What is the spectrum of negative emotions

Emotions classification

Emotions classification, depends crucially on the respective theoretical foundation:
a) Evolutionary biologists (Plutschik) lead to classification adaptive biological processe of coping with life that have developed in evolution and are genetically determined in today's human beings: fear, anger, disgust, grief, joy, surprise, expectation, trust. All other emotions are based on complexes or mixtures of such primary emotions.
b) The basis of the classification is Identifiability of clear references to action of emotions (Frijda): desire, happiness, interest, surprise, amazement, suffering.
c) Investigations for Recognize intercultural matching emotions About the facial expression (Ekman) have identified six basic emotions: fear, anger, disgust, sadness, joy, surprise.
d) Language analytical studies (Mees) come to 13 emotion classes:
- Positive relationship emotions (e.g. love), negative relationship emotions (e.g. hate),
- positive empathy emotions (e.g. with joy), negative empathy emotions (e.g. envy),
- positive evaluation emotions (e.g. satisfaction), negative evaluation emotions (e.g. grief),
- positive expectation emotions (e.g. hope), negative expectation emotions (e.g. fear),
- positive attribution emotions (e.g. gratitude), negative attribution emotions (e.g. anger),
- positive moral emotions (e.g. pride), negative internal moral emotions (e.g. guilt) and negative external moral emotions (e.g. anger).
We see some similarities here, but also major differences, which have led many emotion researchers to the thesis that no uniform catalog of basic emotions can be drawn up. So often only global dimensions are used to classify emotions, of which today are considered to be relatively certain: positive versus negative emotions (pleasure - displeasure) and versus calming down.


Meyer, W.-U., Sch├╝tzwohl, A. & Reisenzein, R. (1997). Introduction to Emotional Psychology. Volume II: Evolutionary Psychological Theories of Emotion. Bern: Huber.
Ulich, D. & Mayring, Ph. (1992). Psychology of emotions. Outline of Psychology Volume 5. Stuttgart, Kohlhammer.