notes-group-universalEmotionsEmoticons claims at least 7 universal human emotions (are these only the ones for which the facial expression is stereotyped? when i mentioned this to someone else, they pointed out that embarrassment is probably universal, too). So a discussion system might have something to gain by allowing posts to be tagged with these (or with post-reader pairs to be tagged with these) as structural metadata.

For some of these, one can see how it could relate to formal group information processing and decision-making systems:

Ones that seem to relate solely to interpersonal (interentity?) relations:

first, i cite what situations are thought to cause these emotions. Then, i suggest how they could be interpreted within a formal formal group information processing and decision-making system:

some that i dont have a clear group cogition role for yet:

with this interpretation, though, disgust is almost the same as contempt. wikipedia says "Robert Plutchik’s circumplex model asserts that contempt is a mixture of two of the primary emotions anger and disgust." ( ) claims that "Contempt expresses the subject's perceived superiority over the object. In contempt, the other person is evaluated as inferior to us in some basic sense; in disgust, the other person is merely displeasing but not necessarily inferior. Unlike hate, the object in contempt may pose no direct threat to the subject and avoiding the negative impact of the object can essentially be done by using escape devices.

The inferiority associated with contempt does not have to be global: it can merely refer to a few aspects of the other person's characteristics. I can contempt another person's accent or look, but still realizing her general superior status. Ian Miller has suggested the existence of "upward contempt," that is, the contempt that people who occupy a conventionally lower social role harbor toward someone higher. Examples include the contempt teenagers have for adults, servants for masters, workers for bosses, the uneducated for the educated, and so on.

An interesting case of upward contempt is our attitude toward lawyers and politicians. Miller terms these people "moral menials" as they perform functions in the moral order similar to those played in the system of provisioning by garbage collectors and butchers. "Moral menials" need to deal with moral dirt in order to do their job, but we nevertheless feel some contempt toward them, as we hold them accountable for being so attracted to moral dirt. These people-more so politicians than lawyers-often exhibit vices such as hypocrisy, betrayal, fawning and cruelty. Despite our contempt of them, they have a high status in our society which is expressed in the hefty payments and great power we accord them. These benefits may be a sort of compensation for being moral menials.

When contempt is very intense, it may involve in addition to a highly negative evaluation of the object's characteristics, a highly repulsive attitude toward the object. In these cases, intense contempt may involve disgust. Nevertheless, the basic difference between disgust and contempt should be clear: the object of contempt is inferior to us but is still within some of our frames of reference; the disgusting object is not inferior but impure: it may contaminate us. Contempt marks social distinctions whereas disgust marks boundaries of the self.

Like hate, contempt is also a long-term attitude, although usually less intense than hate. The difference between hate and contempt is that in contempt, the emphasis is on the inferiority of the object's characteristics, whereas hate stresses the object's dangerous deeds. In contrast with hate, contempt allows for competitive coexistence.

The difference between hate and contempt is illustrated by the difference between the Nazis' attitude toward the Jews and the attitude of whites toward blacks during the period of American slavery. At the risk of oversimplification, the basic emotional attitude of the Nazis may be characterized as hate, and that of the whites as contempt. Accordingly, the official doctrine of Nazi Germany held Jews to be irredeemably evil, and this was incompatible with allowing them to survive under any conditions; however, blacks were not considered in this manner. Consequently, during the Holocaust, the only good Jew was a dead Jew, whereas during American slavery, a good black was a properly subservient black. This difference in attitude is expressed in the fact that Jewish infants were supposed to possess the same evil traits which were held to be inherent in Jewish adults. The nature of this evil was such that it was considered incorrigible even if "treated" early. Therefore, Jewish infants and children were also executed during the Holocaust. This is in sharp contrast to slavery, where it was not at all unusual for the children of slave-owners and the children of slaves to play together.

