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Emotions – The Basics

Emotions – The Basics

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


background, biological interactions, cultures, emotions, human expression



Charles Darwin theorized that emotions were universally experienced. This idea acknowledged that emotions can be experienced similarly and communicated via many different cultures and backgrounds. Evidence supports the concept that emotions are also biologically based therefore, they must in some sense be universal (Ortony, 1990). Emotions are recognized universally in the bases of social and biological interactions. Darwin also recognized emotions as a trait that is continuously evolving. The basic emotions become more complex and build upon each other via experiences and exposure. In the 1960’s Paul Ekman was able to combine several studies and identify six basic human emotions. These six basic emotions have been recognized by most psychologists. The six basic emotions are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. All these factors mature and enhance with age and development.

Additional Information

This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.




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Emotions – The Basics