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The 6 Types of Basic Emotions and Their Effect on Human Behavior

The 6 Types of Basic Emotions and Their Effect on Human Behavior

Emotions come in a variety of forms, and they all have an impact on how we live and relate to others. We could occasionally feel as though these emotions are in charge of us. The emotions we are going through at any particular time have an impact on our decisions, our behaviours, and our perceptions The 6 Types of Basic Emotions and Their Effect on Human Behavior.

Psychologists have also attempted to categorise the many emotions that individuals feel. To classify and explain the emotions that people experience, a number of different theories have surfaced.

Basic Emotions

Paul Eckman, a psychologist, named six fundamental emotions that he claimed were shared across all human societies in the 1970s. He listed happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and fury among the feelings. Later, he added pride, humiliation, embarrassment, and enthusiasm to his list of fundamental feelings The 6 Types of Basic Emotions and Their Effect on Human Behavior.

Basic emotions

Combining Emotions

A “wheel of emotions” developed by psychologist Robert Plutchik functioned similarly to a colour wheel. Similar to how mixing colours can produce distinct colours, combining emotions can produce new moods.

This idea proposes that the more fundamental emotions function as building blocks. These more fundamental emotions combine to form more complicated, sometimes conflicting feelings. For instance, the basic feelings of joy and trust can be combined to become love.

The researchers discovered, however, that these emotions are experienced by people along a gradient rather than being wholly different. Let’s examine some of the fundamental emotional categories in more detail and discover how they affect how people behave.


Happiness is typically the emotion that individuals seek for the most out of all the different emotions. A common definition of happiness is a pleasant emotional state marked by emotions of fulfilment, joy, and contentment The 6 Types of Basic Emotions and Their Effect on Human Behavior.

Since the 1960s, research on happiness has grown dramatically in a variety of fields, including positive psychology, a subfield of psychology. Sometimes, this kind of emotion is expressed by:

  • Moods of the face: such as a smile
  • Using relaxed body language: such as stance
  • Voice tone: a positive, pleasant manner of speaking

Despite the fact that happiness is one of the fundamental human feelings, culture often has a strong influence on what we believe would make us happy. Pop culture, for instance, frequently emphasises that obtaining particular things, like owning a home or working a high-paying job, can lead to pleasure.

The truth about what really makes people happy is frequently considerably more nuanced and idiosyncratic.

People have held this belief for a long time, and research has confirmed it. Happiness has been shown to affect both physical and mental health.

For instance, impaired immunity, elevated inflammation, and shortened life expectancy have all been related to stress, anxiety, despair, and loneliness.


Another form of emotion called sadness is frequently described as a passing emotional state marked by emotions including disappointment, grief, hopelessness, boredom, and a depressed mood.

Sadness is a feeling that everyone occasionally feels, much as other emotions. People can occasionally go through protracted, debilitating spells of sadness that can progress to depression. There are several methods to convey sadness, including:

  • Crying
  • Dulled mood
  • Lethargy
  • Quietness
  • separation from others

Depending on the underlying cause, the type and intensity of sadness can vary, as does how people deal with these emotions.


Fear is a strong feeling that might be crucial to a person’s survival. The fight or flight response is what occurs when you are in danger and are experiencing fear.

Your body prepares to either flee from the threat or stand and fight as your muscles strain, your heart rate and respiration quicken, and your mind becomes more alert.

This reaction ensures that you are equipped to handle hazards in your environment in an effective manner. These kinds of emotions can be expressed by:

  • facial expressions: such as a chin-up or a widening of the eyes
  • Body language: evasion or flight in response to the danger
  • Physiological responses: such as a fast heartbeat and breathing
    Of course, not everybody is afraid.

The emotional reaction to a present threat is fear. We can also have a similar response to impending risks or even to our imaginations of future perils, and this is what we typically refer to as anxiety. For instance, social anxiety includes a worry of upcoming social events.

On the other side, some individuals actively seek out frightening circumstances. Extreme sports and other thrills can make people feel frightened, yet for other people, these emotions seem to be healthy and even enjoyable.

The concept behind exposure therapy is to gradually expose a person to their fears in a safe and controlled environment. Fearful emotions eventually start to fade.


Another one of Eckman’s initial six fundamental emotions is disgust. There are several ways to express disgust, including:

Turning away from the object of your disgust

  • Physical responses: retching or vomiting
  • Facial emotions: such as pouting and wrinkles around the nose
  • This feeling of revulsion: can be brought on by a variety of things, such as an unappealing taste, sight, or smell.
  • This emotion: according to researchers, developed in response to potentially dangerous or lethal foods. For example, disgust is a typical response when individuals smell or taste spoiled food.

Infection, blood, rot, and death can also make someone feel disgusted. The body may be using this as a means of avoiding items that


Another of the six fundamental categories of human emotions first identified by Eckman is surprise. Following an unexpected event, surprise is characterised by a physiological startle response and is typically relatively brief.

Positive, negative, or neutral emotions can all fall under this category. An unpleasant surprise, for instance, would involve someone startling you as you walk to your car at night by springing out from behind a tree.

A pleasant surprise can be finding your closest friends gathered to celebrate your birthday when you get home. Surprise frequently includes:

  • Using facial expressions like furrowing the brows, expanding the mouth, and broadening the eyes
  • physical reactions, such a backward jump
  • Verbal responses, such as screaming, yelling, or gasping

Another emotion that might cause the fight-or-flight response is surprise. People who are shocked sometimes feel an adrenaline rush that helps the body get ready to fight or run.

Other Types of Emotions

The many other kinds of emotions that humans are able to experience are much more varied than the six fundamental emotions that Eckman outlined. According to Eckman’s theory, these fundamental emotions are shared by all cultures.

The numerous varieties of emotions and how they are categorised, however, are still being explored through fresh theories and study. Later, Eckman expanded his list of emotions, but he noted that, unlike his first six, not all of them could necessarily be expressed through facial expressions. He later recognised the following feelings among them:

  • Amusement
  • Contempt \sContentment
  • Embarrassment
  • Excitement
  • Pride in accomplishment guilt
  • Relief
  • Satisfaction
  • Shame

Other Theories of Emotion

Not all psychologists concur on how to categorise emotions or what the fundamental emotions are, as is the case with many psychological ideas. Even though Eckman’s view is among the most well-known, other theorists have put up their own suggestions for the emotions that constitute the essence of the human experience.

For instance, some academics contend that there are just two or three fundamental emotions. Others have proposed that there is a hierarchy of emotions. Secondary emotions can then be created from primary emotions like love, joy, surprise, rage, and sadness. For instance, love is made up of secondary feelings like affection and longing.

According to a more recent study, there are at least 27 different emotions that are all intricately tied to one another. Researchers developed an interactive map to show how these emotions are related to one another after examining the responses of more than 800 males to more than 2,000 video clips.

Alan Cowen, the study’s lead author and doctoral student in neuroscience at UC Berkeley, suggests that better clarifying the nature of our emotions can play an important role in helping scientists, psychologists, and physicians learn more about how emotions underlie brain activity, behavior, and mood. He hopes that by better understanding these states, scientists might create more effective therapies for psychiatric disorders.