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Basic emotions

Explanations > Emotions > Basic emotions


List of emotions | So what

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

Plutchik

Acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy,


fear, sadness, surprise

Arnold

Anger, aversion, courage, dejection, desire,


despair, fear, hate, hope, love, sadness

Ekman, Friesen, and


Anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise
Ellsworth
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 JohnsonAnger, disgust, anxiety, happiness, sadness


Laird
Panksepp

Expectancy, fear, rage, panic

Tomkins

Anger, interest, contempt, disgust, distress,


fear, joy, shame, surprise

Watson

Fear, love, rage

Weiner and Graham Happiness, 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

Affection

Adoration, affection, love, fondness,


liking, attraction, caring, tenderness,
compassion, sentimentality

Lust

Arousal, desire, lust, passion,


infatuation

Longing

Longing

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

Amazement, surprise, astonishment

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

Love

Joy

Surprise
Anger

Sadness

Envy

Envy, jealousy

Torment

Torment

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

Horror

Alarm, shock, fear, fright, horror,


terror, panic, hysteria, mortification

Nervousness

Anxiety, nervousness, tenseness,


uneasiness, apprehension, worry,
distress, dread

Fear

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

Reference
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.