Which feelings are emotions?


We use the word 'emotions' a lot, but it's not always clear which feelings we mean by that.

Someone sent me a link to the Atlas of Emotions. I found it interesting that this nice website shows a kind of map of emotions, with 5 main emotions and all kinds of properties of them. It is based on a survey among emotion scientists, about what they believe that the universally recognized emotions are.

Different ideas about what the emotions are

People, and also scientists, have in fact different ideas about what they are. In the Atlas, the fundamental emotions are: anger, disgust, fear, sadness and enjoyment. One could say that for example shame, pride, surprise or gratitude are also emotions, and they seem pretty universal, but apparently, opinions differ more on these.

Personally, I don't make a clear distinction as to what emotions are, and what not. I tend to think that feelings like weakness and strength, humiliation and superiority, frustration and enthusiasm are not emotions. Would I be asked to name some emotions, I'd probably say anger, fear and sadness. But I'm perfectly fine with calling other feelings emotions too.

Usefullness of the Atlas of Emotions

The Atlas can be useful to give you more insight in how various feelings, actions and other aspects of your experience are connected with emotions. This insight could help you recognize more of what is happening in your inner self.

The Atlas of Emotions was made by Paul Ekman, who is a psychology scientist. He is mainly known for his research work on facial expressions and lying. He made the Atlas after being inspired by conversations with the Dalai Lama.