Contrasting and categorization of emotions

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The contrasting and categorization of emotions describes how emotions are thought to relate to each other. Various recent proposals of such groupings are described in the following sections.

Contrasting basic emotions[edit]

The following table,[1] based on a wide review of current theories, identifies and contrasts the fundamental emotions according to a set of definite criteria. The three key criteria used include mental experiences that:

  1. have a strongly motivating subjective quality like pleasure or pain;
  2. are in response to some event or object that is either real or imagined;
  3. motivate particular kinds of behavior.

The combination of these attributes distinguish the emotions from sensations, feelings and moods.

Kind of emotion Positive emotions Negative emotions
Related to object properties Interest, curiosity, enthusiasm Indifference, habituation, boredom
Attraction, desire, admiration Aversion, disgust, revulsion
Surprise, amusement Alarm, panic
Future appraisal Hope, excitement Fear, anxiety, dread
Event-related Gratitude, thankfulness Anger, rage
Joy, elation, triumph, jubilation Sorrow, grief
Patience Frustration, disappointment
Contentment Discontentment, restlessness
Self-appraisal Humility, modesty Pride, thinking or acting in a way above others
Social Charity Avarice, greed, miserliness, envy, jealousy
Sympathy Cruelty
Cathected Love Hate

HUMAINE's proposal for EARL[edit]

The emotion annotation and representation language (EARL) proposed by the Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotion (HUMAINE) classifies 48 emotions.[2]

Parrott's emotions by groups[edit]

A tree-structured list of emotions was described in Shaver et al. (1987),[3] and also featured in Parrott (2001).[4]

Primary emotion Secondary emotion Tertiary emotion
Liking Affection Adoration · Fondness · Liking · Attractiveness · Caring · Tenderness · Compassion · Sentimentality
Lust/Sexual desire Desire · Passion · Infatuation
Longing Longing
Joy Cheerfulness Amusement · Bliss · Gaiety · Glee · Jolliness · Joviality · Joy · Delight · Enjoyment · Gladness · Happiness · Jubilation · Elation · Satisfaction · Ecstasy · Euphoria
Zest Enthusiasm · Zeal · Excitement · Thrill · Exhilaration
Contentment Pleasure
Pride Triumph
Optimism Eagerness · Hope
Enthrallment Enthrallment · Rapture
Relief Relief
Surprise Surprise Amazement · Astonishment
Anger Irritability Aggravation · Agitation · Annoyance · Grouchy · Grumpy · Crosspatch
Exasperation Frustration
Rage Anger · Outrage · Fury · Wrath · Hostility · Ferocity · Bitterness · Hatred · Scorn · Spite · Vengefulness · Dislike · Resentment
Disgust Revulsion · Contempt · Loathing
Envy Jealousy
Torment Torment
Sadness Suffering Agony · Anguish · Hurt
Sadness Depression · Despair · Gloom · Glumness · Unhappiness · Grief · Sorrow · Woe · Misery · Melancholy
Disappointment Dismay · Displeasure
Shame Guilt · Regret · Remorse
Neglect Alienation · Defeatism · Dejection · Embarrassment · Homesickness · Humiliation · Insecurity · Insult · Isolation · Loneliness · Rejection
Sympathy Pity · Mono no aware · Sympathy
Fear Horror Alarm · Shock · Fear · Fright · Horror · Terror · Panic · Hysteria · Mortification
Nervousness Anxiety · Suspense · Uneasiness · Apprehension (fear) · Worry · Distress · Dread

Plutchik's wheel of emotions[edit]

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

In 1980, Robert Plutchik constructed a wheel-like diagram of emotions visualising eight basic emotions: Joy, Trust, Fear, Surprise, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Anticipation. The wheel combines the ideas of circles representing emotions and a color wheel. Similar emotions in the wheel are adjacent. The wheel was inspired by "Plutchik's Ten Postulates", a list of theorems which include some of the emotions listed below.[5] The wheel is one of the most influential emotional theories today, although it has been frequently criticised for its lack of a longer list of emotions. Plutchik also theorized twenty-four "Primary", "Secondary", and "Tertiary" dyads (a feeling composed of two emotions).[6][7] Due to the nature of the wheel, the emotions are arranged in pairs according to behavioural and evolutionary mechanisms. The ways the emotions can be paired up are listed here:

  • Primary dyad = one petal apart = Love = Joy + Trust
  • Secondary dyad = two petals apart = Envy = Sadness + Anger
  • Tertiary dyad = three petals apart = Shame = Fear + Disgust
  • Opposite emotions = four petals apart = AnticipationSurprise