too few

after the above analysis, choosing these as the basic emotions to be expressed within a formal group information processing or decision support system seems to be kind of limiting. if the above are included, why not also include others such as embarrassment (the recognition that you have not done what you should, similar to how i suggest that anger is an assertion that someone else has not done as they should), submission (what you should display if someone expresses disgust towards you and you agree with it), teasing (could be used to challenge disgust expressed towards you without becoming angry; in this context, it would say 'i dont accept that i am lower status, but its not worth it to me to punish you for it') -- in other words, at the least, "closure" should be provided with respect to individuals asserting relative rank, and with respect to to individuals responding to expressions targeted to them. and closure also under opposites, so we should have the opposite of surprise (interpreted as new information): boredom, and the opposite of fear (whatever that is called; bravado?); and the responses to fear (threatening (saying 'yes, you should be afraid of me'), or pacifying). and, if anger says that you are being treated wrongly, then how about the response of "oh jeez, i bear you no malice but i am treating you fair and square and so i don't think i should change". and the opposite of "ok/no worries (i confirm that i am being treated fairly in this situation/i do not challenge this/you have done your duty)". and the opposite of contempt, admiration/devotion (you are better than me and i like you), and the partial opposite, resentment (you are better than me and i dont like you), and the partial opposite, paternalistic/diminutive adoration/pity (you are worse than me and i like you).

 And why not also thankfulness -- and then also pleading? and if we have surprise, why not "interest" (i'm paying attention). and anticipation (predict something good is coming), and longing (predict nothing good is coming, but want it), and desire (want it), and anxiety (predict something bad is coming), lack of desire (don't want it), and curiosity, and compassion, and suffering, and confusion, disappointment (sadness + surprise), satisfaction, distress (subtypes of happiness and sadness), gratification (happiness + lack of surprise), doubt, certaintly, gloating (i am better than you), hope (this is good but not certain), pride (i did this and it's good), regret (i did this and it's bad), suspicion. and don't forget laughter. cites some other interesting examples of emotional typologies, such as Spinoza's idea that love is pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause; it mentions "thoughts, appraisals, feelings, beliefs, and desires":

" Descartes enumerated “six simple and primitive passions” (wonder, love, hatred, desire, joy and sadness) and noted that “all the others are composed of some of these six or are species of them.”2 Hobbes similarly distinguished the “simple passions called appetite, desire, love, aversion, hate, joy, and grief” and then suggested that more complex emotions are formed by the succession of these or the addition of an “opinion” (for example, “of attaining” in hope).3 For Spinoza, too, there are three “primitive or primary” emotions,—desire, pleasure, and pain. Love, then, is pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause.4 Hatred is pain, similarly accompanied, and so on. Spinoza analyzes three dozen emotions each as a pleasure, pain, or desire arising from or accompanied by some idea (for example, in fear and hope and inconstant pain/pleasure accompanied by some uncertainty about the future). It's not exactly atomic theory (preceding Dalton by almost two centuries) but, as Spinoza intended, it pretends to the precision of the hard sciences. In the eighteenth century a great many philosophers (including Hume, Rousseau and Adam Smith) wrote essays and treatises on human nature, identifying the basic elements of the mind and the basic emotions (their favorites were sympathy and self-love) which were the foundation for all of the more complex and sophisticated human sentiments and emotions. Hume was explicit and straightforward in admitting that it was Newton's physics that he emulated in his development of a model of mind.

In their enumeration of competing lists, Ortony and Turner include, for example, Watson's (1930) minimal list of three, fear, love and rage, Izard's (1971) list of ten (anger, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, guilt, interest, joy, shame and surprise), Ekman's (1982) list of six (anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and surprise), Panksepp's (1982) list of four (expectancy, fear, rage and panic), Kemper's (1987) list of three (fear, anger, depression and satisfaction), Oatley's (1987) list of five (happiness, sadness, anxiety, anger and disgust) and Frijda's (1986) list of six. (They do not include the lists from modern philosophers—Descartes and Spinoza, for instance, but the similarities and overlaps should be obvious.) Ortony and Turner rightly raise the question whether some of the inclusions (e.g. interest, surprise) are emotions, much less basic emotions, but mainly, they raise the doubt whether the rampant disagreement about the number and identity of the basic emotions and the “disorder” of the various lists signals some basic confusion in the search for basic emotions in the first place.


