All of us have experienced emotion when our heart beats fast, our palms eat, and our stomach churns. When one is in love with another, she/he experiences varieties of emotions.

Our body, mind, facial grimace or smile play significant role in understanding and experiencing emotions. Do we not experience love, fear, anger, awe, compassion, happiness and anxiety at times? The English vocabulary consists of as many as 200 words for emotion. However we exercise considerable control over emotional states.

Robert Plutchik (1980) has classified human emotions into four types: (i) notions are either positive or negative, (2) they are primary or mixed, (3) emotions are quite opposite, and (4) they vary in intensity. Plutchik’s classification has been put in a wheel of emotion given in Figure 7.6.

It is believed that opposite emotions cannot be experienced simultaneously. For example, happiness, disgust, sadness, anger and fear etc. are considered as primary emotions by Plutchik. Anger and fear a negative emotion. Positive emotions give us pleasure, facilitate our se esteem and improve our relationships with others. The negative emotions low our self-esteem, and lowers quality of relationship with others.


Love and remorse, optimism and disappointment are opposite emotions. We have discussed in the beginning of this chapter about Titchener’s three-dimensional nature of feelings, i.e. pleasant and unpleasant, tense or relaxed, excited or depressed are polar opposites.

J.B. Watson in his experimental studies of Albert, an eleven-month-old child found that, love, fear and anger are the basic emotions. Other emotions are, Watson said, combinations of these basic emotions. Plutchik too believes that emotions are like colors. All colors can be produced by mixing the primary colors. In a similar way, some primary emotions when mixed together form all other emotions. When any emotion is associated with people, place, objects, and even dates, this leads to conditioned emotion, where a neutral stimulus gives rise to conditioned response of emotion.


I. Love II. Fear III. Anger IV. Joy V. Jealousy