Hannah Sharkstone en Lifestyle, Writing, College 27/2/2018 · 1 min de lectura · +900

Are Emotions Universal?

Emotions are both the most common of human experiences and the most problematic

to explain. Social scientists have argued over their universality, such as by listing basic

expressions found in all cultures or noting the appearance of emotions in other species.

Are Emotions Universal?

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash

Philosophers and psychologists have attempted to find universal emotions by

examining human behavior, comparing different cultures, and studying other species. Even in

ancient Greece, there were the same divided opinions that we see today. Plato and Aristotle

regarded emotions as an inherent part of humanity, whereas the Stoics saw emotions as

childish and strove to eliminate them entirely from their lives (Knuuttila 6).

In modern times, American psychologist Paul Ekman did important work finding that

there were six basic emotions: happiness, surprise, fear, sadness, anger, and disgust (Ekman

550). His research centered on the physiological and sociological basis of these emotions.

These six emotions are all caused by experiences that humans and animals share, whether

that involves finding food, love, and companionship or confronting foes, injury, and death.

Charles Darwin examined how expressions are performed by muscles and nerves, and

concluded that the same general principles can be applied with satisfactory results, both to

man and the lower animals (Darwin 18). Evolution seems the best argument in favor of

emotions in other species, since the physical structures that perform such involuntary

expressions are shared by numerous species to different degrees.

The idea that emotions are universal will continue to be controversial, but all the

evidence seems to be in support of it being correct. Whether living in an apartment, a hut, or

a burrow, countless species experience similar emotions. What a pleasing thought!

Works Cited

Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. London: John

Murray, 1873.

Writing tips for students - writemypapersonline.com blog post

Ekman, Paul. Are There Basic Emotions? Psychological Review, vol. 99, no. 3, 1992, pp.


Knuuttila, Simo. Emotions in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. New York: Oxford

University Press, 2004.

Thank you @Hannah Sharkstone for sharing this buzz. It coincides witha buzz that I published yesterday on values and emotions and how complex this issue can be.

It surprises me how simple issues seem to be and only when we dive into them that we find their complexity with no assured answers and definite definitions. I tag @Harvey Lloyd and @🐝 Fatima G. Williams for they may wish to share their thoughts here as well.

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Thank you for interesting post, @Hannah Sharkstone, and welcome to beBee.

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