Humans have 27 distinct emotional states, study finds

BERKELEY, Calif. — Human emotions may not be as plentiful as the hundreds of emojis we use on social media, but they’re still more complex than previously believed. A new study examining the various ways that we express ourselves determined that humans display 27 distinct emotional states.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley recruited a diverse sample of 853 men and women to watch short five-to-ten second long video clips meant to evoke a range of reactions, hoping to measure the true spectrum of human emotions.

Human emotions may not be as plentiful as the hundreds of emojis we use on social media, but they’re still more complex than previously believed.

The study’s experimental component, which incorporated nearly 2,200 silent clips, split participants into one of three groups.

One group disclosed their unfiltered emotional reactions to 30 clips they viewed to the researchers, allowing for raw documentation.

“Their responses reflected a rich and nuanced array of emotional states, ranging from nostalgia to feeling ‘grossed out,’” says lead author Alan Cowen, a doctoral student in neuroscience, in a university news release.

A second group ranked each video in terms of the various emotional reactions it lent, ranging from anger to sexual desire. Most participants in this group gave each video similar marks when it came to the types of emotions it evoked.

A third group had participants evaluate the emotional content of a given video based on a sliding scale (e.g., how negative or positive a video was, or how exciting or boring it was).

Regardless of the group in which one was placed, nearly all participants reacted in a similar manner to any given video. Furthermore, the researchers were able to use this data to determine that humans have 27 distinct categories of emotion.

This finding is rather groundbreaking, considering how previous research had only identified six significant emotional states.

“There are smooth gradients of emotion between, say, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration,” notes senior author Dacher Keltner. “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.”

The research team hopes the new findings can be utilized by other scientists or doctors for further research and innovations in neuroscience.

“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,” says Cowen.

The team released an interactive map of the emotional states that each video used in the study elicited from participants that led them to their finding. Each of the 27 states corresponds to a color on the map.

The study’s findings were published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


  1. Makes sense. How many genders are we up to now? Around 83 and counting, I think, all with their own set of pronouns, the wrong usage of which, even accidentally, will get you attacked and demonized.

    1. When we venture into space the aliens we encounter will complain we used up all the different genders for one freaking planet. Then they will complain about our narcissistic attitude on using them up for two different sexes.

        1. Is that a more sophisticated version of “I know you are but what am I”?

          I’m afraid the overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise. I’ve rarely tuned into the news to see “right wing cranks” shutting down free speech events on college campuses, “right wing cranks” don’t demand the government ban left wing news agencies, they rarely boycott left wing businesses. There are exceptions, of course, we are all human but the crushing preponderance of evidence proves the “outrage” movement is purely a leftist contrivance. And rightfully so, when your ideology is based purely on surface level “diversity”, strawman arguments and ad -hominem attacks, your only remaining appeal is “outrage” hoping the elevated level of phony emotion somehow outweighs the oppositional position.

          1. No, right wing cranks are the guys that go apoplectic over “political correctness” i.e. polite manners to the point that they consider anyone with manners to be “social justice warriors.” They freak out that someone might claim white privilege exists. They lose their **** over the very idea that they might be expected to not discriminate against their customers.

            You know. Those guys.

          2. Oh yeah, and the guys that think “taxes are theft.” You gotta love those guys. As if “taxation WITH representation” isn’t a thing.

          3. It IS theft when those who keep taking from the working class (of which it’s apparent you are not) do so indiscriminately and without consideration. They see us as their never-ending piggy banks (again, I know you can’t relate because you’re very obviously a teat sucker and not a worker bee) and just take whatever they want. Yes, much of our taxation is theft.

          4. That makes sense that you could think that I don’t work based on, as usual, no actual evidence. Typical conservative.

          5. What a pathetic self-indulgent delusional you are. Grow up, darling. Your excuses are juvenile.

          6. Be honest. Political Correctness refers to the quasi-totalitarian insistence on a single ideological opinion, and it’s reflection in the use of language.

