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Question: does anyone know of or could anyone point me in the direction of a fairly comprehensive list and definition of human emotions in the context of cognitive psychology?

I have a partial list, but I am finding it surprisingly difficult to find good definitions for a wide range of human emotions. The dictionary is proving to be somewhat worthless at times as it defines emotions as a set of other emotions (i.e. "anger" is defined as - a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire." instead of "an evaluation or belief that an injustice has taken place, that somebody has done something wrong or unfair when it was under his power to do otherwise"). Perhaps I am looking subtle differences between, for example, "irritation" and "anger" and "hatred".

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I already have good ones for:

Anger

Disappointment

Frustration

Panic

Inadequacy

Confidence

Guilt

Pride

Lonely

Bored

Jealousy

Envy

Anxiety

Happy

Sad

Confusion

Cynical

Pessimistic

Optimistic

Thank you for any help :lol:

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Question: does anyone know of or could anyone point me in the direction of a fairly comprehensive list and definition of human emotions in the context of cognitive psychology?

I have a partial list, but I am finding it surprisingly difficult to find good definitions for a wide range of human emotions. The dictionary is proving to be somewhat worthless at times as it defines emotions as a set of other emotions (i.e. "anger" is defined as - a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire." instead of "an evaluation or belief that an injustice has taken place, that somebody has done something wrong or unfair when it was under his power to do otherwise"). Perhaps I am looking subtle differences between, for example, "irritation" and "anger" and "hatred".

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An emotion is more than just an intellectual conclusion, it is more than an "evaluation or belief". An emotion is an inner state of experience based upon evaluations, judgments, facts, context, etc. So, as Grames points out, there is no way to get around defining emotions in terms of the experience and not the intellectual activity. The emotion is an automatic response to evaluations not the evaluations themselves.

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I think where Grames is correct is in saying that if you were to say "this is what I mean by anger", it would be difficult because you have to be able to "point" to it saying "here, this is anger".

I was hoping my example of what I meant by "definition" would have cleared up any confusion, but it did not. And, they can be defined in the way I did, otherwise introspection would be impossible. So, let me rephrase, because apparently I did not communicate my idea clearly enough. Emotions are automatized thoughts. I'm looking for the ideas underlying a wide range of emotions. I have some, but want to know if anyone can help me out with more complex emotions not listed.

Any help would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Thanks Hairnet. I think though that what I'm finding there is the same issue I'm having with the dictionary.

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Emotions are automatized thoughts.

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This is not correct. Emotions are not thoughts. They are physiological and psychological experiences, actions of consciousness, that involve evaluations of reality within the context of values.

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  • 2 weeks later...
This is not correct. Emotions are not thoughts. They are physiological and psychological experiences, actions of consciousness, that involve evaluations of reality within the context of values.

I said emotions are automatized thoughts. You are not really providing any clarity to the definition, though what you are saying is still true. Finish your sentence...evaluations of reality based on what? ....on thoughts. Or, if you prefer, on ideas. If they weren't automatized thoughts, then one could not introspect and one could not solve emotional problems because one would have nothing to introspect about.

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I said emotions are automatized thoughts. You are not really providing any clarity to the definition, though what you are saying is still true. Finish your sentence...evaluations of reality based on what? ....on thoughts. Or, if you prefer, on ideas. If they weren't automatized thoughts, then one could not introspect and one could not solve emotional problems because one would have nothing to introspect about.

If I hold they are not thoughts, then they are certainly not automatized thoughts. Not sure what you're not clear about if you agree what I said is true. I did finish the sentence: "within the context of values."

Are you implying that the only thing that one can introspect are thoughts?

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A thought is a concept as grasped by a human mind.
A concept is, among other things, always a word. A proposition such as "This sandwich smells like fish" is not a concept, but it is a thought.

In addition, very many conclusions (propositions) are indeed automated calculations. You have to be careful in using the word "automatic", because it can be used to refer to lightning-fast calculations (your knowledge of how to drive to work, for example) or it can be unavoidable physical reactions, such as the knee-jerk reflex. Emotions are not unavoidable physical reactions. They are automated, in the same way that grasp of driving facts is automated.

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How do you justify this conclusion? What are the essential, defining properties of a "thought" as opposed to any other unit pertaining to consciousness?

I don't grasp your context here. Do you just want a dictionary definition? Are you implying that if something occurs in consciousness then all things occurring in consciousness are identical and can't be distinguished? If emotion is a thought, then is thought an an emotion? Are you implying any denial of differences between what goes on in consciousness when different processes are identified by different concepts? Or are you simply asking for a distinction between what occurs in consciousness when one forms the concepts of thought and of emotion? How are the concepts formed? Or do you want to know what is different about the experiences between emotion and thought?

