A new study upended the long-held theory of humans only having a handful of different emotions by examining the responses of 800 men and 2,000 women. After watching emotional video clips—ranging from births and deaths to awkward handshakes and spiders—they reported how they felt. Researchers found participants reactions to be far more diverse than the stalwarts of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust.
"There are smooth gradients of emotion between, say, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration."
"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 senior study author Dacher Keltner in a press release. "There are smooth gradients of emotion between, say, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration."
If you're not exactly sure which emotion you're feeling, just know that they don't fit into a small box: You might be experiencing a variety of different things all at the same time, and that's totally normal. Luckily, there are plenty of great emojis to help let those feelings out.
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