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What Are the 12 Discrete Emotions? Other Theories of Emotion

The discrete emotion theory claims that there are 12 discrete emotions

There are several theories of emotion that define the many different types of emotions in various ways. Some theories say that there are eight basic emotions, while others say there are 27. When people do not understand their emotions well and the emotions of others, it can often lead to misunderstandings and affect relationships, personal or professional. A big part of management, leadership, sales, and navigating relationships is being able to understand how people feel and responding appropriately. Forming and maintaining friendships and relationships require an understanding of oneself and the other person to maintain harmony. Hence, professional and personal interactions would be a lot easier if people were aware of the different emotions.

The discrete emotion theory claims that there are 12 discrete emotions (measured via the Differential Emotions Scale). Discrete emotion theory states that these specific core emotions are biologically determined emotional responses and fundamentally the same for all individuals irrespective of ethnicity or cultural differences. Various parts of the brain can trigger different emotions. For example, the amygdala is the center of fear. The amygdala senses fear resulting in certain physical actions and emotions. Research has shown that deaf and blind individuals also show the typical facial expressions for these same core emotions.

The 12 emotions according to the discrete emotion theory include: 

  • Interest
  • Joy
  • Surprise
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Contempt
  • Self-hostility
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Shyness
  • Guilt
  • Other theories of emotion

    Robert Plutchik’s theory

    This theory claims that there are eight basic emotions:

  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Joy
  • Surprise
  • Disgust
  • Anticipation
  • Trust
  • Book two of Aristotle’s theory

    According to this theory, there are 9 emotions, which include:

  • Anger
  • Friendship
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Kindness
  • Pity
  • Indignation (feeling of anger when something is unfair)
  • Envy
  • Love
  • Charles Darwin’s theory

    The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin claims there are around 34 emotions, which are still used as a source:

  • Joy
  • Love
  • Devotion
  • Tender feelings
  • Suffering
  • Weeping
  • High spirits
  • Low spirits
  • Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Dejection
  • Despair
  • Anger
  • Hatred
  • Disdain
  • Contempt
  • Disgust
  • Guilt
  • Pride
  • Helplessness
  • Patience
  • Affirmation
  • Negation
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Self-attention
  • Shyness
  • Modesty
  • Blushing
  • Reflection
  • Mediation
  • Ill-temper
  • Sulkiness
  • Determination
  • University of California, Berkeley

    The latest research done by the University of California, Berkeley, has found that there are 27 discrete emotions. This is also the most recent theory. Thousands of individuals were studied, as well as their responses to different videos, music, and various situations were analyzed to determine the types of emotional categories that were truly distinct.

    The 27 discrete emotions include:

  • Admiration
  • Adoration
  • Aesthetic appreciation
  • Amusement
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Awe
  • Awkwardness
  • Boredom
  • Calmness
  • Confusion
  • Craving
  • Disgust
  • Empathetic pain
  • Entrancement
  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Horror
  • Interest
  • Joy
  • Nostalgia
  • Romance
  • Sadness
  • Satisfaction
  • Sexual desire
  • Surprise
  • Relief
  • QUESTION

    What percentage of the human body is water?
    See Answer

    Medically Reviewed on 4/14/2022

    References

    Johnson G. Theories of Emotion. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://iep.utm.edu/emotion/

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