Where’s the love?


In early 1980s, Robert Plutchik, an M.D., psychologist, and researcher, defined eight core emotions that everyone experiences. He grouped them into four pairs of polar opposites— joy-sadness, anger-fear, trust-distrust, surprise-anticipation.

In the 90’s, Paul Ekman, another psychologist specializing in emotions, reduced the number of core emotions to anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. He refined Plutnik’s concept of emotional intensity. In refining Plutnik’s concepts, he established a classification system based on measuring the 42 facial muscles, which we use to express those six core emotion.

More recently, new research from the University of Glasgow suggested there are only for core emotions—happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. Apparently, fear and surprise shared common facial signals, such as eyes wide open and others, indicating that they constitute one primary emotion, not two. Similarly, for anger and disgust, the researchers found that the nose initially wrinkles, implying anger and disgust are the same core emotion as well.

Meanwhile, Lance Drozda, founder of I-Am-Heart, an emotional support organization for young boys, spells out five basic emotions: joy, fear, anger, disgust and sadness in an article on his website www.iamheart.ca.

However, none of these researchers include love as a core emotion. In the chart at the top of the post, you can see subsets of emotions, and love doesn’t fall into any of them. So what happened to love?

So I went to the www.theanatomyoflove.com to find out why love isn’t an emotion recognized by the scientific mainstream. Here’s what I found.

“Love certainly feels like an emotion; an incredibly strong one. But in the scientific community, the conservative definition of an emotion is a facial expression.  Happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, surprise:  these and the other basic emotions can be seen easily on the face.  But drives (like hunger) are not linked with a specific facial expression.”

Grimace…Where’s the passion in these studies?

Let’s go back to an ancient times. The concept of “basic” or “primary” emotions dates back at least to the Book of Rites, a first-century Chinese encyclopedia that identifies seven ‘feelings of men’: joy, anger, sadness, fear, love, disliking, and liking.

Interesting that the Chinese from 2,000 years ago included most of the same emotions with one notable exception…the addition of love.

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4 Responses to Where’s the love?

  1. Dale Dassel says:

    I would say that love is an extreme aspect of joy and happiness, therefore the researchers didn’t create a separate category for it.

  2. Cheryl says:

    Love is not an emotion but an essence. It’s not something you have or something that you do. It is the substance of which we are made. Singularly or as a planetary consciousness, it is at the core of who and what we are.

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