A long standing theory claims that most of the human emotions fall within a set of six human emotions: happiness or joy, sadness, fear, surprise, and disgust. Now, a recently released study contests this, as it states that people actually show 27 states of emotion. The research team also created a map to show how these are all connected among themselves.
— UC Berkeley News (@UCBerkeleyNews) September 7, 2017
The 27 States of Emotion Come With ‘Smooth Gradients’ Between Them
UC Berkeley researchers led by Alan Cowen are behind this new study. According to the study lead, he and his team set out to clarify the “full palette of emotions that color our inner world.”
To do so, the researchers enlisted the help of over 800 male and female volunteers that were demographically diverse. These had to watch more than 2,000 short, silent videos, which were “emotionally evocative”. All of the participants were asked to rank their emotions after watching the clips.
According to the team, this helped this detect 27 states of emotion, more than initially believed and also distinct among themselves. These new emotions included, among others, admiration and envy, calmness, nostalgia, confusion, satisfaction, and awkwardness.
These different states are also connected among themselves by a “smooth gradient of emotion”. Because of the connection between them, the team also claims that there are no “finite clusters of emotion”.
Cowen, the study lead, considers that the differences between ‘emotions’ and ‘states of mind’ are “fuzzy” and that some research should target these distinctions. He also admitted to being surprised by the discovery of these 27 new states, and the differences between them.
“Our hope is that our findings will help other scientists and engineers more precisely capture the emotional states that underlie moods, brain activity, and expressive signals, leading to improved psychiatric treatments, an understanding of the brain basis of emotion and technology responsive to our emotional needs,” continued Cowen.
Research findings are available in a paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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