Understanding Emotions Worksheet
Many people find it hard to label their emotional states or reactions. This information handout categorises basic, secondary, and tertiary emotions. It can be used as a therapy tool to aid emotional understanding and expression.
Theorists have developed multiple methods for categorising emotions. Ortony & Turner (1990) compared the ‘basic’ emotions proposed by different theories (below). Shaver et al (2001) used data from a similarity rating task to perform a cluster analyis, the results of which form the basis for this worksheet. Shaver et al’s analysis identifies six ‘basic’ emotions, and organises secondary and tertiary emotions in a hierarchical structure.
|Arnold (1960)||Anger, aversion, courage, dejection, desire, despair, fear, hate, hope, love, sadness|
|Ekman, Friesen, Ellsworth (1982)||Anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise|
|Frijda (1986)||Desire, happiness, interest, surprise, wonder, sorrow|
|Gray (1982)||Rage and terror, anxiety, joy|
|Izard (1971)||Anger, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, guilt, interest, joy, shame, surprise|
|James (1884)||Fear, grief, love, rage|
|McDougall (1926)||Anger, disgust, elation, fear, subjection, tender-emotion, wonder|
|Mowrer (1960)||Pain, pleasure|
|Oakley, Johnson-Laird (1987)||Anger, disgust, anxiety, happiness, sadness|
|Panksepp (1982)||Expectancy, fear, rage, panic|
|Plutchik (1980)||Acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness, surprise|
|Tomkins (1984)||Anger, interest, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, joy, shame, surprise|
|Watson (1930)||Fear, love, rage|
|Weiner, Graham (1984)||Happiness, sadness|
This is a Psychology Tools information handout. Suggested uses include:
- Client handout – use as a psychoeducation resource
- Discussion point – use to provoke a discussion and explore client beliefs
- Therapist learning tool – improve your familiarity with a psychological construct
- Teaching resource – use as a learning tool during training
- Ortony, A., & Turner, T. J. (1990). What’s basic about basic emotions? Psychological Review, 97, 315-331.
- Shaver, P., Schwartz, J., Kirson, D., & O’connor, C. (1987). Emotion knowledge: Further exploration of a prototype approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(6), 1061.