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Self-Development Knowledge Base


Main topic:

Emotions describe a range of feelings and sensations that we often cannot cognitively explain or process. Love, anger, frustration, happiness, and fear are good examples.

“Emotions are, in essence, impulses to act, the instant plans for handling life that evolution has instilled in us.”
   - Daniel Goleman, psychologist 

Are Emotions Necessary?

It is a fallacy to believe, as many cultures do, that humans would be better off without emotions, or that we can divorce ourself from emotions.

Emotions play a huge role...

  • In mental health
  • In guiding us towards Valued Living
  • In social contexts and connection, including trust, leadership, tribal affiliation, romantic connection

Physical Sensation of Emotions

Many emotional sensations are directly correlated with neurotransmitters, and can be thought of as common to all mammals.

  • Desire (dopamine)
  • Fear (cortisol)
  • Love & Attachment towards someone (oxytocin)
  • Victory & Achievement (serotonin)

The physical sensations of emotions have been mapped by psychology researchers in Finland, and found some very interesting and consistent sensations.


A detailed breakdown of emotional sensations ( larger version )-

Map of the Human "feeling space".

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

See also Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions.

In 1980, Robert Plutchik constructed diagram of emotions visualising eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and anticipation. 

Plutchik also theorized twenty-four "Primary", "Secondary", and "Tertiary" dyads (feelings composed of two emotions). The wheel emotions can be paired in four groups:

  1. Primary dyad = one petal apart = Love = Joy + Trust
  2. Secondary dyad = two petals apart = Envy = Sadness + Anger
  3. Tertiary dyad = three petals apart = Shame = Fear + Disgust
  4. Opposite emotions = four petals apart = Anticipation ≠ Surprise

Emotions can be mild or intense; for example, distraction is a mild form of surprise, and rage is an intense form of anger. 

Fisually, the kinds of relation between each pair of emotions are:

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Further Information

Book - Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More Than IQ