Rueda de Plutchik

Have you heard about the Plutchik’s Wheel and basic emotions? It may not sound like you but it is a simple and great tool to understand the origin of emotions. It is the reference that we should use during the process of self-knowledge. 

The creator of the Plutchik’s Wheel is Robert Plutchick. He created it to see in a clear and didactic way the emotions and which can be their possible combinations. He started from the premise that we have certain basic emotions that evolve throughout our lives and that are transformed over time. 

People need to adapt their way of being to the reality around them, this interaction also transforms their way of feeling. The Plutchik’s wheel shapes these changes so that we can understand them better and thus have better emotional health.

This wheel is nothing more than a graphic in the form of a flower of different colors. Each petal shows the course of the basic emotions. In total there are 8 petals and 3 main axes: typology, antagonism and intensity. 

The first one has two types of emotions: the basic ones and the composite ones. The basic ones are those that are felt naturally, the composite ones are the combination of the natural ones. 

The second axis, antagonism, refers to the opposition that exists between the different emotions. In this case we find 4 emotions that are at opposite ends: joy/sorrow, anticipation/surprise, disgust/confidence and fear/anger. 

As for the third axis, intensity, it reflects the strength of the emotions and is represented through color. If an emotion is very intense, it will be basic and close to the center of the flower. 

The Plutchik’s Wheel and its basic emotions

Joy: it is a state of satisfaction and well-being, with ourselves and with what we have to live. 

Trust: is the position we take in a subjective way when we believe that there is no harm or damage in a situation after an action.

Fear: is the uncertainty we feel when we create expectations about something we believe will harm us. 

Surprise: the way we react when something unexpected happens to us. It is the basic neutral emotion. 

Sadness: it is mainly a state of despondency, it requires social support. 

Aversion: through this emotion we express our will of rejection or that we want to avoid something or someone.

Anger: our way of responding to an act of offense, especially if that act is done deliberately. 

Anticipation: the expectations we create for ourselves, based on our experience and information, about a specific event or situation. 

As we said before, basic emotions can be combined. The result of such a combination is three subgroups of combined emotions. The combined emotions create new emotions: 

Primary combined emotions: 

Joy + Trust = Love.

Joy + Anticipation = Optimism.

Confidence + Fear = Submissiveness.

Fear + Surprise = Alarm.

Surprise + Sadness = Disappointment.

Sadness + Disgust = Remorse.

Disgust + Anger = Contempt.

Anger + Anticipation = Aggression.

Secondary combined emotions: 

Joy + Fear = Guilt.

Joy + Anger = Pride.

Confidence + Surprise = Curiosity.

Confidence + Anticipation = Fatalism.

Fear + Sadness = Despair.

Surprise + Disgust = Disbelief.

Sadness + Anger = Envy.

Disgust + Anticipation = Cynicism.

Anger + Sadness = Envy.

Combined tertiary emotions: 

Joy + Surprise = Delight.

Joy + Disgust = Morbidity.

Confidence + Sadness = Sentimentalism.

Confidence + Anger = Domination.

Fear + Disgust = Shame.

Fear + Anticipation = Anxiety.

Surprise + Anger = Indignation.

Sadness + Anticipation = Pessimism.

This tool is very useful to better understand our emotions and those of others. You can see in a clear and summarized way the different types of basic emotions that exist and what are their possible combinations. That is why it is so important to know the Plutchik’s Wheel and how basic emotions work.