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Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses

Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses

The Three Key Elements That Make Up Emotion

The situation that causes an emotion determines the kind of emotion that individual will feel. For instance, when someone hears excellent news, they are happy. When someone is in danger they become afraid Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses.

Depending on our emotions—happiness, rage, sadness, boredom, or frustration—we make choices. We pick interests and pastimes based on the feelings they arouse. Knowing our emotions can make life easier and more stable for us to manage.

What Are Emotions?

Don Hocken bury and Sandra E. Hocken bury argue in their book “Discovering Psychology” that an emotion is a complicated psychological state that consists of three distinct elements: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioural or expressive response.

Researchers have attempted to categorize the various emotional types in addition to attempting to define what emotions are. Over time, the explanations and insights have evolved.

  • The six fundamental emotions that are shared by all human societies, according to psychologist Paul Ekman, are fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, and sadness.
    Robert Plutchik developed the “wheel of emotions,” another technique for categorising emotions.
  • In the 1980s. This model illustrated how various emotions can be combined or mixed, much like how primary colours are mixed by an artist to produce other colors.
  • In 1999, Ekman added a few more fundamental emotions to his list, such as excitement, contempt, shame, pride, satisfaction, and amusement.

Key Elements of Emotions

Let’s concentrate on the three components that make up emotions: the subjective experience, the physiological response, and the behavioural response.


Subjective Experience

While experts contend that a number of fundamental, universal emotions are shared by people from all backgrounds and cultures, they also contend that emotion experience can be incredibly subjective. Think of anger, for instance. Is all rage equivalent? Your own experience might run the gamut from mild irritation to enraged fury.

Additionally, we don’t always feel each feeling in its purest form. Over various life events or circumstances, we frequently have conflicted feelings. When beginning a new career, you could experience mixed emotions. You might experience all of these feelings at once, or you might experience them sequentially.


Although emotions like “angry,” “sad,” or “happy” have general names, your own experience of these emotions may be much more subjective and multi-dimensional.

Physiological Response

If you’ve ever experienced strong physiological reactions to emotions like anxiety or fear, you know that emotions can also cause these symptoms.

The autonomic nerve system regulates the body’s automatic functions, including digestion and blood flow. Control of the body’s fight-or-flight responses is the responsibility of the sympathetic nervous system. These reactions are your body’s automatic means of getting ready to either run away from danger or meet the threat head-on.

More recent study has focused on the brain’s function in emotions, whereas earlier studies of the physiology of emotion tended to concentrate on these autonomic reactions.

The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped brain region that has been associated with memory, emotion, and motivational states like thirst and hunger.


The sympathetic nervous system, a division of the autonomic nervous system, controls many of the physiological reactions you encounter while you are experiencing an emotion, such as sweaty palms or a speeding heartbeat.

Behavioral Response

The actual expression of emotion is the final element, and it’s probably the one with which you are most familiar. We devote a lot of our time to deciphering the emotional expressions of those around us. These expressions play a significant role in our overall body language and are closely related to what psychologists refer to as emotional intelligence, which is the capacity for accurate interpretation of these expressions.

Social and cultural standards have an impact on how we express and understand our emotions. People in Japan, for instance, frequently hide their fear or disgust when an authoritative figure is present. People in Japan are more likely to express negative emotions when they are alone while people in the United States are more likely to do so when they are both alone and around others Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses.


Many facial emotions, such as a grin to denote happiness or a frown to denote melancholy, may be universal, according to research.

Theories of Emotion

The evolutionary theory of emotion, put out by Charles Darwin, contends that feelings are environment-adaptive and increase our chances of surviving. For instance, because they encourage mating and reproduction, feelings like love are adaptive. Fear and other such emotions protect us against predators.

According to the James-Lange theory, emotion is a result of our physical reactions. Your heart rate goes up, for instance, if someone approaches you silently and yells. You feel fear because your heartbeat quickens.

The Cannon-Bard idea contends that people perceive both emotional and physical reactions simultaneously, contradicting the James-Lange theory Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses.

A cognitive explanation of emotion called the Schachter-Singer hypothesis contends that emotions are truly the result of our thinking. The cognitive appraisal theory is comparable to this theory. It makes the argument that one must first think before feeling anything. For instance, if your brain interprets a circumstance as dangerous, you will feel fear.


It implies that physical activity affects emotion; for instance, forcing a grin would make you feel happier than not forcing one at all.

Types of Emotions

There are numerous hypotheses regarding the wide range of emotions that people can feel. Paul Ekman, a psychologist, identified the following six as being universal feelings:

  • Happiness: Since happiness is a pleasant emotion accompanied by a feeling of well-being and satisfaction, many individuals aspire to be happy. Smiling or using a cheery voice are frequent ways to convey happiness.
  • Sadness: Everybody occasionally feels sad. Someone may cry, keep silent, or retreat from others to convey their unhappiness. Sadness can take various forms, such as grief, hopelessness, and disappointment.
  • Fear: Fear can speed up the pulse rate, send thoughts racing, or make you want to run away. It might be a response to real or imagined threats. Some people engage in activities like viewing scary movies, going on roller coasters, or skydiving to experience the adrenaline rush that comes with dread Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses.
  • Disgust: Physical experiences such as seeing or smelling blood, decaying food, or uncleanliness can cause disgust. When someone observes another person acting in a way they find objectionable or immoral, moral disgust may develop.
  • Anger: Anger can be shown through aggressive conduct, yelling, or frowning facial expressions. Finding a healthy outlet for your anger will prevent it from hurting you or other people, yet anger can inspire you to make changes in your life.
  • Surprise: A surprise can be good or bad. When you are startled, you might open your mouth or gasp. The fight-or-flight response can be triggered by surprise just like by fear.

Emotions, Feelings, and Moods

Although they actually have diverse meanings. An emotion often lasts only a brief time yet is quite powerful. Additionally, it’s likely that emotions have a clear origin. For instance, you can feel angry after fighting with a friend over politics.

Consider the scenario of arguing with a friend. Both of you might leave the conversation having felt the emotion of fury Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses.

Because you believe your friend never pays attention to you when you speak, your frustration may come across as anger. On the other hand, your friend’s rage might come off as jealousy because they think you know a lot more than they do about the subject. Although you are both experiencing the same emotion, due to your different interpretations, your feelings are different.

For example, you might be in a good mood this week because you feel like everything is going your way. However, it can frequently be challenging to pinpoint the precise reason for a mood. For instance, you might discover that you’ve been depressed for a few days without knowing why.

Speak with a doctor or a mental health professional about your worries if you’ve been experiencing low mood or difficult emotions. They can help you get back to feeling your best by providing support, direction, and solutions. Check out our National Helpline Database to learn more about potential resources.


What are the primary emotions?

The feelings that all people experience as primary emotions are those. Various views exist as to what these particular feelings are, although they frequently include joy, sorrow, fear, disgust, wrath, and surprise.

What are negative emotions?

Any emotion can be positive or negative, but those that disrupt daily life and are typically referred to as “negative” feelings can be unpleasant to experience. Emotions like envy, rage, sadness, and fear are negative feelings.

What are some ways emotions affect your health?

Heart disease and smoking are two behaviors and diseases that are correlated with anger. It is healthy to feel a variety of emotions, but you should learn effective ways to express them so they don’t have a detrimental effect on your health.

What are secondary emotions?

Primary emotions are the source of secondary emotions, which are variations of them. Sometimes, our primary emotions cause us to experience secondary emotions (e.g., “I’m angry that I’m so sad”). Among the secondary emotions are anger, pride, envy, and jealousy.