Atlas of Emotions by Paul Ekman and Eve Ekman

Monday, June 26th, 2017 by Cliff.

Atlas of Emotions is a project led by Dr Paul Ekman and Dr Eve Ekman, supported by The Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama imagined “a map of our emotions to develop a calm mind“. He asked his longtime friend and renowned emotion scientist Dr. Paul Ekman to realize his idea. Ekman took on the creation of the Atlas alongside his daughter, Eve Ekman, a second-generation emotion researcher and trainer.

The Atlas represents what researchers have learned from the psychological study of emotion. The Ekmans consulted 248 scientists in 2014 and the two main results were that there was  “compelling evidence for universals in any aspect of emotion” as this was endorsed by 88% of the respondents. The evidence supporting universal signals (face or voice) was endorsed by 80%.  There was “high agreement about five emotions (all of which were described by both Darwin and Wundt): anger (91%), fear (90%), disgust (86%), sadness (80%), and happiness (76%). Shame, surprise, and embarrassment were endorsed by 40%–50%. Other emotions, currently under study by various investigators drew substantially less support: guilt (37%), contempt (34%), love (32%), awe (31%), pain (28%), envy (28%), compassion (20%), pride (9%), and gratitude (6%). Finally, there was high agreement about whether “specific moods may be related to specific emotions(s) such as anger to irritability” (88%), whether “specific personality traits are related in some way to specific emotions, such as fear to shyness” (82%), and whether specific emotional disorders are related in some way to specific emotions, such as disgust to anorexia (75%).”

The full APS research report is available here: What-Scientists-Who-Study-Emotion-Agree-About

The web-based Atlas of Emotions tool outlines how our emotions unfold on a timeline – often happening to us within half a second. The timeline begins with a trigger that initiates an emotional experience and ultimately results in a response. “the simple, but not easy,

The web-based tool outlines how our emotions unfold on a timeline – often happening to us within half a second. The timeline begins with a trigger that initiates an emotional experience and ultimately results in a response. “the simple, but not easy, goal of this Atlas is to help us be aware of our emotions. Awareness of our emotions means understanding how they are triggered, what they feel like and how we respond. Awareness itself is a strategy, it helps us understand our emotion experiences. We do not want to get rid of our emotions, we want strategies that help us respond in helpful, constructive ways.”

It is an interactive tool that builds your emotional language and can help develop a deeper understanding of how emotions work in self and others. This serves as a great platform for developing emotional intelligence.

It is best described by the Ekmans themselves in this presentation at UCTV:

Cliff Lansley
Article by Cliff Lansley

Expert in emotional intelligence, behavioural analysis and high stake deception detection contexts. Cliff holds; B Ed (Hons), MIOD, MABPsych, Cert Ed.

5 responses to “Atlas of Emotions by Paul Ekman and Eve Ekman”

  1. I just love your work. Bought your book on Emotions revealed many many years ago and just loved it. Followed your progress all these years.
    I am a sport psychology consultant and work as a coach and sport psychologist.
    I want to do a PhD in this field and wonder if I can have support form Dr Ekman and Dr Ekman.
    I would love to include emotions in sport by anyway in my D research.

  2. Swe says:

    This is very useful and effective article for human life science. The full Atlas of Emotions tool is very impressive. In this tool, the interesting thing is intensity level of each of Emotions. In visual recognition, how can recognize each of these intensity level from facial action coding system? Can we recognize these intensity levels from other body language? Thank you very much for your development and article.

    • Cliff Lansley says:

      Hi. That’s a great question Swe. The FACS system can give us some clues to intensity as the coding system uses a 5 point intensity code (A-E, where E is judged the maximum Action Unit movement for that individual). This needs care though as some muscle movements are not connected to emotion and a judgement is needed on reliability. This includes analysis of the combination of movements, duration, symmetry, synchrony and profile of the emotion (onset/offset). By exploring all 6 communication channels we can build confidence about the emotional read and intensity though research is sparse on this aspect. There is a MSc or PhD project in this ;). Cliff.

      • Swe says:

        Hello Cliff, thank you very much for your reply. I am a student concerning with computer science and bioinformatics. Specialization fields are image processing, machine learning and mathematical theory. I am very interested in developing an intelligent emotion recognition system to support human life. I am also emotion person in most of the time and need to control with the help of tool. Around my environment such as friends, also have that kind of situation like stress, work life unbalancing and so on. However, this is not easy task to develop it by combining 6 communication channels. The resultant good system is based on high reliability of data, suitable algorithms and strong reasons of assumptions, result confirmation with the right guidance of psychological professionals: Dr. PAUL EKMAN and Dr. EVE EKMAN. I would like to continue my interested research with this article aspect and it is better if I get the chance of guidance from Dr. Ekman Group. Thank you!

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