Human Emotions We All Have Them

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As a member of the human race, we are all very diversified. However, no matter how each of us may vary in thoughts, cultures, and more, a common thread exists, we feel.

If you’re ever hit in the nose hard enough to make your eyes water, you may also notice that your skin will grow hot, your mouth will go a bit dry and your pulse will become elevated. You’ll find that your head begins to swim with a strong desire to hit something in return, possibly to shout while you do. Eventually, you’ll find that you’ve overcome this sudden influx of physical and mental stimuli. What you’ve just experienced — the basic emotion of anger — has passed.

Why a slight impact to the nose leads to a series of physiological and mental changes has long been a matter of speculation, but most psychologists agree that a basic emotion like anger exists as an evolutionary trigger. We humans — and most other animals — appear to be equipped with a set of predictable responses to situations. We call these the basic emotions: anger, fear, surprise, disgust, joy, and sadness, as described in the 1970s by anthropologist Paul Eckman [source: Changing Minds].

The concept of ‘basic’ or ‘primary’ emotions dates back at least to the Book of Rites, a first-century Chinese encyclopedia that identifies seven ‘feelings of men’: joy, anger, sadness, fear, love, disliking, and liking.

It is said that basic emotions evolved in response to the ecological challenges faced by our remote ancestors and are so primitive as to be ‘hardwired’, with each basic emotion corresponding to a distinct and dedicated neurological circuit. Being hardwired, basic emotions (or ‘affect programs’) are innate and universal, automatic, and fast, and trigger behavior with high survival value. So much can hardly be said of more complex emotions such as humility or nostalgia, which, for example, are never attributed to infants and animals.

In the 20th century, Paul Ekman identified six basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise) and Robert Plutchik eight, which he grouped into four pairs of polar opposites (joy-sadness, anger-fear, trust-distrust, surprise-anticipation.

Psychology once assumed that most human emotions fall within the universal categories of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust. But a new study from Greater Good Science Center faculty director Dacher Keltner suggests that there are at least 27 distinct emotions—and they are intimately connected with each other.

In 1980 Robert Plutchik constructed a wheel-like diagram of emotions visualizing eight basic emotions, plus eight derivative emotions each composed of two basic ones.

Source: Wikicommons

Over time, research has also separated other emotions that most in the scientific community believe are only experienced by humans and some other primates. These higher or moral emotions are based on self-awareness, self-consciousness and ability to empathize with others [source: Heery, et al]. The moral emotions are pride, guilt, embarrassment, and shame [source: Simons].

The emBODY tool. Participants colored the initially blank body regions (A) whose activity they felt increasing (left body) and decreasing (right body) during emotions. Subjectwise activation-deactivation data (B) were stored as integers, with the whole body being represented by 50,364 data points. Activation and deactivation maps were subsequently combined (C) for statistical analysis

Bodily topography of basic (Upper) and nonbasic (Lower) emotions associated with words. The body maps show regions whose activation increased (warm colors) or decreased (cool colors) when feeling each emotion. (P < 0.05 FDR corrected; t > 1.94). The color bar indicates the t-statistic range.

Confusion matrices for the complete classification scheme across experiments.

The hierarchical structure of the similarity between bodily topographies associated with emotion words in experiment 1 (Upper) and basic emotions across experiments with word (W), story (S), movie (M), and Face (F) stimuli (Lower).

We conclude that emotional feelings are associated with discrete, yet partially overlapping maps of bodily sensations, which could be at the core of the emotional experience. These results thus support models assuming that somatosensation and embodiment play critical roles in emotional processing. Unraveling the subjective bodily sensations associated with human emotions may help us to better understand mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, which are accompanied by altered emotional processing, ANS activity, and somatosensation (Topographical changes in emotion-triggered sensations in the body could thus provide a novel biomarker for emotional disorders.

Emotions can be defined as a positive or negative experience that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity. Emotions produce different physiological, behavioral and cognitive changes. The original role of emotions was to motivate adaptive behaviors that in the past would have contributed to the survival of humans.

In Scherer’s components processing model of emotion, five crucial elements of emotion are said to exist. From the component processing perspective, emotion experience is said to require that all of these processes become coordinated and synchronized for a short period of time, driven by appraisal processes. Although the inclusion of cognitive appraisal as one of the elements is slightly controversial, since some theorists make the assumption that emotion and cognition are separate but interacting systems, the component processing model provides a sequence of events that effectively describes the coordination involved during an emotional episode.

