Can you guess how many emotions a human can experience? The answer might shock you – it’s around 34,000.
With so many different emotions, how can anyone navigate through the turbulent waters of emotions, their different intensities, and compositions, without getting lost?
The answer – an emotion wheel.
But before we get into the emotion wheel, let’s first define what we mean when we use the term emotion. Psychologists view emotions as episodes brought on by a number of stimuli. More specifically, an “emotion is defined as an episode of interrelated, synchronized changes in the state of all or most of the five organismic subsystems in response to the evaluation of an external or internal stimulus event as relevant to major concerns of the organism” (Emotion Researcher, 2015).
Now back to the emotion wheel! Through years of studying emotions, Dr. Robert Plutchik, an American psychologist, proposed that there are eight primary emotions that serve as the foundation for all others: joy, sadness, acceptance, disgust, fear, anger, surprise and anticipation, which later became the basis of his emotion wheel (Pollack, 2016). This means that, while it’s impossible to fully understand all 34,000 distinguishable emotions, learning a bit more about how to accurately identify how each of the primary emotions are expressed can actually help foster a better understanding of yourself.