Study: Humans feel 27 different states of emotion rather than just 6

Study: Humans feel 27 different states of emotion rather than just 6

Scientists are pin-pointing that there are no longer just a few states of emotions that people go through. In fact, it has been discovered that there are now 27 states of emotions. The earlier assumption was based on the fact that human emotion falls only in the categories of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and disgust.

The study was conducted from the University of California, Berkeley that had been conducted by analysing the responses of over 800 men and women which have produced over 2,000 emotionally evocative videos. According to the University’s findings, there are 27 distinct categories of emotion. The researchers have also created a multi-dimensional interactive map to show exactly how those emotions are connected to each other. The university has published its findings in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

The senior author of the study, Dacher Keltner, mentioned that there are 27 distinct dimensions and not six as had been previously speculated. Keltner said that based on the videos that were shown to the participants in the study, they had all showcased a multitude of feelings in response to the video clips. There are no islands of emotions. There are gradients as well, that provide bridges and connect to different emotions. There are gradients of emotion between awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness and amusement and adoration. The map helps in showing how these emotions are connected, proving that emotions are more nuanced than previously imagined.

This will change the way that psychiatrists should approach different states of emotion, through varying treatments that do not necessarily have to fall under just five or six different emotions. The videos shown were meant to evoke emotions that were ranked by the participants such as admiration, adoration, aesthetic appreciation, amusement, anger, anxiety, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, contempt, craving, disappointment, disgust, empathic pain, entrancement, envy, excitement, fear, guilt, horror, interest, joy, nostalgia, pride, relief, romance, sadness, satisfaction, sexual desire, surprise, sympathy and triumph.

Based on the results of how many people had felt the same feelings towards the videos they were shown, the researchers had narrowed down to the existence of over 27 different emotions. Not only were they identifiable, but the researchers have also been able to assign a different color for each of those emotions using statistical modelling and visualization techniques. While the concept is still new and is still subject to argument for veteran psychiatrists, the possibilities of understanding the human psyche and its complexities seems to be a question that still needs answering. This is just one step towards that direction.