Awareness Health

Know About 6 Types of Emotions, And How They Affect Human Behavior

Meaning and Definition of Emotions:

Emotions can be stated as reactions consisting of subjective cognitive states, physiological reactions and expressive behaviours. An emotion is a complex reaction pattern in response to a stimulus and it has experimental, behavioural, and physiological elements in it. Emotions can also be stated as intense feeling that is developed toward something or someone. 

Elements of Emotions

  • Subjective Response: According to research it has been found that emotions are subjective in nature and individual differences between people play an important role in determining the emotional response of an individual. Even though everyone experiences emotions around the globe irrespective of their individual differences still there is a difference in which people express those emotions. Even the range of emotions is highly subjective and can range from mild to severe.
  • Physiological Response: This refers to how our body responds to emotions. This includes an increase in heartbeat, increase in blood pressure, increase in breathing etc. Major of the changes that happen in our body when we feel a type of emotion is a result of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is a part of the autonomic nervous system.

          Now, these physiological responses can be of two types:

  1. External Changes: These are those physiological changes that are visible outside the body. This includes a change in facial expression, movement of hands and legs, stiffness of voice and change in voice tone etc.
  2. Internal Changes: These are these changes that are not visible from outside the body but are taking place inside one’s body. These include increased blood flow, increase in blood pressure, increase in the rate of respiration etc.
  • Behavioural Response: This refers to the expression of one’s emotions. Research studies suggest that the expression of many emotions is universal for example passing a smile to show happiness towards someone. Social and cultural norms also influence our way of expressing emotions.

Theory of Emotions

  • Cannon-Bard Theory: Emotion-provoking events produce subjective experience and this subjective experience is termed emotions. These emotions accompany physiological reactions with them.
  • James Lange Theory: According to this it is the physiological reactions that happen inside our body which give rise to subjective experiences termed emotions.
  • Schacter Singer Theory: Emotion-provoking events produce arousal in our body and in response to that we search the external environment around us in order to find the cause behind the emotion-provoking event and on the basis of the findings we determine the label we place our arousal and the emotion we experienced.
  • Opponent Process Theory of Emotions: The emotional responses to a stimulus produce an opposite reaction and when there is repeated exposure to the stimulus then emotional responses get weakened and the opposite reactions increase.

Six Basic Emotions and their Effect on Human Behaviour:

1) Happiness: Happiness can be defined as an emotional state which consists of positive emotions. It can also be defined as a state of emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.


  • Provides an optimistic view.
  • Provides hope and meaning in life.
  • Reduces negative emotions.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Improves the body’s immune system.
  • Reduces the risk of developing various mental and physical disorders.
  • Provides emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

2) Sadness: Sadness can be defined as an emotional state of negative emotions. It can range from mild to severe. It often occurs due to the loss of something valuable.


  • Feeling of grief
  • Feel hopeless and have no purpose in life.
  • Increases the chance of developing a mental or physical disorder.
  • Increases stress and anxiety.
  • Increases the chance of developing depression.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Increases the chance of substance abuse.

3) Fear: Fear can be defined as an emotional state which alerts an individual to the presence of a possible threat, harm or danger which may be of physical or psychological nature.


  • Activation of fight or flight response.
  • Activation of the survival mechanism.
  • Increase in heartbeat and breathing.
  • Increase sweating.
  • Activation of the SAM and HPA system.
  • Increase in blood pressure and cardiac activity.
  • Chest pain and upset stomach.
  • Sudden outburst in energy level.

4) Disgust: Disgust can be defined as an emotional state that represents a strong feeling of aversion. This feeling of aversion can be for anything like a taste, a smell, a person, or a particular behavior.


  • Avoidance of toxic substances.
  • Activation of the disease avoidance mechanism.
  • Increase in heartbeat and respiration.
  • Feeling displeasure from various things.
  • Getting away from things in order to avoid them.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

5) Anger: Anger can be defined as an emotional state that arises in response to something wrong that has happened. It can also be stated as a feeling of hate towards someone or something that arises when we feel something deliberately has gone wrong.


  • Unpleasant feeling.
  • Increasing cardiac activity and blood pressure.
  • Increase in breathing.
  • Face turning red.
  • Frowning looks on their face.
  • Activation of the fight or flight response.
  • Decision-making capabilities are being affected.

6) Surprise: Surprise can be stated as an emotional state that arises when we encounter something or someone very sudden and which is not predictable from earlier.


  • Reaction to an unpredicted stimulus.
  • Activation of one’s consciousness state, attention, and curiosity.
  • Physical freezing for a very short duration of time.
  • Widening of eyes, change in facial expression.
  • Decrease in cardiac activity.
  • Deeper and long breathes.


We experience a wide variety of emotions. There are various theories that define the origin of emotions and how emotions differ from person to person, how cultural and social factors influence one’s emotions. However, the important thing is that we should have control over our emotions and should be knowing how to control, maintain and regulate our emotions in order to have emotional homeostasis. 

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