and see The Passions by Robert C. Solomon, and Ortony et al, Cognitive Structures of Emotion, p. 19.

plutchik's basics: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust

" * The Li Chi: Joy, anger, sadness, fear, love, disliking and liking (1st Century BC Chinese encyclopedia, cited in Russell 1991: 426). * The Stoics: Pleasure/delight, distress, appetite and fear (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, iv: 13-15). * René Descartes: Wonder, love, hatred, desire, joy and sadness (Passions, 353). * Baruch Spinoza: Pleasure, pain and desire (Ethics, pt. III, prop. 59). * Thomas Hobbes: Appetite, desire, love, aversion, hate, joy and grief (Leviathan, pt. I, ch. 6). * Paul Ekman (1972): Anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. * Paul Ekman (1999): Amusement, anger, contempt, contentment, disgust, embarrassment, excitement, fear, guilt, happiness, pride in achievement, relief, sadness/distress, satisfaction, sensory pleasure, shame, and surprise. * Jesse Prinz (2004): Frustration, panic, anxiety, physical disgust, separation distress, aversive self-consciousness, " --

in his book, solomon mentions "anger, love, fear, hate, guilt, grief, jealousy", among many others, and classifies them according to direction, scope and focus, the nature of the object, criteria, personal status, evaluations, responsibility, intersubjectivity, distance, mythology, power, desire, power, strategy. direction, scope and focus, the nature of the object are all constraints on the "target" of the emotion. criteria and evaluations are about evaluating things like gain/loss, offensiveness, praiseworthiness, right/wrong, and what the criteria are for the evaluation. mythology is like artificial intelligence's concept of script. strategy is how you can use the emotion to make yourself feel better (i.e. an ulterior motive for having it). desire is what you would like to have happen when you feel it. distance is intimacy, familiarity. not sure about power: mb power is how much power you have to have to be allowed to feel it, and what power feeling it gives you. intersubjectivity is comraderie (even the comraderie of hated mutually acknowledged peer enemies) or the feeling that you and the target are on the same team.

also, i'm not sure how useful it is to design a computer system to provide explicit formal mechanisms for one entity to assert that another is lower status, which seems to be part of contempt, and disgust (although disgust could also be expressed towards non-entities). frankly, i wish these phenomena didn't exist between humans, and i'm not clear what their usefulness is, but maybe there is a use that i don't understand; after all, they were selected by evolution for somethin.


despite the reservations above, i'll list here the synthesis i foreshadowed above.

we replace each emotion by an assertion.

rather than have 'complex' assertions which are direct products of various dimensions, or equivalently sums of basis ('basic') assertions, i'll just list only basic assertions.

all expressions can be negated. if no negation is listed, that's my way of saying that the default assumption in the absence of an expression is the negation -- this doesn't preclude the use of the negation in reply to someone one's assertion otherwise. where there is a negations listed, the default assumption is an unlisted neutral/third assertion. e.g. the default w/r/t surprise is not to be surprised, which is the opposite of surprise, but the default w/r/t goodness is neutrality, which is neither good nor bad. in this case it is also possible to positively assert this neutral state.

I put variables in caps. PERSON can apply only to an agent or group of agents (to which is attributed collective agency). TARGET is something that can apply to a non-agent (usually an actual or potential event). PERSON

TARGET can be apply to anything, agent or not. SELF is not really a variable, but something that is like PERSON but applies to the speaker. Some of these can have gradations or subtypes, rather than being binary; this isn't noted. It is noted when some expressions can or must occur as a reply to others (when the replier is the PERSON indicated in the prior expression). All expressions, in addition, can follow another instance of the same one or its negation, in order to agree or dispute what was said.
PERSON: TARGET is good/bad
TARGET: PERSON is more powerful than me/us, or TARGET is powerful enough to threaten me/us in certain situations (can be reply to powerful)