Ranges within the Seven Universal Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions

Following on from the seven universal expressions, I’ve been asked a number of times about where certain emotions would fit within the seven universal emotions. An exercise I ran during a couple of my workshops seemed to really help participants appreciate how this all fit together.

First I ask; “What are some emotions you can think of? – then wrote them on a whiteboard. Of course, the first ones called were the seven universal emotions; happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust and contempt. But then other emotions were called out, such as excitement, depression, shock, terror, rage, repulsed and scorn. In this example, excitement would fit into the “happiness” category, along with joy, amused etc. There’s a happiness scale, from mild right through to very strong. Anger has a large range; between irritated  or annoyed through to rage. Anything in between would fit into the anger category. This is why I quite like Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions – although the seven emotions nearly fit perfectly into his model – it is a great illustration of these ranges within each category of emotion.

We also have to be aware as to what isn’t classed as an emotion; does the emotion last quite a long time? It could be a mood. Is this how the person usually acts or feels? It could be a personality trait. Lastly, is the person over the top severely breaching our social norms for emotional behaviour? It could be a psychopathological disorder.

For example, someone could express fear (a relatively temporary emotion), they could be naturally apprehensive (experiencing a mood that lasts longer than the emotion), they could be a shy person (a personality trait), or they could have panic attacks, phobias / extreme anxiety (a psychopathological disorder) (Matsumoto, 2012).

Below is another scale that orders the most positive emotions from 1st – 22nd. The idea of this scale is to identify where you may be personally on the scale and move upwards.

The Emotional Guidance Scale


About Stu Dunn

I have three major professional areas in my life: Team Dunn Real Estate (Harcourts Real Estate with my beautiful wife Bridget), SDL (Behavioural Science Consulting) and Qian Li Dao Academy NZ (Wing Chun Kung Fu). Stu & Bridget Dunn Real Estate: Providing awesome service and results through our approachable, professional and effective real estate services. http://stubridget.harcourts.co.nz/ SDL: SDL helps our clients to understand non-verbal communication and to avoid deception. We do this by providing online courses, training and specialist advice in areas of behaviour, emotional analysis and detecting deception. Both my wife Bridget and I are also FACS certified. I have also written an International Best Seller, True Lies; A Guide To Reading Faces, Interpreting Body Language & Detecting Deception In The Real World. www.MicroExpressions.co.nz, www.facebook.com/sdlmicroexpressions & www.StuDunn.com Qian Li Dao Academy NZ (Wing Chun Kung Fu): The Wing Chun System, known for its incredible speed, powerful straight punches & Chi Sao (contact reflex training), relies on angling & body mechanics rather than brute force. www.QianLiDao.co.nz
This entry was posted in Emotions, Facial Expressions, Psychology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ranges within the Seven Universal Emotions

  1. Pingback: Seven Universal Expressions | The Blog for Stu Dunn

  2. SDL says:

    Here’s a brief clip on emotions, moods, traits and mental illness http://youtu.be/cQiwG9_bMh8

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