How to find one's way in the midst of our Emotions?

(Based on Robert Plutchik's model)

Naming the emotions that we feel is a difficult exercise for most of us. During the 1980s, Robert Plutchik developed a model which was extremely simple to understand and easy to use. Here it is for your reference.

8 basic emotions:

According to Robert Plutchik, 8 basic emotions would have helped humans survive as part of the evolutionary process.


Robert Plutchik placed these 8 basic emotions on a wheel:


Each basic emotion faces its opposite emotion:

  • Joy – Sadness 
  • Trust – Disgust 
  •  Fear – Anger 
  • Surprise – Anticipation 

Emotions vary in intensity:

Robert Plutchik created a "wheel of emotions" to help us better visualize the variation in the intensity of emotions

  • In the center is the most intense emotion (for example, ecstasy)
  • Then, in the premier ring is the basic emotion (for example, joy)
  • Finally, on the periphery, is the least intense emotion (for example, the serenity)

Primary emotions can combine to create new emotions

Robert Plutchik defined 3 possible levels of combination:

  • The primary dyad (combining two basic emotions which are adjacent on the wheel)
  • The secondary dyad (combining basic neighboring emotions with a close emotion) 
  • The tertiary dyad (combining basic neighboring emotions with 2 close emotions)

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