just six possibilities – anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.
For the study, researchers used novel statistical models to examine the responses of more than 850 women and men to nearly 2200 emotionally evocative videos. They were able to identify 27 distinct types of emotions, and the researchers then used the models to create an interactive map that reveals just how the emotions are interweaved.
Also, the study contradicted the belief of some that emotions are stand-alone, stating:
“Although categories are found to organize dimensional appraisals in a coherent and powerful fashion, many categories are linked by smooth gradients, contrary to discrete theories.”
Moreover, the human emotional experience appears to consist of a nuanced gradient lacking finite cluster rather than clear and distinct emotions as previously believed.
For the study, a group with diverse demographics of 853 men and women viewed a random sample of 5-10 second video clips on the Internet that were intended to induce an extensive variety of emotions.
Themes included images of births and babies, death and suffering, weddings and proposals, sex acts, awe-inspiring nature, awkward handshakes, and more.
Three groups of study subjects watched sequences of videos, and after viewing each clip, they completed a reporting task. The first group freely reported their emotions to each of thirty videos.
The second cohort ranked each video according to how strongly they felt the following emotions:
admiration, adoration, aesthetic appreciation, amusement, anger, anxiety, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, contempt, craving, disappointment, disgust, empathetic pain, entrancement, envy, excitement, fear, guilt, horror, interest, joy, pride, relief, romance, sadness, satisfaction, sexual desire, surprise, sympathy, and triumph.
The emotions in bold are those identified as categories by the researchers, with the added class of nostalgia.
It was here that researchers determined that subjects bordered on similar responses, with more than half of participants reporting the same emotional category for each video clip.
The third group rated their responses on a 1-9 scale to each of 12 videos based on dualities such as positive vs. negative, calmness vs. excitement, and dominance vs. submissiveness.
The researchers were able to predict how subjects would rate the videos based on how past participants had evaluated the emotions the videos evoked.
In general, the findings revealed that study subjects tended to share similar or same emotional responses to all of the videos, allowing researchers to identify 27 different and distinct types of emotion.
Then, using statistical modeling and visualization, the researchers organized the responses into a semantic map-like array of intertwining human emotions, each of which corresponding to a particular color.
You may have noticed that some terms that are considered to be emotions appear to be missing as categories, such as anger. However, in many cases, what appears to be one reaction may, in fact, be a secondary byproduct of what the human is truly feeling.
For instance, anger could be a manifestation of fear. Moreover, if a man ends a relationship with a woman, the woman may exhibit an “angry” reaction due to fear of the consequences of losing him.
Or, if a man appears to be indigent about being asked a question that he doesn’t know the answer to, his reaction may reflect a fear of being perceived as ignorant.
Other omissions of note are hate and resentment. Again, these ideas can often be derived from other emotions.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
You can view the interactive map here. If you click on areas of the map, the video clips will pop up, and you can see which emotions were evoked (and to what extent) to the videos.
For example, I clicked on a video that is rated highly in the category of fear, one which shows a mugger threatening another man on the street with the knife.
The emotional response read as:
62% Fear + 15% Anxiety + 15% Awkwardness + 15% Confusion + 12% Sadness + 12% Sympathy + 8% Amusement + 8% Anger + 8% Disappointment + 8% Disgust + 8% Empathic Pain + 4% Awe + 4% Horror.
In general, people are not dreadfully apt at identifying the emotions of others. If we could implement such a tool as this into an incredibly precise mood ring, one can only imagine how many misunderstandings and wrong assumptions could be avoided in the real world.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
References For 27 Different Types Of Emotions