The Basic Human Emotions

Emotions are part of being human. They make each day a new experience for everyone. It is not rare that emotions change within a day because every situation brings out a different emotion. This is why it is fairly easier for people to identify how they are feeling now than to give one emotion to describe their day. They laugh at jokes, feel nervous about first dates, cry during heartbreak, grieve when there is loss, shout out of anger, feel despair and disappointment, and smile at the sight of loved ones. These experiences and emotions makes people human.

While there are a hundred of emotions people can feel, a recent study from the University of Glasgow suggested that human emotions can be reduced to four: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. The researchers asked respondents to identify the emotions of computer-generated facial expressions. The respondents identified afraid and surprised, and angry and disgust as having similar expressions. Prior to this research, previous studies identified six human emotions, separating afraid from surprised, and anger from disgust.

Human emotions are generated through the coordination of the five senses and, as researchers have identified, a specific region of the brain. It is also a function of personal and social bias such as what people like, and what one perceives as right and wrong.

Happiness is the pleasant emotion everyone wants to feel at all times. It is the emotion that makes one smile, laugh, jump, and sometimes, shed tears of joy if the feeling is overwhelming. It is the emotion that energizes people. This emotion is processed in the medial orbitofrontal cortex.

Sadness is that emotion that makes one to cry and sulk at the corner of the room. It is processed in the limbic system, particularly the amygdala region. While this emotion is not very desirable, it is essential as it makes happiness sweeter, relatively.

Similar to sadness, fear and surprise are processed in the amygdala region. Fear and surprise are bound by the expressions of the same eyebrow movement and wide, open eyes. While fear and surprise are alike, there is a slight difference between the two. It can be said that fear is a longer-lasting emotion compared to surprise, which can last up to less than a minute only.

Like other unpleasant emotions, anger and disgust are processed in the brains amygdala or insula region. Anger and disgust share the expression of a wrinkled nose. Other expressions associated are eye rolls, frowning, and pursed lips.

Emotions may be expressed in several ways but, as a study suggest, they can be reduced to four basic types of emotions. They are essential, yet inconsistent. They change constantly, and one should welcome that because they make you feel alive. They make you human. Here is a list of a list of emotions .