Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Basic Emotions

  • Magda Kowalska
  • Monika WróbelEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_495-1



Basic emotions are hypothesized to be a special class of emotions out of which all other emotions are compounded. According to most theorists, they are innate, universal, and distinct affective states which evolved to serve adaptive functions.


The idea that there exists a small set of “basic emotions” dates back to the works of Descartes (1649/1988) who was first to suggest that all emotional states can be derived from six fundamental “passions” (joy, sadness, love, desire, hatred, and wonder). However, the real debate on “emotional basicness” begun with the publication of Darwin’s (1872/1998) book entitled The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Darwin argued that emotions are crucial for survival and thus they have distinctive expressions that should be accurately recognized by all...


Basic Emotions Distinctive Subjective Experience Complex Emotional States Panksepp Emotion-eliciting Stimuli 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWarszawaPoland
  2. 2.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of LodzŁódźPoland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Monika Wróbel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of LodzLodzPoland