          7. Omg, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I can’t take ANY post seriously that touts political correctness (aka fascist bullying) and social justice warriors (who are nothing but whiny crybabies). These people you act as if hold the moral high ground completely lose their collective **** if they hear anything that opposes their rainbow bubble ideology. Don’t believe me? Photos are EVERYWHERE. Those weren’t CONSERVATIVES blowing snot bubbles or rampaging across campuses at the horror of having a conservative speaker in their vicinity. Seriously, jhoger, you need to cash that reality check you’ve been holding onto.

          8. Great post, beautifully put. Why don’t liberals have any intellectual curiosity? Why are they just hidebound racist thugs who hate all successful white people?

          9. “Why don’t liberals have any intellectual curiosity?”

            I suppose that’s why liberals dominate at university.

            Man, you people are messed up.

          10. She wasn’t referring to a choice of profession, but rather a broad characteristic, or lack thereof, of questioning the party line. Not that RINOs and the reactionary wing of the Republicrats is any different. We need to ditch both parties, in favor of new ones. The corruption goes too deep in both.

          11. ACTUAL SCIENCE: There are TWO genders, and they are not changeable, fluid, or trans anything.
            FAKE SCIENCE: Omg, man is making the skies fall and the oceans rise!!!

          12. If you generate a lot more carbon dioxide and methane than gets broken down what effect does that have?

            Turns out we know and you would rather cling to ideology than believe it.

            And you’re such a small person you cannot admit your error.

          13. Sorry, YOURS is the ideology. Mine is actual science. But hey, thanks for playing, snowflake.

          14. No, I mean blindly accepting “junk science” as religious dogma and refusing to investigate further. If we had always behaved like the GW adherents the earth would still be flat.

          15. University is the yardstick by which you measure dominance? HAHAHAHA!! Omg, that’s hilarious.

          16. Oooohhh, Pouncekitty, the ALSO hate successful black people who stray from the leftist plantation. I truly believe they hate them WORSE than Jesus and traditional family values.

        2. No. Wrong, genius. The right wing has been incredibly tolerant of you immature jerks and violent thugs on the Left. But our patience might be running out, just like your parents. Liberals wake up every day angry, violent and extremely depressed. Take a pill, troll!

          1. “violent thugs on the Left.”

            Hilariously wrong.

            For all we know those guys in black masks are anarchists or your right wingers.

            “Liberals wake up every day angry, violent and extremely depressed.”

            Just read your own post. You’re mad, bro. Eventually it will destroy your health and you’ll only have your own broken understanding of reality to blame.

            Try skipping the propaganda outlets and getting some information from trustworthy sources.

          2. You delude yourself very well. Read your own Left hate propaganda and grow up. Don’t you have some cars to burn and windows to smash? Right wingers indeed! You have a sick fantasy life, dear. These terrorists ate YOUR people.

          3. “Read your own Left hate propaganda and grow up”

            Clearly you read more “left hate” than I do. Or most anyone on the left does. That’s the point! Do you ever worry that the crazy stuff you read is manufactured by your own spindoctors, distorted by misleading commentary or that it’s the 1% crackpots. We have them.

            Better than the right, where crackpotism, particularly online is a defining characteristic.

          4. You seem obsessed with “manufactured spindoctors,” but sit there blissfully immune to the biggest liars on TV, CNN! The networks are nearly as bad. Wall to wall Trump hate propaganda and one fake story after another. What happened to “Russian collusion?” Maybe they found out too much about Hillary selling our uranium to the Russians, which was REAL NEWS! Look, J Hog, you’re a delusional lib in a safe space of lies. I block nutjobs like you. Get lost. Live in your hate-Trump world and let the cancer eat you!

          5. I don’t get my news from my one source. And CNN? Not comparable in ANY way to the right wing bs machine. They have you all wound up ready to believe the craziest nonsense imaginable.

