On the Number of Emotions

A new study has come out that suggests that there 27 distinct emotions, a significantly higher number than the generally accepted six basic emotions. I suppose that that it could be argued that there are a few primary emotions, with the others being derived from mixtures of them, but the study is clearly arguing that these are distinct emotions. But I still find it lacking.

A few years ago a counselor handed me a document that listed about 10 different emotions. I found the list incomplete, simply based on my own experience of feeling awe, something not listed in that document (but contained within this new study). I mentioned this gap to another counselor who was unfamiliar with the document’s work. He told me that I was being arrogant to think that I knew more about emotional psychology than the professor who wrote the document. Of course, he was the one dismissing my emotional experience.

It’s a small thing, but I still feel resent about it years later. And of course, that is another emotion not listed in this new study.