See "Thought" vs. "Emotion" in ITOE, Appendix if you want to know my understanding of the differences.

Edited by A is A
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What way is proper to describe pleasure and pain?

Nausea?

Euphoria?

Distress?

For example, the feeling of euphoria may not be properly an emotion if it refers to the sensation resulting from the release of dopamine in the brain. While conceptual constructions might trigger the response, the sensation itself seems like it's a perceptual phenomenon.

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For example, the feeling of euphoria may not be properly an emotion if it refers to the sensation resulting from the release of dopamine in the brain. While conceptual constructions might trigger the response, the sensation itself seems like it's a perceptual phenomenon.
I agree that it is similar to perception (interoception) , which is why there are different concepts for emotions and thoughts. So I disagree that emotions are automatized thoughts, but they can be caused by automatized thoughts.
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For example, the feeling of euphoria may not be properly an emotion if it refers to the sensation resulting from the release of dopamine in the brain. While conceptual constructions might trigger the response, the sensation itself seems like it's a perceptual phenomenon.

But I wouldn't describe something as an emotion if one is only referring the chemical reactions occurring within the body. When one experiences emotions, one does not experience the chemical reactions. As far as describing pleasure and pain, there is no need to understand the chemical reactions in order to be able to distinguish the experiences. Pleasure and pain are the two basic psychological experiences that are used to incorporate other emotional experiences and descriptions.

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  • 2 weeks later...
But I wouldn't describe something as an emotion if one is only referring the chemical reactions occurring within the body. When one experiences emotions, one does not experience the chemical reactions. As far as describing pleasure and pain, there is no need to understand the chemical reactions in order to be able to distinguish the experiences. Pleasure and pain are the two basic psychological experiences that are used to incorporate other emotional experiences and descriptions.

It might be helpful to read some of the work done by Objectivist psychologists, like Dr Hurd, or Dr. Kenner. They seem to have a good explanation as to why emotions represent automatized thoughts. Not thoughts directly, but thoughts that have been automatized (in their verbiage).

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It might be helpful to read some of the work done by Objectivist psychologists, like Dr Hurd, or Dr. Kenner. They seem to have a good explanation as to why emotions represent automatized thoughts. Not thoughts directly, but thoughts that have been automatized (in their verbiage).

I did not say they didn't represent automatized thoughts, I said emotions are not automatized thoughts. But I wouldn't say they represent thoughts either. That is not very precise. One could say that books represent thoughts, paintings represent thoughts, etc. Emotions are experienced differently than thoughts, both physically and psychologically. When my father died, I did not think "Oh, my father died, how sad. Back to school I go." I experienced as extreme loss and pain that affected me physically throughout my body. I don't know about you, but thinking for me occurs in my mind only.

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It might be helpful to read some of the work done by Objectivist psychologists, like Dr Hurd, or Dr. Kenner. They seem to have a good explanation as to why emotions represent automatized thoughts. Not thoughts directly, but thoughts that have been automatized (in their verbiage).

Any links or citations?

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  • 1 month later...

The original post asked both for an exhaustive list of different emotions, and their definitions. He later said he wanted to identify the underlying thoughts corresponding to different emotions.

Emotion is not thought. Even if it is a reaction to a thought, it is not a thought! Even if an emotion may be expressed in a thought, it isn't a thought. It is chiefly a bodily state of arousal or depression, which most simply leads to action. Without emotion, we would remain passive. Emotions are what translates thought, knowledge, values, etc., into actual bodily action. (Notice the etymology--e "motion?")

People have emotions, and animals (most, if not all) have emotions. They are fundamentally the same mechanism in all animals. They turn knowledge, in whatever form, into action that is structured by that knowledge. Without emotion, learning and knowledge would be idle and useless.

Fundamentally, there are two emotions: stop and go. Arousal and depressiion. They are what sets up the "fight-or-flight" response and what keeps a cheetah from running itself to death in pursuit of dinner. If you want to say "fight-or-flight" is two emotions, I wouldn't complain, but that second discrimination requires additional information.

Man, with his intellectual complexity, has refined, and thus multiplied responses, and correspondingly multiplied discriminable emotions. You might begin your search (which by now may be long finished, I realize) by listing each emotion you know of under the category of stop or go, then, make two categories under go: flight or fight, and see what you get. Why, exactly, do you want a list? Perhaps there is a more efficient way to approach your goal.

Mindy

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