January 28, 2010

6 Basic Emotions??

I want to draw your attention to this intersting article in New Scientist. It says "joy, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and disgust" are the 6 basic emotions that have characteristic facial expressions expressed the world over. But very interestingly, it lists 5 other emotions that vie for their place beside these Big 6, so to speak. These are elevation, interest, gratitude, pride and confusion.. But can't we recognise these 5 emotions when expressed? I can, for sure, identify these, in people. The article describes each of these five in some details.

Elevation: In the midst of last year's economic turmoil President Barack Obama's inauguration speech was powerful, inspiring stuff. Some of his supporters, hanging on his every word, will have had tears in their eyes, a tingling sensation on the back of their necks and a warm feeling in their chest as though it was opening up to let love and hope flood out. This feeling is what Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, has labelled "elevation".Then the article very interestingly says, 'elevation' particularly, has been documented in people from Japan, India, the US and the Palestinian territories!! I wonder why?? I personally have felt this feeling each time I see my Guru, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Interest: Your head tilts to one side, your speech quickens and the muscles in your forehead and around your eyes contract as you become engrossed in mastering a bassoon sonata, understanding the thermodynamics of the universe, or perhaps just browsing your stamp collection.

Gratitude: Sara Algoe of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that gratitude makes cohabiting couples feel more connected.The grateful feeling is a signal that we should get to know them better as they are the ones likely to be there for us in the future. So, once you are in a romantic relationship, feelings of gratitude serve as a little reminder of how great your partner is.

Pride: The conceited, arrogant feeling of pride has been called the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. Yet pride can also be noble. We all know the contented sense of achievement and self-worth that comes with having done well at something, whether it be achieving a promotion, building something, winning a race or figuring out a cryptic crossword clue.

Confusion: It's a feeling we have all experienced, whether in a lecture theatre, an art gallery or wandering around an unfamiliar city, but confusion is tricky to describe. Dacher Keltner at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that it is the "feeling that the environment is giving insufficient or contradictory information".

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