List of emotions

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This is a list of emotions (feelings) felt by humans.

Robert Plutchik's theory

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik's theory says that the eight basic emotions are:[1]

  • Fear → feeling of being afraid, frightened,scared .
  • Anger → feeling angry. A stronger word for anger is rage
  • Sadness → feeling sad. Other words are sorrow, grief (a stronger feeling, for example when someone has died)
  • Joy → feeling happy. Other words are happiness, gladness
  • Disgust → feeling something is wrong or nasty
  • Surprise → being unprepared for something
  • Trust → a positive emotion; admiration is stronger; acceptance is weaker.
  • Anticipation → in the sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen. Expectation is more neutral.

Book Two of Aristotle's "Rhetoric"

This theory says that the emotions are:

  • Anger, opposite calmness (not feeling excited)
  • Friendship, is where people have a bond of joy and will come together and have fun
  • Fear, opposite courage (having courage in the face of fear)
  • Shame, opposite confidence (shame: how one feels about one's past bad actions or thoughts; shamelessness: one does not feel shame, but others think one should)
  • Kindness (benevolence), opposite cruelty (kindness: when people are good to other people)
  • Pity (when people feel sorry for other people)
  • Indignation (feeling angry because something is not fair, such as undeserved bad fortune)
  • Envy, jealous (pain when people have something that one wishes for oneself)
  • Love, a strong emotion of attachment one feels for someone else. Ranges to family, pets, friends, significant others or fictional characters.

Darwin's ideas

Darwin's The expressions of the emotions in man and animals was a landmark work which is still used as a source.[2] The following list is taken from the chapter-headings in the book.

  • Suffering and weeping
  • Low spirits, anxiety, grief, dejection, despair
  • Joy, high spirits, love, tender feelings, devotion
  • Reflection, meditation, ill-temper, sulkiness, determination
  • Hatred and anger
  • Disdain, contempt, disgust, guilt, pride, helplessness, patience, affirmation and negation
  • Surprise, astonishment, fear, horror
  • Self-attention, shame, shyness, modesty, blushing.

The book is famous as being the first scientific book which used photographs as a major part of the evidence. Emotions, he decided, were behavioural traits which evolved. Darwin pointed out how the human face is adapted to show many of these emotions: it has muscles for facial movements which are not possible in other mammals. On the other hand, other mammals do have ways of showing many of these emotions.

Ekman has taken this idea a step further by studying the way people try to hide their emotions. He filmed the tell-tale glimpses of brief moments when true emotion is shown on a person's face.[3]


  1. Plutchik, Robert (1997-01-01). The circumplex as a general model of the structure of emotions and personality. American Psychological Association. pp. 17–45. doi:10.1037/10261-001. ISBN 1557983801.
  2. Darwin Online: Expression of the emotions
  3. Ekman, Paul 2003. Emotions revealed: understanding faces and feelings. New York: Holt. (Edition consulted was ISBN 978-0-7538-1765-0)

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