By Sage Lazzaro

Scientists have discovered that the range of emotions humans experience is much wider than previously thought.

While it was originally thought we feel just six emotions, researchers at UC Berkeley found 27 distinct human emotions and have displayed them on an interactive map.

In addition to happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and, disgust, they also determined confusion, romance, nostalgia, sexual desire, and others to be distinct emotions, reports Daily Mail.

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Click here for interactive map

"We wanted to shed light on the full palette of emotions that color our inner world," lead author Alan Cowen said of the study, which was published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For the study, Cowen and his colleague Dacher Keltner asked more than 800 participants to freely report or rank the emotions they felt after watching 30 short video clips.

The overall collection contained 2,185 emotionally evocative silent clips available from various online sources.

They were each five to 10 seconds and included scenes like births, babies, weddings, proposals, death, suffering, spiders, snakes, physical pratfalls, risky stunts, sexual acts, natural disasters, wondrous nature, and awkward handshakes.

The 27 emotions humans feel

Admiration
Adoration
Aesthetic Appreciation
Amusement
Anxiety
Awe
Awkwardness
Boredom
Calmness
Confusion
Craving
Disgust
Empathetic pain
Entrancement
Envy
Excitement
Fear
Horror
Interest
Joy
Nostalgia
Romance
Sadness
Satisfaction
Sexual desire
Sympathy
Triumph

The first group was tasked with freely reporting the emotions they felt, which led to the discovery of the 27 emotions.

"Their responses reflected a rich and nuanced array of emotional states, ranging from nostalgia to feeling 'grossed out,'" Cowen said.

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These included: 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.

The second group was asked to rank each video according to how strongly it made them feel the previously reported emotions.

After this part of the study, the researchers found the respondents were in agreement about the emotions they were experiencing.

Confusion was an emotion discovered in the study. Photo / 123RF
Confusion was an emotion discovered in the study. Photo / 123RF

More than half of the viewers reported the same category of emotion for each video.

The final group then ranked their emotional responses to a dozen videos on a scale of 1 to 9, using dichotomies such as excitement versus calmness, positive versus negative, and dominance versus submissiveness.

Based on the previous groups' responses, the researchers were able to accurately predict how the third group would rank their emotions.

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Results from the three parts of the study showed the participants generally shared the same or similar emotional responses to the video clips and provided data that pointed to the 27 emotions.

"We found that 27 distinct dimensions, not six, were necessary to account for the way hundreds of people reliably reported feeling in response to each video," Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychology professor and expert on the science of emotions, said.

The researches made a multidimensional, interactive map that displays the 27 emotions and how they're connected.

On the map, each emotion is represented by a different letter of the alphabet.

If you click on a video, it will play and also show the emotions participants reported for it.

For example, a clip of the Northern Lights showed the following breakdown: 75 percent aesthetic appreciation, 58 percent awe, 29 percent entrancement, 25 percent calmness, 17 percent satisfaction, 8 percent adoration, 8 percent amusement, 8 percent boredom, 8 percent joy, and 8 percent romance.

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Another of a daredevil walking a tightrope between two mountain cliffs showed: 55 percent fear, 45 percent anxiety, 9 admiration, 9 percent aesthetic appreciation, 9 percent amusement, and 9 percent entrancement.

The study also found that, contrary to what was believed, each emotional state is not an island.

"There are smooth gradients of emotion between, say, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration," Keltner said.

"We don't get finite clusters of emotions in the map because everything is interconnected."

By looking at where the different emotions are spatially on the map, you can see which emotions are often felt together.

The aforementioned clips, for example, are on opposite ends of the map because, for the most part, they evoke very different ranges of emotion.

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The study also found anxiety to be a distinct emotion. Photo / 123RF
The study also found anxiety to be a distinct emotion. Photo / 123RF

Cowen said he was surprised by the results.

"I was afraid people might revert to "happy" and "sad" when describing their emotions, and was pleasantly surprised to see such nuanced and precise language being deployed," Cowen told DailyMail.com.

He added that what separates these feelings from being 'emotions' or 'states of mind' is 'fuzzy.'

"I think it's worth studying which states people generally consider to be emotional vs. non-emotional," he said.

"I tend to think it's a fuzzy distinction; some states are more emotional than other."

For now, however, it is clear there are gradients between the 27 different emotions, like dear and anxiety for example.

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"That means that even if some of these states are considered to be less emotional than others, they are all at least related to emotions, and definitely relevant to the phenomena that we study as emotion scientists," he said.

So how well can you read emotions?

Take the test here to see how well you perceive others' emotions

A recent study in the UK found that women tend to be more perceptive than men when determining another person's emotion based only on their eyes and eyebrows, especially when it comes to reading signs of vulnerability.

Men, however, were found to excel at detecting emotions related to lust and anger - and for both genders, researchers say the ability gets better with age.

In the study, the researchers surveyed a total of 2,000 people in the UK.

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Participants were shown pairs of eyes and eyebrows, and asked to choose the correct term that describes which emotion that person is conveying.

Overall, women were found to be slightly better at reading other people, with two thirds of women in the survey correctly recognizing 5 or more emotions.

Only 56 percent of men were able to do this.

The researchers also found that women were more confident in their ability to read emotions, with half reporting that they were either "slightly better" or "much better" at doing so than their friends and family, while only 44 percent of men said the same.

The survey also revealed that men and women differ in their abilities to notice particular emotions.

Women were more likely to recognize "vulnerable emotions," including shocked or scared, with more than three quarters able to do so.

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But, only 60 percent of men could tell that someone was scared.

When it comes to recognizing a "pleading" or "guilty" look, women beat men by five percent.

In the survey, men were found to be better at recognizing emotions related to lust and anger, including "interested," "desire," and "hostile."

Roughly 58 percent of men could correctly detect "interest" from the visual cues, and 41.9 percent could recognize desire.

The researchers say the ability improves with age - until you reach 65.

The best scores were seen in people aged 55-64 and 45-54, they say, though people aged 65 and over were best at determining when a person is "ashamed."

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On average, participants scored 4.9/10 on the test, "suggesting most people can't detect other people's moods as much as they think they might."

The Study

Researchers asked more than 800 participants to freely report or rank the emotions they felt after watching 30 short video clips.

The videos included scenes like babies, weddings, death, spiders, risky stunts, sexual acts, natural disasters, and wondrous nature.

The first group was tasked with freely reporting the emotions they felt, which led to the discovery of the 27 emotions.

The second group was asked to rank each video according to how strongly it made them feel the previously reported emotions.

After this part of the study, the researchers found the respondents were in agreement about the emotions they were experiencing.

Advertisement

The final group then ranked their emotional responses to a dozen videos on a scale of 1 to 9, using dichotomies such as excitement versus calmness, positive versus negative, and dominance versus submissiveness.

Results from the three parts of the study showed the participants generally shared the same or similar emotional responses to the video clips and provided data that pointed to the 27 emotions.