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How Do You FEEL Today?

In psychology, emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior. Emotionality is associated with a range of psychological phenomena, including temperament, personality, mood, and motivation. According to author David G. Myers, human emotion involves physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience.

During the 1970s, psychologist Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures. The emotions he identified were:

  • Happiness

A pleasant emotional state that elicits feelings of joy, contentment and satisfaction.

  • Sadness

An emotional state characterized by feelings of disappointment, grief or hopelessness.

  • Disgust

A strong emotion that results in the feeling of being repulsed.

  • Fear

A primal emotion that is important to survival and triggers a fight or flight response.

  • Surprise

A brief emotional state, either positive or negative, following something unexpected.

  • Anger

An emotional state leading to feelings of hostility and frustration.

The six basic emotions described by Paul Eckman are just a portion of the many different types of emotions that people are capable of experiencing. Eckman's theory suggests that these core emotions are universal throughout cultures all over the world.

However, other theories and new research continue to explore the many different types of emotions and how they are classified. Paul Eckman later added a number of other emotions to his list but suggested that unlike his original six emotions, not all of these would necessarily be encoded through facial expressions. Some of the emotions he later identified included embarrassment, excitement, guilt and shame.

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