From Berkeley News:
The Emoji Movie, in which the protagonist can’t help but express a wide variety of emotions instead of the one assigned to him, may have gotten something right. A new UC Berkeley study challenges a long-held assumption in psychology that most human emotions fall within the universal categories of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and disgust.
Using novel statistical models to analyze the responses of more than 800 men and women to over 2,000 emotionally evocative video clips, UC Berkeley researchers identified 27 distinct categories of emotion and created a multidimensional, interactive map to show how they’re connected.
. . . .
“We found that 27 distinct dimensions, not six, were necessary to account for the way hundreds of people reliably reported feeling in response to each video,” said study senior author Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychology professor and expert on the science of emotions.
Moreover, in contrast to the notion that each emotional state is an island, the study found that “there are smooth gradients of emotion between, say, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration,” Keltner said.
“We don’t get finite clusters of emotions in the map because everything is interconnected,” said study lead author Alan Cowen, a doctoral student in neuroscience at UC Berkeley. “Emotional experiences are so much richer and more nuanced than previously thought.”
“Our hope is that our findings will help other scientists and engineers more precisely capture the emotional states that underlie moods, brain activity and expressive signals, leading to improved psychiatric treatments, an understanding of the brain basis of emotion and technology responsive to our emotional needs,” he added.
. . . .
Themes from the 2,185 video clips — collected from various online sources for the study — included births and babies, weddings and proposals, death and suffering, spiders and snakes, physical pratfalls and risky stunts, sexual acts, natural disasters, wondrous nature and awkward handshakes.
Three separate groups of study participants watched sequences of videos, and, after viewing each clip, completed a reporting task. The first group freely reported their emotional responses to each of 30 video clips.
“Their responses reflected a rich and nuanced array of emotional states, ranging from nostalgia to feeling ‘grossed out,’” Cowen said.
. . . .
“We sought to shed light on the full palette of emotions that color our inner world,” Cowen said.
Link to the rest at Berkeley News
You can play with the emotions map described in the OP at the link. It’s not immediately intuitive (at least for PG), but if you over your cursor over the numerous little letters in the center, you’ll see one of the 2,185 videos used in the study. At the top left of the map, you’ll see the combination of emotions that the video induced in study participants.
PG says this may permit authors to break away from old emotions for their characters and use brand new emotions.
Authors have managed to do quite a bit with happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and disgust without (in PG’s emotionally humble opinion) exhausting all the possibilities.