What Are the 12 Emotions?

Reviewed on 12/1/2020

The discrete emotion theory claims that there are 12 discrete emotions
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: 

  1. Interest
  2. Joy
  3. Surprise
  4. Sadness
  5. Anger
  6. Disgust
  7. Contempt
  8. Self-hostility
  9. Fear
  10. Shame
  11. Shyness
  12. Guilt

Other theories of emotion

Robert Plutchik’s theory

This theory claims that there are eight basic emotions:

  1. Fear
  2. Sadness
  3. Anger
  4. Joy
  5. Surprise
  6. Disgust
  7. Anticipation
  8. Trust

Book two of Aristotle's theory

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

  1. Anger
  2. Friendship
  3. Fear
  4. Shame
  5. Kindness
  6. Pity
  7. Indignation (feeling of anger when something is unfair)
  8. Envy
  9. 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:

  1. Joy
  2. Love
  3. Devotion
  4. Tender feelings
  5. Suffering
  6. Weeping
  7. High spirits
  8. Low spirits
  9. Anxiety
  10. Grief
  11. Dejection
  12. Despair
  13. Anger
  14. Hatred
  15. Disdain
  16. Contempt
  17. Disgust
  18. Guilt
  19. Pride
  20. Helplessness
  21. Patience
  22. Affirmation
  23. Negation
  24. Surprise
  25. Fear
  26. Self-attention
  27. Shyness
  28. Modesty
  29. Blushing
  30. Reflection
  31. Mediation
  32. Ill-temper
  33. Sulkiness
  34. 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:

  1. Admiration
  2. Adoration
  3. Aesthetic appreciation
  4. Amusement
  5. Anger
  6. Anxiety
  7. Awe
  8. Awkwardness
  9. Boredom
  10. Calmness
  11. Confusion
  12. Craving
  13. Disgust
  14. Empathetic pain
  15. Entrancement
  16. Excitement
  17. Fear
  18. Horror
  19. Interest
  20. Joy
  21. Nostalgia
  22. Romance
  23. Sadness
  24. Satisfaction
  25. Sexual desire
  26. Surprise
  27. Relief

SLIDESHOW

Sex-Drive Killers: The Causes of Low Libido See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

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

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors