What Are the 27 Basic Emotions? Effects on Physical Health

Medically Reviewed on 12/5/2022

List of emotions and feelings

There are several theories of emotion that define the many different types of emotions in various ways.
There are several different emotions.

There are several theories that define the types of emotions in various ways. Some theories say there are eight basic emotions, while others say there are more. The discrete emotion theory claims that there are 12 discrete emotions (as measured via the Differential Emotions Scale), whereas according to the latest research conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, 27 distinct categories of emotions have been identified. Thousands of individuals were studied, as well as their responses to different videos, music, and various situations were analyzed to determine the types of emotional categories that were truly distinct.

When people do not understand their emotions well and are clueless regarding the emotions of others, it can often lead to misunderstandings and affect relationships, personal or professional. A big part of management, leadership, sales, and navigating relationships is being able to understand how people feel and respond appropriately. Forming and maintaining friendships and relationships requires an understanding of oneself and the other person to maintain harmony. Hence, professional and personal interactions would be a lot easier if people were aware of the different emotions. The 27 different emotions include...

  • Admiration
  • Adoration
  • Aesthetic appreciation
  • Amusement
  • Anxiety
  • Awe
  • Awkwardness
  • Boredom
  • Calmness
  • Confusion
  • Craving
  • Disgust
  • Empathetic pain
  • Entrancement
  • Envy
  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Horror
  • Interest
  • Joy
  • Nostalgia
  • Romance
  • Sadness
  • Satisfaction
  • Sexual desire
  • Sympathy
  • Triumph

What are the other theories of emotion?

Discrete emotion theory

This theory states that certain specific core emotions are biologically determined. These emotional responses are fundamentally the same for all individuals irrespective of ethnicity or cultural differences. Various parts of the brain can trigger different emotions. For example, the amygdala is the center of fear and maternal bonding. The amygdala senses fear resulting in certain physical actions and emotions. Research has shown that deaf and blind individuals also show typical facial expressions for these same core emotions.

The 12 emotions according to the discrete emotion theory include:

  1. Interest
  2. Joy
  3. Surprise
  4. Sadness
  5. Anger
  6. Disgust
  7. Contempt
  8. Self-hostility
  9. Fear
  10. Shame
  11. Shyness
  12. Guilt

Robert Plutchik’s theory

This theory claims that there are eight basic emotions:

  1. Fear
  2. Sadness
  3. Anger
  4. Joy
  5. Surprise
  6. Disgust
  7. Anticipation
  8. Trust

Book two of Aristotle's theory

According to this Aristotle's theory, there are 9 emotions, which include:

  1. Anger
  2. Friendship
  3. Fear
  4. Shame
  5. Kindness
  6. Pity
  7. Indignation (feeling of anger when something is unfair)
  8. Envy
  9. Love

Charles Darwin theory

The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin claims there are around 34 emotions, which are still used as a source.

  1. Joy
  2. Love
  3. Devotion
  4. Tender feelings
  5. Suffering
  6. Weeping
  7. High spirits
  8. Low spirits
  9. Anxiety
  10. Grief
  11. Dejection
  12. Despair
  13. Anger
  14. Hatred
  15. Disdain
  16. Contempt
  17. Disgust
  18. Guilt
  19. Pride
  20. Helplessness
  21. Patience
  22. Affirmation
  23. Negation
  24. Surprise
  25. Fear
  26. Self-attention
  27. Shyness
  28. Modesty
  29. Blushing
  30. Reflection
  31. Mediation
  32. Ill-temper
  33. Sulkiness
  34. Determination


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What are the effects of emotions on physical health?

effects of emotions on health
Emotions can have a huge effect not only on your mental state but also on your bodily health.

Your mind and body are deeply connected. Emotions can therefore have a huge effect not only on your mental state but also on your bodily health. Understanding how powerful your emotions are can help you manage them effectively.

Everyone processes emotions differently, and the effect they have on you depends on the following factors:

  • Type of event
  • Your past experiences
  • Your current state of mind
  • Your expectations

Below are five emotions on how they can affect your physical health:

1. Happiness

Happiness and good health go hand in hand, making our hearts healthier, immune systems stronger, and lives longer. Happiness also helps us overcome stress, which is the culprit of many diseases.

2. Sadness

In severe cases, sadness can lead to depression, which can weaken the immune system and give rise to other illnesses. Depression can cause insomnia, memory problems, and impaired decision-making. Combined with stress, depression can also increase your risk of heart problems.

3. Anger

Anger is associated with resentment and irritability and can cause anything from a headache and insomnia to digestion problems, skin problems, a heart attack, or even a stroke. Anger can also worsen generalized anxiety disorder as it can cause you to hold onto unhealthy thought patterns.

4. Fear

When you are frightened, blood can drain from your face, which is the result of your autonomic nervous system. Fear can cause our blood vessels to send more blood to our extremities in preparation for a flight or fight response.

5. Disgust

Disgust is one of the most difficult emotions to control. Unlike fear and anger, which can increase your rate, disgust can slow down your heart rate. It can even cause nausea and other digestive issues. 

Why is managing emotions important?

Being aware of your emotions and how they affect you can help you find ways to cope with distressing things that are a normal part of life. In addition to helping you improve your relationships with others, controlling your emotions can also help you avoid mental health issues such as anxiety and depression or self-harm.

We all have valuable internal resources to call upon, but sometimes despite our best efforts, we may need the help of an understanding counselor. If necessary, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional therapist. They may be able to recommend therapies and medications that can help you calm negative thoughts and allow you to talk through emotional distress.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/5/2022
Johnson, G. "Theories of Emotion." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. <https://iep.utm.edu/emotion/>.

Wei, M. "There Are 27 Different Emotions, New Study Suggests." Psychology Today. Sept. 11, 2017. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201709/there-are-27-different-emotions-new-study-suggests>.