Motivation and emotion/Tutorials/Core emotions
Tutorial 07: Core emotions
The 2020 tutorial is complete. The 2021 tutorial is in development.
Overview[edit | edit source]
- This tutorial engages in the concept of core emotions - what are they?
- The core emotion sort exercise involves sorting hundreds of emotion words into underlying categories
Core emotion sort[edit | edit source]
The goal of this exercise is to organise emotion-related words into a model which depicts underlying families of emotional experience.
Core emotion criteria[edit | edit source]
What are the criteria for a core emotion?
To qualify as a core emotion, consider whether an affective state is/has a:
- Distinct physiological/neurology response? (e.g., neurological activation, hear-rate)
- Distinct feeling? (subjective/phenomenological state)
- Unique expression? (e.g., unique facial expression and body language)
- Innate? (i.e., evident from birth)
- Adaptive purpose/function?
- Short-lived (vs. moods which are longer-lived)
- Triggered by same circumstances each time? (i.e., has a specific causal trigger)?
- Universal (i.e., recognised by different cultures)
Non-emotions[edit | edit source]
There are several affective psychological experiences which do not qualify as emotions and may instead be better considered as:
- Attitudes (e.g., hate)
- Behaviours (e.g., aggression)
- Cognitions (e.g., confused)
- Disorders (e.g., behavioural conduct disorder)
- Moods (e.g., grumpy)
- Personality traits (e.g., neuroticism)
Steps[edit | edit source]
- Go to the online list of emotion words
- As a whole group, work through each emotion word, classifying as either a:
- member of a core emotion family, or a
- non-emotion word
- After the initial classification, sort and review the words by emotion family
- Discuss the results
Emotion knowledge[edit | edit source]
What is "emotion knowledge"?
The core emotion sort exercise is also designed to expand "emotion knowledge", which is the number of different emotions a person can distinguish (e.g., various shades of anger).
Emotion knowledge can be improved by expanding one's linguistic repertoire for describing emotions. Reeve (2009, p. 353) suggests that "the finer and more sophisticated one's emotion knowledge is, the greater his or her capacity to respond to each life event with a specialised and highly appropriate reaction".
For example, new research finds our vocabularies can act as a window into psychological and physical well-being. For a deeper dive, see the work on James Pennebaker, one of the study's authors, via Google Scholar.
Foreign language emotion words[edit | edit source]
There are many emotion-like states that are not well described in English.
On the other hand, there are many non-English words for emotional states that might be useful.
What words from other languages do you know that describe emotions?
- 17 words we don’t have in English that describe feelings we have every day
- There are at least 216 foreign words for positive emotional states and concepts that we don’t have in English 
- Buy more books than you ever read? The Japanese have a word for that.
What are the implications of emotion language for our psychological experience? For example, consider the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
Recording[edit | edit source]
- Tutorial 07 recording, 2020
See also[edit | edit source]
- Tutorial session notes - Instructor notes
- Emotion/Emotional intelligence (Additional tutorial exercise)
- Learned optimism (Previous tutorial)
- Measuring emotion (Next tutorial)
- Contrasting and categorization of emotions (Wikipedia)
[edit | edit source]
- Basic emotions (changingminds.org)
- Children who understand emotions become more attentive over time (PsyPost, 2015)
- Emoji fans take heart: Scientists pinpoint 27 states of emotion (University of California, Berkeley, 2017); Interactive emotion map with videos
- List of emotions in Sims 4: Emotion system mechanics, moods, and how to get sims feeling each (carls-sims-4-guide.com)
- Plutchik (personalityresearch.org) - Wheel of emotions