Human Emotions Visualized

Despite significant diversity in the culture around the globe, humanity's DNA is 99.9 percent alike.

There are some characteristics more primary and typical to the human experience than our emotions. Of course, the large spectrum of emotions we can feel can be challenging to verbalize. That's where this splendid visualization by the Junto Institute comes in.

This visualization is the newest in an ongoing attempt to categorize the full range of emotions logically.

Human Emotions

Our knowledge has come a long route since William James suggested 4 primary emotions: fear, grief, love, and rage. These kernel emotions yet form much of the basis for current frameworks.

The Junto Institute's visualization above classifies 6 basic emotions: fear, anger, sadness, surprise, joy, love

More nuanced descriptions begin from these 6 primary emotions, such as jealousy as a subset of anger and awe-struck as a subset of surprise. As a result, there are 102 second-and third-order emotions placed on this emotion wheel.


The idea of mapping the spectrum of human emotions on a wheel picked up traction in the 1980s and has developed ever since.

One of these initial ideas was spawned by American psychologist Robert Plutchik, who outlined 8 primary emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. These "high survival value" emotions were assumed to be the most valuable in preserving our ancient ancestors alive.

Emotion wheel of Robert Plutchik

Dr. Gloria Willcox developed another unique graphic concept. This interpretation of the emotions wheel has produced dozens of similar designs as people continue improving the idea.

Gloria Willcox feelings wheel

The more we study human emotion, the more exact our knowledge becomes in how we react to the environment around us.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley used 2,185 short videos to extract emotions from research participants. Research participants evaluated the videos using 27 dimensions of self-reported emotional experience, and the results were visualized in an unbelievable interactive map. 

Human emotions

It is fascinating to see that some videos collected a broad array of responses, while other video clips evoke a near-unanimous emotional reaction.

The map groups these types of video clips unitedly, giving us a bizarre view of how humans react to certain kinds of stimuli.

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