Emozioni base e non

The Economist, December 23rd 2006, “Captain Kirk’s Revenge”

Most neuroscientists now recognise six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and surprise. […] From the 70s onwards, Dr Paul Ekman, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, was responsible for the general agreement on the six basic emotions. He showed that the facial expressions associated with these emotions are universal, and therefore almost certainly plumbed in genetically. […]

The list of higher emotions is not as well defined as that of the baser ones, but they include things such as guilt, embarrassment, shame and sympathy. What they have in common is that they depend not merely on what the person feeling them thinks about others, but on what the person feeling them thinks other are thinking about them. It is not the guilt or shame of the act itself, but the risk of being found out that provokes the emotion.

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