What is an emtion wheel? What is an emtion wheel?

What is an Emotion Wheel? Effective or Futile

Emotions can be confusing! Tackling such endeavors of education, behavior, career, and relationships through difficult emotions is not certainly obvious. Can an individual predict how many countless emotions a human being can experience? And to begin with, what is an emotion wheel1?

What is an Emotion Wheel
By Tengyart/Unsplash.Copyright 2022

An emotion wheel can be an epitome for describing the power of common sensations. As a great tool, it can assist people in grappling with, naming, and coming to terms with their emotions in various contexts, including simply developing greater self-awareness.

Human beings with powerful emotional proficiency are liable to have a greater sense of awareness of their own emotions as well as other emotional responses.

For instance, one might observe it comparatively comfortable to title distinct emotions since we examine them. Also, to acknowledge how these emotions contribute to other people’s certain emotions.

In this article, we will have a deeper understanding of Emotion wheels.

1. What is an Emotion Wheel? 

Robert Plutchik’s emotion wheel or wheel of emotions (sometimes referred to as the emotional wheel) provides a visual representation of eight primary emotions, expressing the differing degrees and implications of different feelings.

The Emotion Wheel - How to use it

Let’s look into the emotion. Let me self-report why I use emotion as my primary term.

Previously research has shown that emotions can occur when stimuli influence a person’s mood. Emotions can be defined in terms of interconnected changes relating to the state of each of the five organisms that are analyzed to evaluate a stimulus event related to a major concern of the organism’s body postures.

1.1. The Emotion Wheel

Founded by psychologist2 Robert Plutchik, the emotion wheel represents a list of several specific emotions. The wheels are organized in a circle with sections of 3 levels representing each core emotion with the center in between.

For an emotion like anger, there are degrees of anger, and the greater degree of anger is located in the center of an emotion wheel. In Plutchik’s model depiction, these sections are placed in floral forms, each “petaled” representing one emotion.

1.2. The Eight Core Emotions

In Plutchik’s words, the eight core emotions are anger, anticipation3, disgust, fear, joy, and sorrow. These various emotions are polar opposite to their actual opposite at the wheel, and they are grouped into three wheels (Negative emotions against Positive emotions):

  • Anger (against fear): Degrees are annoyance and rage.
  • Anticipation (against surprise): Degrees are curiosity and vigilance.
  • Sadness(against joy): Degrees are sorrow and pleasure.
  • Disgust(against trust): Degrees are revolt and belief.

According to his theory, these basic emotions of the color wheel can intensify, become milder, or even combine to produce an emotional human experience.

a) Combinations

The emotional experiences with no color represent an emotion that mixes the 2 other emotions. Sometimes you may be stuck between two emotional states.

Plutchik’s wheel covers these human emotions and merges two basic emotions for your comfort.

  • Anticipation and joy: optimism
  • Anger and anticipation: aggressiveness
  • Joy and trust: love
  • Trust and fear: submission
  • Fear and surprise: awe
  • Surprise and sadness: disapproval
  • Sadness and disgust: remorse
  • Disgust and anger: contempt

Emotions are often complex, and recognizing when a feeling combines two or more distinct feelings is a helpful skill. 

However, we aren’t done yet! There lies an intensity at each edge of emotion.

b) Intensity

The vertical dimension of the cone represents intensity – both negative and positive emotions intensify as they move from the outside to the center of the wheel, as indicated by the color: The more intense the emotion, the darker the shade.

Anger, for example, is an annoyance in its mildest form. When anger reaches its peak, it transforms into a rage. Similarly, boredom can intensify a loathing fear, which is dark purple if left unchecked.

This is an important emotional rule to remember in relationships:

The following is the wisdom of expanding your emotional vocabulary: It is the foundation for effectively navigating emotions.

2. History of the Emotion Wheel- A Wheel of Facial Expressions

Robert Plutchik (1927–2006) was a psychiatric physician and lecturer in the medical sciences at Albert Einstein University. During that time, he became an associate professor at the university.

Plutchik is renowned for his theory of emotion, published as a psychoeducational synthesis introducing a representation of the emotional wheel. Also, he proposed an explanation of the concept and development of self-awareness. It lists the eight primary emotions described below and their associated manifestations.

His work demonstrates that basic emotions appear throughout all human beings.

facial expressions
By George Becker/Pexels. Copyright 2022

2.1 Emotions and Survival

Robert Plutchik created an emotional wheel. Besides emotion, he was curious about learning the survival mechanisms of body language.

The evolutionary theory of emotion includes the Sequential Model of Emotions and place of cognition and shows the process. All survival processes, from fighting and flight to mapping new territories, are connected by an exact emotion.

In situations where threats are present, we must take steps to overcome them and survive. Plutchik called the threat to encounter an ensuing “stimulation event.”

2.2 Evolution and Emotions

Plutchik’s wheel reminds us of our emotional state of reactions. Sometimes, we feel stupid for our ice cream falling or being dragged by potential mates.

These feelings have been traced back to the basics of survival mechanisms which stayed alive if something wasn’t so pleasant. Earlier, we needed fight or flight to deal with threats such as animals or tribes.

