The Seven Basic Emotions: Do you know them?

Humintell’s scientifically validated, emotion recognition training tools feature images of individuals portraying the 7 basic emotions: Anger, Contempt, Fear, Disgust, Happiness, Sadness and Surprise.

But what exactly are basic emotions and where do other emotions such as shame, guilt and pride fit in? Read on to learn more…

Basic emotions are emotions that have been scientifically proven to have a certain facial expression associated with it. In fact, developing the skill of reading microexpressions can help detect aspects of these expressions that are subtle or hard to determine.

For example, the basic emotion of “Anger” can be recognized by this picture all around the world, no matter what age, religion or gender you are, or what language you speak and it may be one of the most important in detecting threatening behavior. Anger can be characterized by these characteristics below:

Similarly, Fear is also a basic emotion. Fear is recognized all around the world by this facial expression of emotion, with the characteristics which can be seen below. Its important to note that other words describing fear are also expressed by this same face (or portions of this face). Emotions such as scared, mortified, horrified and petrified all have characteristics of this expression.

There are other basic emotions such as disgust, contempt, happiness,  sadness and surprise. Their characteristics can be seen below:

We often get asked about emotions such as shame, pride, jealously and guilt. While these emotions are important ones, they are still not considered part of the basic emotions set. For example, there is no scientific evidence showing that there is a universal expression of shame that is recognized around the world as shame. Be weary when you see or hear people labeling expressions as emotions not in the basic emotion set. There is little evidence backing up their claims.

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*Please note that the images used in this blog post are property of Humintell. Duplicating or using these images for any purpose is strictly prohibited without written consent of Humintell.

59 responses to “The Seven Basic Emotions: Do you know them?”

  1. August M. Berg, Esq. says:

    Do not forget that all emotions, including the basic ones mentioned on this Website, cannot only been SEEN as being associated with particular facial expressions, but can also be FELT. Stated differently, a blind person would know what particular emotion(s) the speaking person was feeling at the time of the conversation. It would be interesting to observe what differences and similarities, if any, exist in conversations between a person with normal vision and a blind person with regard to emotions.

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  7. Monroe Judkovics says:

    What about HORROR ???

  8. Horror falls under the “fear” expression. As does scared, mortified, petrified, etc.

  9. CeeBee says:

    What about compassion/empathy?

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