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Types of Emotions and Their Impact

Types of Emotions and Their ImpactUpdated on September 22, 2020 | Published on October 17, 2019

Overview of Various Types of Emotions and Their Impact

Emotions play an important role in our lives. As a matter of fact, emotions create major impact on our life. We behave, make a decision, the actions we undertake all depends on our emotions. But, to understand them, it is important to know all about emotions. Amidst this, there are various types of emotions that influence our lifestyle. Sometimes, these emotions might rule our life too. So, before we dig any deeper, let’s explore more about the history and types of emotions.

What is Emotion?

If you disagree with what another person is saying. Then you react with disinterest or anger. This is exactly what an emotion is! In 1579, the word ‘emotion’ was derived from the French word émouvoir, which meant – to stir up or move. Emotion is a feeling or sensation, caused because of a perception or situation. Besides, ‘emotion’ is also connected with our body organs. For example, happiness is with the heart or anger with the liver.

History of Emotions

While there are many theories, approaches, and philosophies on emotions. But one thing is for sure that emotions are necessary to deal with situations. So, let’s see how they evolved along the time. 

Psychologists have tried to categorize different types of emotions that people experience. Moreover, there are many successful theories that explain the emotions that people feel. In 1890, William James put forth four basic emotions and they were grief, fear, rage, and love. These emotions were based on body involvement.

Then, in the 1970s, psychologist Paul Ekman identified six basic human emotions. These emotions were accepted by one and all. And they were sadness, happiness, disgust, fear, surprise, anger, and happiness. But it was Psychologist Robert Plutchik who combined emotions. With this, he came up with a ‘wheel of emotions.’ This wheel with different colors combines emotion to form different feelings. The colors organize positive and negative emotions. It helps in identifying polar opposite emotions and intensities of a single emotion. Also, it helps in defining the relationship between one emotion with another.

But a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America has a different view. This study was undertaken by Alan S. Cowen and Dacher Keltner of the University of California, Berkeley. Their report captures 27 distinct categories of emotions bridged by continuous gradients. During this research, they used 2,185 short video clips to provoke emotions. For example, a pig falling from a moving truck or cat massaging a dog. With this, they came up with an interactive map to show how emotional reactions are connected.

Overview of Various Types of Emotions and Their Impact
Overview of Various Types of Emotions and Their Impact

Well, let’s explore some of the types of emotions and their impact on human behavior.

Different Types of Emotions

Emotions are categorized into primary emotions and secondary emotions. Though primary emotions are irresistible, they emerge only during important events. In fact, they are the first reaction when anything happens. For example, joy, sadness or happiness are primary emotions. And that’s why they are easily identifiable. Also, they do not last for a very long time. As time passes by, primary emotions start subsiding and turn into secondary emotions.

And on the other hand, secondary emotions are hard to identify. They are the reaction to primary emotions. For example, anger is a secondary emotion. When things do not fall into place, then it leads to disappointment or frustration. But to hide these emotions, many overshadow it with anger. Thus, making it a secondary emotion.

Apart from this, there are positive and negative emotions. Positive emotions strengthen an enjoyable experience so that we pursue it out again. While negative emotions, alert us of dangerous situations and elevate our survival instincts. All in all, emotions help us to survive in a more rational society.

6 Basic Emotions

  1. Happiness
  2. Sadness
  3. Disgust
  4. Fear
  5. Anger
  6. Surprise

What Are the Benefits of Emotions?

Though there are distinct categories of emotion, they help us in some or the other way.

1. Helps to thrive

Helps to thrive
Helps to thrive

Emotions play a pivotal role in helping us to act quickly. They motivate us to take actions that boost our survival rate. For example, when there is a danger, fear helps in fleeing the spot. While when in love, it transforms into marriage and family.

2. Helps to understand others

Helps to understand others
Helps to understand others

Communication plays a vital role in maintaining healthy relations. And while doing this, interpreting and reacting is important. Because emotions help in responding in a better way. With this, the relationships stay strong in a better and fruitful way. Besides, it doesn’t matter what situation you are in, emotions help in tackling them. For example, handling irritated employees or irate clients.

3. Helps others to understand us

Helps others to understand us
Helps others to understand us

If you do not like a particular conversation, it is necessary to convey. In situations like these, emotions help a lot. Emotions are hints that help people understand what we are feeling. Amidst this, facial expressions, gestures, body language play a pivotal role in expressing.

4. Helps in decision-making

Helps in decision-making
Helps in decision-making

If you’re experiencing a disturbing relationship that leads to distress. Then it is a hint that you must get out of the relationship or set boundaries. The ability to understand and manage emotions helps considerably in decision-making.

With practice, you may rewire emotions and create responses that are manageable. Hard work and commitment will help you understand your emotions in a better way.

Closing Thoughts

Emotions are unique to every person. Some people might have an array of emotions while some might have very little emotions. But emotions help in communicating and to cope up with everyday life situations. So, more the emotions, more colorful your life would be!