Chapter 13: Positive Emotions

How Many Positive Emotions Exist?

Table 1 lists the positive emotions researchers have identified or theorized exist. Clearly, disagreement exists on the number of positive emotions that exist. Keep in mind that Ekman’s (1992, 1993) theory suggests that all positive emotions represent different intensities of the same positive emotion family.

Table 1
Positive Emotions According to Emotion Researchers

A table showing emotion researchers, how many positive emotions they claim, and a list of those positive emotions.
Researcher(s) Number of Positive Emotions List of Positive Emotions
Paul Ekman (Ekman & Cordaro, 2011) 10 sensory pleasure, happiness, amusement, excitement, wonder, ecstasy, naches (Yiddish – vicarious pride), fiero (Italian – achieving difficult challenge), schadenfreude, rejoicing
Barbara Fredrickson (2013) 10 joy, interest, contentment, gratitude, awe, amusement, inspiration, pride, hope, love
Eddie Tong (2014) 13 joy, interest, contentment, gratitude, awe, amusement, pride, hope, love, challenge, compassion, interest, relief, serenity

Note. For a list of Ekman’s emotions and his views, read his interview with Cordaro,
Ekman, P., & Cordaro, D. (2011). What is meant by calling emotions basic. Emotion Review, 3, 364-370.



Lets get to know the positive emotions!

Below, is a list  of definitions for several positive emotions.  For each definition, select the emotion that best fits the definition and drag that emotion into the definition box.

Adapted from four sources: 1) “Differentiation of 13 positive emotions by appraisals,” E.M.W. Tong, 2014, Cognition and Emotion, 29(3), p. 487-489 ( Copyright 2014 by Taylor & Francis, 2) “What good are positive emotions?” by B.L. Fredrickson, 1998,  Review of General  Psychology, 2(3), p. 370–309 (https// 10.1037/1089-2680.2.3.300) Copyright 1998 by American Psychological Association, 3) “Positive emotions broaden and build,” by B.L. Fredrickson, In P. Devine and A. Plant (Eds.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 47, p. 4, 6, Copyright 2013 Academic Press and 4) “What is meant by calling emotions basic,” P. Ekman and D. Cordaro, 2011, Emotion Review, 3(4), p. 365 ( Copyright 2011 by The Authors


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