          6. More self-delusion. CNN is fake news. Fox is real news. You just can’t handle the truth, that’s all. Blocked. Stop spewing your silly propaganda. Makes you look weak and stupid.

          7. You watch faux news? Pure propaganda! Well I guess shep smith still there so not 100% pure. Back to fox and friends.

          8. “For all we know those guys in black masks are anarchists or your right wingers.”

            Shows you don’t know ****.

      1. This is NOT the first time that EMOTIONS have been studied. The Natyasastra of circa 5th BC gives detailed analysis of emotions, not just 9 or 27 a lot more of it from all aspects of physiological and psychological levels. It is just unbelievable that the Western Neuroscience researchers are ignorant of this vast documented Indian Knowledge System! IT is a shame, really, b’cos it is all in the internet too!!!

  2. If it was Berkeley then many of the subjects would be liberal supremacists which would inevitably lead to skewed results and bias samples of research?

  3. This study came out of Berkeley? Home of the intolerant SJW and the 21 Century Sturmabteilung? Not exactly a credable source anymore.

    1. They’re attempting to do whatever it takes to rationalize and legitimize abject perversion while increasing the need for the useless, aka psychotherapists and such.
      Snowflakes have feelings don’t you know?

          1. Please tell me you humiliate them first. Seriously, bring them in, let them think they’ve got it in the bag, then BAM, destroy them and send them home crying to mommy and daddy.

    2. LOL … Berkeley … where they are offering counseling to students that may be “triggered” by hearing a different viewpoint.

  4. Must be why Liberals are having to turn to safe places, coloring books and play doh because they can not face the reality of life…

    1. It is intentional that the failed pubic school system has never taught the snowflakes about reality, but one or two trips into the ghettos or a tour or two in Afghanistan and those snowflakes would be right up to their eyeballs in reality.

      1. Ah, the traditional clash between ivy league (used for all such upper tier exclusionist) nonsense and brute reality. Unfortunately, much of the cabbage in the field is currently reserved for the connected ones, through cronyism. Thankfully, the one thing they haven’t been able to stop Trump from doing is massively decreasing regulations. That, and then recent events such as hurricanes and earthquakes, those are hard for the ivy Leaguers to ignore. Reality may permeate a few thick skulls before they see the grave. Pray for em!

  5. This is a ridiculous study and very fake science. There are only 5 basic emotions and all others can be broken down to one of those five.

  6. An emotion is an instantaneous value judgment. unfortunately no one knows this and everybody pretends emotions are some kind of undefinable mystery. Then some kooks put out some bullshit “study” like this and everyone applauds.

  7. I don’t understand the indignation and dismissivenes of the comments here. As a Christian conservative myself, I would expect that humans are more complex than science has historically considered them. This is merely supplementary confirmation. Not all things out of liberal instutions need be wrong you know.

    1. Faith is the abandonment of reason. Christianity is a faith. Reason is mankind’s sole tool of survival. Faith is the herald of death.

      1. ,Not germane to my question. Follow your own counsel and be reasonable. Why all the vitriol in response to the study? A smart and reasonable fellow such as yourself should be able to come up with an answer that does not employ non sequitur responses.

        1. R U a web-bot? No web-bot has ever said to me “I am NOT a web-bot.” So, just answer the question, please, before we continue.

          1. Yes. Thank you. Now back to your original question: Which statement is an interrogative? I don’t see any question marks.

          2. Yes. “Why all the vitriol?” was my question. All I see in the article is a reference to human emotions being more complex than originally thought. I merely referenced my own faith perspective as a way of admonishing some fellow (seemingly “conservative”) posters that one need not be a “libtard” to find the study interesting and worthy of consideration. Strange world, the “interwebs”….

          3. No it wasn’t. The fact of the matter is that you did NOT ask a question. Just like you pretend that believing in Jesus & Yahweh makes them real but believing in Santa Claus does NOT make Him real, so you pretend that you asked a question and that makes your question real.

