Once, we thought humans were capable of only six basic emotions: we could be happy, surprised, afraid, disgusted, angry, and sad. Then last month, scientists whittled that number down to four. But now, scientists say, there are actually 15 more emotions than we initially thought, bringing the total to 21. We get 21 whole feelings now!
That’s because researchers from Ohio State University have figured out how to identify distinctly recognizable “compound” emotions, which mix the basic six (we’re back to six) into new feeling cocktails. It’s like mixing primary colors, if colors were emotions, and instead of “purple” you got “happily surprised,” or “happily disgusted” or “fearfully disgusted” or “disgustedly surprised” (the list goes on).
According to CNN, the new info, published this month in the journal PNAS, could have major implications for psychiatric research. Also, to improve human-computer interaction systems, since the robots of the future will be better able to understand all the nuances of your apparently 21 feelings. But the most important thing is that science now recognizes the feeling you get at an all-you-can-eat Ponderosa Steakhouse buffet (it is happily disgusted).