The threat to a business is no longer as serious today. Our minds may still perceive it as a threat, which triggers a response in combat or escape.

3. How to Use Plutchik’s Emotions Wheel

How do you feel today?

This simple question may have a simple answer on occasion. You will feel sad. Content. Happy. Excited. However, this simple question has no simple answer.

You’re nervous, but you’re not sure whether it’s a “good nervous” or a “bad nervous.” Your vigilance disgust. You are happy, but that happiness is tinged with guilt, preventing you from truly feeling happy. Sadness, terror, joy, fear, anger, and disgust are all intertwined.

Identifying emotion is a difficult process, but it is critical to understanding how people think and behave. There are various cognitive theories about how emotion influences our cognitive processes 4and decisions.

So it’s understandable that psychologists want to understand how we identify emotions and how they influence our behaviors and attitudes.

We can put words to our feelings using tools like The Plutchik’s Wheel. Here are some other methods for identifying and managing your emotions more effectively:

3.1 Sit Down with Yourself

Take a few moments to sit quietly and observe your body, posture, and mind. (Guided meditation apps like Insight Timer can help you with this.)

Be patient and truthful with yourself. Do you have any tension in your body? Are your thoughts positive, negative, hopeful, or something else? Give 5-10 minutes to complete this process.

After that, refer to The Emotion Wheel. Do your thoughts reflect an anxious state? Contentment? Embarrassment? Begin with the innermost circle and work your way outward if necessary.

3.2 Keep a Journal Handy

We can not always process our emotions by repeating the same thoughts in our heads. As you reflect, take some time to write down what happened that day and how you felt.

Keeping a journal regularly will reveal your emotions to not only you but also the sources of those emotions.

3.3 Accept All Feelings

Your feelings are valid. We frequently refuse to acknowledge feelings such as shame, sadness, or disappointment.

We all have certain feelings, even if we have done nothing to “deserve” them. The sooner you admit your feelings, the sooner you can manage them.

4. Additional Wheel Variations

There are more emotions than can be expressed in a single chart. While Plutchik’s emotion wheel is useful for many people, it may not be the best fit for you, and that’s general.

This wheel represents only one perspective on the emotional state of feelings. If you discover it lacking, a few of these variants may be more beneficial.

4.1 The Wheel of Geneva

Rather than two contrasting sets, the Geneva Wheel5 breaks up emotions into two categories:

  • Unpleasant feeling
  • Pleasant feeling

The pleasant and unpleasant feelings are further subdivided into higher and lower levels of control. “Control” refers to your ability to influence your emotional state of behavior or the incidents that cause it.

For instance, in the low-lying control classification, you will discover a thunderbolt on the border between the pleasant and unpleasant categories. Does it make sense: Surely it does! One may struggle to authorize your feelings of astonishment, and not enjoy it always.

In your own words, examining your emotional control can assist in justifying difficult feelings over which you have little control. Also, it helps us acknowledge when we can practice better to manage our emotions.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the Geneva Wheel is the absence of additional emotions in the middle of the Geneva Wheel structure. This characteristic can be used to convey emotional insensitivity or emotional events that may not be represented anywhere in the wheel.

4.2 The Wheel of Junto

If you prefer a broader range of emotions, this wheel could be a good choice. This wheel has the plain configuration of the three. Hence, one might discover it obvious to read and benefit.

The junto emotion wheel, which resembles a real wheel, is divided into six emotional state wedges that can be found in the center:

  • Affection.
  • Rage.
  • Fright.
  • Depression.
  • Amazement.
  • Delight.

On moving from the center to the outer borders of the wheel, you will encounter more specific emotions, such as love, romantic, and enamored.

When fundamental emotions don’t cut it, possessing any such complex emotional states to identify can help you get to the heart of your feelings.

“I’m in desolation” may suffice at times. You may want to dig a little deeper into your emotions. Are you simply depressed? Or do you feel isolated, maybe even despairing?

While recognizing emotions, the more distinct you can be with yourself, the simpler it is to encounter constructive ways to demonstrate and direct them.

5. The Difference Between Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions and the Geneva Emotion Wheel

Plutchik’s wheel hasn’t always been the easiest to learn or interact with without emotions. Other emotional wheels, such as Geneva’s, can help us identify our emotions.

The GEW’s (Geneva emotion wheel) approach to emotions differs greatly from that of the two wheels. There is no first emotion, only a collection of 20 emotions evaluated using two sets of polar parameters (version 2.0 contains 20 emotions, and the first model lists 16.)

Another big distinction between the two is the intensity of the emotions. The GEW’s intensity has been reversed, with the strongest emotions represented by bigger circles on the outer layers, which shrink in size as they move toward the center.

Plutchik’s wheel does not express non-primary emotions such as pride and shame, whereas the GEW does. Besides that, both tools are excellent starting points for detecting emotions.

6. Emotion Wheel: Utilization for Emotional Proficiency?

Combating a difficult emotion can be a difficult process. Emotional literacy can be extremely beneficial in assisting people in identifying and communicating their emotions. People with high emotional intelligence are often better able to grasp and comprehend their emotions.