Emotions also come in a variety of intensities;[8] for example, Distraction is a mild form of Surprise, and Rage is an intense form of Anger. Weaker emotions lay among the outer circles and stronger emotions bloom in the middle. The kinds of relation between each pair of emotions follow below:

Mild emotion Mild opposite Basic emotion Basic opposite Intense emotion Intense opposite
Serenity Pensiveness Joy Sadness Ecstasy Grief
Acceptance Boredom Trust Disgust Admiration Loathing
Apprehension Annoyance Fear Anger Terror Rage
Distraction Interest Surprise Anticipation Amazement Vigilance
Dyads (Combinations)
Human feelings Emotions Opposite feelings Emotions
Optimism Anticipation + Joy Disapproval Surprise + Sadness
Hope Anticipation + Trust Unbelief Surprise + Disgust
Anxiety Anticipation + Fear Outrage Surprise + Anger
Love Joy + Trust Remorse Sadness + Disgust
Guilt Joy + Fear Envy Sadness + Anger
Delight Joy + Surprise Pessimism Sadness + Anticipation
Submission Trust + Fear Contempt Disgust + Anger
Curiosity Trust + Surprise Cynicism Disgust + Anticipation
Sentimentality Trust + Sadness Morbidness Disgust + Joy
Awe Fear + Surprise Aggression Anger + Anticipation
Despair Fear + Sadness Pride Anger + Joy
Shame Fear + Disgust Dominance Anger + Trust
Jessica Hagy's Combinations
Human feelings Emotions Opposite feelings Emotions
Acknowledgement Serenity + Acceptance Listlessness Pensiveness + Boredom
Devotion Ecstasy + Admiration Shame Grief + Loathing
Acquiescence Acceptance + Apprehension Impatience Boredom + Annoyance
Subservience Admiration + Terror Hatred Loathing + Rage
Wariness Apprehension + Distraction Disfavor Annoyance + Interest
Petrification Terror + Amazement Domination Rage + Vigilance
Dismay Distraction + Pensiveness Bemusement Interest + Serenity
Horror Amazement + Grief Zeal Vigilance + Ecstasy

The Hourglass of Emotions[edit]

In 2012, a scientific research book called The Hourglass of Emotions was largely based on Robert Plutchik's model, but categorised his emotions into four sentic dimensions. It contrasted Anger, Anticipation, Joy, and Trust as positive emotions, and Fear, Surprise, Sadness and Disgust as negative.[9]

Dimension +3 +2 +1 -1 -2 -3
Sensitivity Rage Anger Annoyance Apprehension Fear Terror
Attention Vigilance Anticipation Interest Distraction Surprise Amazement
Pleasantness Ecstasy Joy Serenity Pensiveness Sadness Grief
Aptitude Admiration Trust Acceptance Boredom Disgust Loathing
Advanced emotions
Dimensions High Sensitivity Low Sensitivity High Pleasantness Low Pleasantness
High Attention Aggressiveness Anxiety Optimism Frustration
Low Attention Rejection Awe Frivolity Disapproval
High Aptitude Rivalry Submission Love Envy
Low Aptitude Contempt Coercion Gloat Remorse

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robinson, D. L. (2009). "Brain function, mental experience and personality". The Netherlands Journal of Psychology. pp. 152–167. 
  2. ^ "HUMAINE Emotion Annotation and Representation Language". Retrieved June 30, 2006. 
  3. ^ Shaver, P.; Schwartz, J.; Kirson, D. & O'connor, C. (1987). "Emotion knowledge: further exploration of a prototype approach". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 52 (6): 1061. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.52.6.1061. PMID 3598857. 
  4. ^ Parrott, W. (2001). Emotions in Social Psychology. Key Readings in Social Psychology. Philadelphia: Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0863776830. 
  5. ^ Plutchik, R. "The Nature of Emotions". American Scientist. Archived from the original on July 16, 2001. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Jonathan Turner (1 June 2000). On the Origins of Human Emotions: A Sociological Inquiry Into the Evolution of Human Affect. Stanford University Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-8047-6436-0. 
  7. ^ Atifa Athar; M. Saleem Khan; Khalil Ahmed; Aiesha Ahmed; Nida Anwar (June 2011). "A Fuzzy Inference System for Synergy Estimation of Simultaneous Emotion Dynamics in Agents". International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research. 2 (6). 
  8. ^ "Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions in Venn format". 
  9. ^ "The Hourglass of Emotions" (PDF). 

External links[edit]