            Human emotions are very simple, VERY simple. An emotion is an instantaneous automated value judgment. An emotion tells a conscious life form if something is for or against its values. A value is that which one acts to gain or keep.

            That’s it. That’s all. Anything else is pure demonstrable bunk.

          4. You introduced the non sequitur, not I. I’ve had many conversations with people such as yourself. Seething just under the surface. Always waiting for an opportunity to spout anti-theist ideas. Fair enough. Deal with your own questions that are fueled by theodicy and daddy issues. I’m not taking the bait. Tip your fedora elsewhere.

          5. If you want me to continue this conversation then please identify explicitly and with exclusivity what non sequitur you are referring to an please explain in logical terms of implications, what the implication you are referring to. You are beginning to sound more and more like a web-bot to me.

            I am an Objectivist and I am simply NOT going to try to guess what is in your faithist mind, which is pretty much nothing more than imagination. Otherwise, I will conclude that I have either busted another web-bot OR refused to carry on a conversation with someone who can’t even make a valid point of resolution; resolution as in “resolved” the topic of debate.

          6. The non-sequitur was the introduction of a “faith versus reason” option into a study of human emotion. My original comment was directed at those conservatives that would style themselves as religious but were referring to the study as liberal pablum. As I said, you have theodicy issues you can’t resolve and hence opt for a non-theistic view of the world. Fine. I have perused a number of your posts and see that you are mainly a mud throwing, tin-foil hatter, so I’d rather not have a conversation with you as it would be pointless.

  8. How much were these researchers paid?
    Could they have better spent their time and our money on something more important? Getting batteries to hold a better charge? Finding a cure for a disease? Ocean desalination? Teaching people to grow food where there is hunger? Better building techniques to withstand storms?

    But….it’s Berkeley.

  9. LMAO. Cal Berkley studied 955 diverse Antifa fascists and found 27 emotional states. 1 is happiness. 26 are Trump Derangement Syndrome Mark 1, Mark 2, and so on.

  10. Actually the study is obviously flawed. Anyone with half a brain knows women have way more emotional states than men.

  11. Gee Whiz, I thought academics didn’t believe in limitations. By the way, the same researchers now believe there are 37 steps in grieving…including microaggression regressive stage.

  12. The sooner each and every very special and unique MAN/wo[mb]Man – NOT “man OR other animal”, manifested IN TO this world, but NOT OF it – understand the mandated individual, inherent RIGHTS and concomitant DUTIES/RESPONSIBILITIES of administering – with honorable conduct and righteous intent – a “judicious maintenance” of the Original Estate, whatever “emotional states” “expert psycos” [day]dream up/name/label, become part of each individual’s unique personality to be shared with others of same.

    1. So true. I wish any article on a “study” would disclose how it was funded. USA debt now over $20 trillion.

  13. Yeah, there are now 21 new states of mind. Five of them are anger, five of them are offended, and eleven of them are stupidity.

  14. Seeing the study being done by University of California, Berkeley automatically makes me think it is not very scientific.

  15. Berkley looks at the world upside down. Why would anyone believe one their kooky studies about emotions. They probably believe there’s 27 different genders too.

  16. Maybe we have an infinity of emotional “states”, with various feelings all having continuously variable intensities?

  17. There were 6 up to Trumps election, the lib/dem/left revealed 21 more states of

    emotions……..another Trump accomplishment!

  18. That ain’t nothing compared to the “New Gender Count” being brought to us by the pervs.. Now that is a big number…

  19. Did the researchers compare their results to the fraudulent Ekman “universal human emotions” revealed in the face scam?

    Should be interesting.

  20. When they have their heads stuck in their ass they feel at home, safer like they are in a country filled with only their peers.

  21. Several studies carried out on the validity of social science research have determined that most of the published research is crap – completely useless.

    Research in these fields are dominated by the need to publish a paper and the personal need to confirm a hypothesis. Since negative results are not worthy of publication, researchers are driven to discover something which shows a trend.