ABC of Emotions: How to use the FEELINGS WHEEL to develop Emotional Literacy 🎨| episode 03

You can often easily identify when you are not recognizing and conscious of your feelings’ role in your other experiences. You can improve your emotions. An effort to improve their emotional literacy through an emotion wheel.

6.1 The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

EQ 6can be improved by identifying emotions using emotion wheels or other methods. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is recognizing and responding to emotions effectively. Emotional intelligence seems to resemble:

  • Managing emotions before they become irrational behavior
  • Recognizing emotional cues and reacting appropriately
  • Communicating your goals and emotions to your partner, colleagues, or friends in a clear and concise manner
  • Easily adapting to changing situations
  • Maintaining calm in frightening or tense situations
  • Identifying one’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Linking thought patterns and physical responses to specific emotions
  • Knowing what events or topics are likely to elicit strong emotions and preparing accordingly

6.2 Using the Emotion Wheel to Gain Emotional Intelligence

Let’s take the example of Ross, a 35-year-old employee.

Ross is depressed. He acknowledges his mother, who is in the hospital. He considers his wife, who has been experiencing stress recently. Everything else on his to-do list distracts him when he sits down to work.

He perceives his boss, who may or may not be dissatisfied with the lack of work that Ross has completed.

Ross is at a loss for words to express his emotions. If left unchecked, his stress interferes with his sleep, and ability to exercise and focus. He doesn’t start thinking about his emotions until he reads an article about The Emotion Wheel.

Ross watches a YouTube meditation video about identifying his emotions. The meditation instructs him to pay attention to various parts of his body and mind. Darren notices his chest is constricted. His thoughts are racing at breakneck speed.

Ross googles his symptoms after the meditation and discovers he suffers from anxiety.

Ross is unfamiliar with this, but the Emotion Wheel is there to assist him. He examines the area labeled “A; He sees “fearful” encompassing “anxious” in the innermost circle.

Ross is not the type of person to express fear, but he keeps an open mind. Perhaps he is concerned that his mother will not recover from her illness or that his wife will become ill due to her stress. What could he possibly be afraid of?

Ross examines the emotion wheel’s outermost circles: overwhelmed and concerned. While both of those emotions appear to fit his current emotions, the sheer volume of worries in his life overwhelms him.

7. How do I Check in with Myself Using an Emotional Wheel?

Do our emotions have an impact on our lives? You’ve probably recently been laid off and are struggling with your reactions compared to how others feel. It is simple for someone who does not understand the emotion.

You may have the impression that something is on the way, but you are experiencing something other than your excitement — something you cannot express. There was no one else there!

Those who want to learn more about their emotions and how they affect their personality can take any of these emotional intelligence tests.

An emotion wheel is a tool that people can use in many aspects of their lives, from relationships to work, to help them deal with the things that bother them and move on. Finally, it promotes greater self-awareness and comprehension.

8. Conclusion

Emotions can be difficult to manage. They may occasionally confuse you to the point where ignoring them appears to be the best way to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

However, ignoring emotions can often exacerbate them.

Although it may appear difficult initially, exploring and talking through feelings is usually your best option. Even emotions that you’d rather ignore usually become less distressing when confronted.

An emotion wheel is a useful tool for practicing identifying feelings and becoming comfortable with them.

However, if you find it difficult to express yourself emotionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A therapist can help you develop emotional skills and uncover difficult emotions.

9. FAQs

Q. Do emotion wheels have digital or internet versions?

Yes, you may use emotion wheels as interactive tools or visual aids on digital and internet platforms. These variations can be especially beneficial for emotional exploration and self-reflection.

Q. Do emotion wheels evolve?

Yes, we can change as a result of fresh study, societal changes, and improvements in our understanding of psychology. To better represent the intricacies of human emotions and experiences, other models might develop.

Q. Do emotion wheels differ among cultures?

Although fundamental human emotions are frequently the foundation of emotion wheels, cultural differences can have an impact on emotional experiences and expressions. Emotion wheels may be interpreted and applied differently in various nations depending on which emotions are more prevalent in a certain culture.

  1. Semeraro, Alfonso, Salvatore Vilella, and Giancarlo Ruffo. “PyPlutchik: Visualising and comparing emotion-annotated corpora.” Plos one 16.9 (2021): e0256503. ↩︎
  2. Chenneville, Tiffany, and Rebecca Schwartz-Mette. “Ethical considerations for psychologists in the time of COVID-19.” American Psychologist 75.5 (2020): 644. ↩︎
  3. Rozhkov, Maxim, et al. “Adapting supply chain operations in anticipation of and during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Omega 110 (2022): 102635. ↩︎
  4. Estes, William, ed. Handbook of learning and cognitive processes. Psychology Press, 2022. ↩︎
  5. Coyne, Adam K., Andrew Murtagh, and Conor McGinn. “Using the Geneva emotion wheel to measure perceived affect in human-robot interaction.” Proceedings of the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. 2020. ↩︎
  6. Feng, You-Shan, et al. “Psychometric properties of the EQ-5D-5L: a systematic review of the literature.” Quality of Life Research 30 (2021): 647-673. ↩︎



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