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Feeling Excited? Scientists Find 27 Distinct Human Emotions

10 September 2017, 2:46 am EDT By Athena Chan Tech Times
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Researchers found that humans experience 27 distinct emotional states. An interactive map shows just how these emotions are interconnected with each other.

Complex Human Emotions

How are you feeling? It's likely that a person who is asked that question would answer with one of six typical human emotions: happiness, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, or surprise. Now, researchers from the University of California Berkeley found that humans actually experience 27 basic emotions, much more than the original six.

An interesting study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal describes how the human emotional experience is more complex than previously thought. There aren't just more basic emotional responses, they are also experienced with each other.

Emotional Test

In order to create a comprehensive map of human emotions, researchers presented each of the 853 participants with 30 short video clips of five to ten seconds, each of which evoking emotional reactions. The 2,185 video resources were gathered from various online sources and were of different scenes such as births, natural disasters, sexual acts, spiders, death, and weddings.

The first group of participants were tasked to freely report on the emotions that they felt after watching the 30 clips, and the second group of participants were tasked to rank each of the previously reported emotions. Finally, the last group was asked to rank their emotional responses from one to nine based on dichotomies such as positive versus negative.

The 27 Human Emotions

From the responses, researchers were able to identify 27 distinct varieties of emotional experiences. What's more, they found that the boundaries between different emotional responses were fluid rather than discrete.

The 27 emotions are as follows: Admiration, Adoration, Aesthetic Appreciation, Amusement, Anxiety, Awe, Awkwardness, Boredom, Calmness, Confusion, Craving, Disgust, Empathetic Pain, Entrancement, Envy, Excitement, Fear, Horror, Interest, Joy, Nostalgia, Romance, Sadness, Satisfaction, Sexual Desire, Sympathy, and Triumph.

Interactive Map Of Human Emotions

From their findings, researchers were able to create an interactive map of emotional responses which demonstrates how each of the 27 is related to each other. In fact, the researchers were able to create an interactive map of emotions. By hovering above a particular part of the map, a short video will pop up describe in detail the exact combination of emotions elicited by the clip.

For instance, by hovering above a part of the map just above "calmness," a video of a steaming cup of black coffee pops up with an emotional response description of 64 percent calmness, 36 percent craving, 29 percent aesthetic appreciation, 14 percent satisfaction, 7 percent adoration, 7 percent boredom, and 7 percent nostalgia.

"We don't get finite clusters of emotions in the map because everything is interconnected," said Alan Cowen of UC Berkeley, lead author of the study. "We sought to shed light on the full palette of emotions that color our inner world."

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