    Here we have a study of variations in human behavior. The study carried out here typifies the outcome of a statistical analysis of a large, noisy data set. The analysis WILL inevitably reveal a finite number of fitting parameters that will adequately (by some statistical criterion) describe the data set.

    But will another study on another, perhaps larger, group of people reveal the same data-fitting parameters? Perhaps, but I doubt it.

    This is not science. It is an exercise in empirical data analysis.

    1. Bingo. You are right, it is not science. It’s a similar fallacy to the way that a lot of people’s jobs evaluate their performance. They are sincerely expected to do better all the time, or to go somewhere else. Just as in the private sector, unrealistic metrics and expectations drive employees to lie and even commit fraud, in academics such unrealistic expectations drive a lot of dubious and even fraudulent research.

  22. “This finding is rather groundbreaking, considering how previous research had only identified six significant emotional states.”

    But then again, there used to be only 2 sexes.

    1. Still are. Notice how the flakes will do anything to avoid “sex.” It’s all about some new made up feely version of “gender,” which used to be 3, and strictly a grammatical concern (mostly ignored in English, but key to the Romance Languages, as well as Slavic ones and others, I’m sure).

  23. “…Berkeley recruited a diverse sample of 853 men and women…”

    And confusion was the first emotion they encountered when participants were asked their gender.

    1. This is not directed at you, but the quote spawned my question/comment: If they actually “recruited” a sample (people to participate) instead of a randomly selected sample, and also valued “diversity” over true population representation, it’s skewed already, therefore also invalid. And where is the control group? How many times have the results been duplicated? Oh well, pardon me- I still associate so-called modern science with what was once known as the good ‘ole scientific method.

  24. Here are the emotional states segregated by gender:

    Female (and other non-males):
    Down in dumps
    Down in the mouth

  25. I know somebody in this thread likely already asked this, but is this study coming from people who believe there are 58 or 64 or whatever number of genders (even the leftist social engineers — I mean systems IT people- at Facebook buy this now, as reported gleefully in an article by ABCNews) ?

    I mean, like this new “real” science is simply amazing. And I guess we >have to< believe everything that comes out of U. C. Berkeley, or be labeled as "N*zis", and thus be eligible for a sucker punch, mace in the face, or a bag of urine or feces thrown upon us by righteous leftist street thugs.

  26. This is all a matter of how you look at it. This discussion is the same as arguments regarding whether or not Pluto is a planet or the number of distinct flavors.

    1. But I don’t think the scientists would just have a group of people look at pictures of Pluto and make a statement whether they think it’s a planet or not to make the determination.

  27. Ridiculous. Just because people used words like “peacefulness” to describe how the clip made them feel, that doesn’t mean “peacefulness” is an emotion. Next thing they will tell us is that rather than 7 basic perceivible colors, there is an unlimited amount of perceivible colors, and we can call them whatever we please. This isn’t science.

  28. The emotional states were six until the perverts made it fashionable to be multifaceted sexes. Then the baseless crowd found new moods.

  29. This study has no merit if you got your subjects from Berkeley and surrounding areas. We all know they are psychos and uber emotional wrecks, might have totally warped the study as a result.

  30. Remember the male’s control panel only has three dials: food, sex, sports. The female’s control panel is a jungle of toggle switches, dials, big knife switches, on-off buttons, sliding levers and so forth.

  31. LOL.

    Leftist loser snowflakes and their endless stream of meaningless narcissistic “feelings” can never be overstated.

  32. The Berkeley bed wetter’s probably have more than 27. They are such sheltered cry babies they’re on the ragged edge of a total meltdown on their best day.

  33. “Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley recruited a diverse sample of 853 men and women…” <~~~ What about the other 47 genders that leftist professors claim exist?

  34. did antifa conduct this study? just cause antifa is triggered and they feel like they have 27 different types of rage doesn’t make it 27 different types , it’s just one.

  35. The additional 21 emotional states are all new levels of crazy occurring in LibProgLeftards following the election of Donald J. Trump as the lawful President of the United States of America until 2016 and possibly 2024.