Cognitive appraisal provides an evaluation of events and objects.

Bodily symptoms the physiological component of the emotional experience.

Action tendencies: a motivational component for the preparation and direction of motor responses.

Expression: facial and vocal expression almost always accompanies an emotional state to communicate reaction and intention of actions.

Feelings: the subjective experience of emotional state once it has occurred.

When we are feeling something, we don’t really stop to define that emotion. We just experience it. There are several emotions and feelings that a human mind experiences. Psychology classifies them into primary, secondary and tertiary. This video will tell you the meaning of the 6 basic emotions, along with some secondary and tertiary emotions that are linked with each basic human emotion.

Given an inherent subjective nature, emotions have long been a nearly impenetrable topic for scientific research. Affective neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp explains a modern approach to emotions, and how taking seriously the emotions of other animals might soon improve the lives of millions. Jaak Panksepp introduced the concept of Affective Neuroscience in 1990, consisting of an overarching vision of how mammalian brains generate experienced affective states in animals, as effective models for fathoming the primal evolutionary sources of emotional feelings in human beings. This work has implications for further developments in Biological Psychiatry, ranging from an understanding of the underlying brain disorders to new therapeutic strategies. Panksepp is a Ph.D. Professor and Baily Endowed Chair of Animal Well-Being Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University. His scientific contributions include more than 400 papers devoted to the study of basic emotional and motivational processes of the mammalian brain. He has conducted extensive research on the brain and bodily mechanisms of feeding and energy-balance regulation, sleep physiology, and most importantly the study of emotional processes, including associated feelings states, in other animals. This talk was given November 9, 2013, in Seattle at TEDxRainier, a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences


Fear is a response to impending danger. It is a survival mechanism that is a reaction to some negative stimulus. It may be a mild caution or an extreme phobia. If the fear is trivial, it is called “trifling fear” or if the danger seems formidable it is a “serious fear”.


Joy or happiness has shades of enjoyment, satisfaction, and pleasure. There is a sense of well-being, inner peace, love, safety with contentment. There is an existence of both, positive thinking and positive activities


Love arises from a feeling of profound oneness. Love can be platonic, romantic, religious or familial. There are certain nuances to love regarding bonding, friendship, altruism, and philanthropy. As per psychology, love is to lend self-esteem to another.

There are three secondary emotions – affection, longing and lust.


Sadness is necessarily related to a feeling of loss and disadvantage. If this feeling drowns the individual, it may lead to a state of depression. When a person can be observed to be quiet, less energetic and withdrawn to himself it may be inferred that sadness exists. Such an individual usually has a sloping body, stuck out lips and a downcast appearance of the head.


Surprise means the showing up of an unexpected result. When one experiences surprise, it is accompanied by raising of the eyebrows, horizontal lines on the forehead, open mouth, stretched skin below the eyebrows and wide open eyelids. Depending on the intensity, the mouth may not open, but only the jaw may drop. A momentary raise in the eyebrows is the most common evidence of surprise.


Anger is evoked due to injustice, conflict, humiliation, negligence or betrayal. If the anger is active, the individual attacks the target, verbally or physically. If the anger is passive, the person silently sulks and feels tension and hostility. Often, when one empathizes with another, anger may be displayed. If the purpose of the source of pain is known, the magnitude of anger is altered

  • Acceptance
  • Affection
  • Aggression
  • Ambivalence
  • Apathy
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Compassion
  • Confusion
  • Contempt
  • Depression
  • Doubt
  • Ecstasy
  • Empathy
  • Envy
  • Embarrassment
  • Euphoria
  • Forgiveness
  • Frustration
  • Gratitude
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Hatred
  • Hope
  • Horror
  • Hostility
  • Homesickness
  • Hunger
  • Hysteria
  • Interest
  • Loneliness
  • Love
  • Paranoia
  • Pity
  • Pleasure
  • Pride
  • Rage
  • Regret
  • Remorse
  • Shame
  • Suffering
  • Sympathy

Due to the sheer vastness and complexity involved, it is difficult to exactly define and enlist all the emotions experienced by humans. Ask any person on the street and he will say that emotion is a spontaneous feeling about any person, thing, or experience. Emotions are subjective, based on perception and unique to each individual. Some people may have more of one or some may lack in others. It is said the more emotions one experiences, the more colorful life is. Emotions help us humans to communicate what we feel toward certain situations, people, things, and cope with everyday life situations.

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