  36. there was a show on tv called “lie to me” (tim roth kills it)… a great couple of seasons until it got soap oprahy… anyway… I learned this from that show years ago.

  37. Liberals only have two emotions, hate and depression. Oh, then there’s violence against the successful. That’s another liberal emotion.

  38. All human reactions, actions, behaviors, etc., stem from an emotional foundation of only five primary emotions. If you want to learn more about them, pick up a copy of my book, “MODERN-DAY LIBERALISM: Exploring the Psychological foundation of the Disorder”.

  39. Women claim there are hundreds of different colors; men see about six or so: blue, black, green, white, black, yellow and etc. If there are 27 different emotional states, it’s got to be only for women. Men are far simpler: happy, sad, angry, horny, thirsty and confused being about all we have. And that last one is likely because women have so many. Personally I think these researchers must either all be women or else have just never been laid. Mostly I see two female emotional states: 1.) I’m right and 2.) you’re wrong.

  40. Reality, they are 2 sexes, but idiots have concluded that there are more. What new emotional states can there be to whine to claim victimhood? (That is the question)

  41. Jesus, you people, who gives a royal “S” ! There may be 27 facial expressions of how you express your emotions, but actual states, NOT. Just because a large college makes a statement does not necessarily amount to a hill of beans. For you people out there is La La Land, you do realize that many University departments must be funded by grants and being so must have some proof that their monies are being spent judicially so they come up with these research studies which they pronounce as being latest in psychology research. It still comes off as subjective, regardless, because someone must still make a determination about what they see or how the final analysis is accrued.

    The sciences of psychology are a fools errand. The informational statistics on many if not most studies can be manipulated ten ways coming and going to give the results they are looking for and also to make it look like they’ve actually been judiceous in the spending of grant money.

    Who can refute this phony research? NO ONE. By the way what can they
    possibly do with this information but to try and corner us with facial
    recognition systems that will then use those facial expression to
    determine “PRE-CRIME” accountability. Also check to see who is actually funding this research…. FOLLOW THE MONEY !!!

  42. What a crock, it figures it comes out of Berkeley. It was a crock at 6, and it’s a crock at 27! What self important idiots!

  43. In other words, tax-dollar-funded-grants (?, hey its a Berkely study) created 21 new emotions to lend credence to the lefties talking points re: snowflakes, millenniums, BLM, ANTIFA, lefites. OWS….Cut taxes and govt spending now.

  44. Berkeley? The bastion of alt-left whackadoodlery? Hahaha! Are these the same idiots who say there are 39 different genders? Get outta here.

  45. What a steaming crock of shiite. Happy. Sad. Angry. Ambivalent. That’s it folks! Four. Everything else is a variation of these states. These studies all conclude the same thing. There is a spectrum for everything. The worst example yet is gender. There are TWO, count them, TWO genders. Male. Female. All other “genders” are psychological in nature.

  46. No it’s women that have 26 emotional states, men have only two and they are 1. In the mood for work. 2. In the mood for sex.

  47. Top Emotional state…California.. (Delusional)..Washington state, (Narcissistic) close second…

    its a joke people…

  48. Junk Science at its best. Either we have three or four emotional ‘reward’ systems, we can describe Pluchik’s eight dimensions (which is a projection of four). Then we have five or six personality factors that bias them (certain, because they correspond to physical reward systems). And if we assume that in general, humans can distinguish at best, between five states, that should yield Pluchik’s diagram, of, at least five levels, with no less than three emotions ‘active’ at the same time. Meanwhile we can experience any combination at once, or sequence of emotions that result in a transitory, temporal, or durable state of emotional experience. That means there are no less than 64 simple emotions, at no less than five degrees of intensity, in some combination … often in many combinations, including ’emotional confusion’. Ergo the number of discernable permutations may be more than two thousand, even if we only possess names for a few hundred of them, and even if we have only four reward(punishment) systems.

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