Previously, the only scientifically identified basic human emotions were happy, sad, fearful, angry, surprised, and disgusted. In a new study published in the journal PNAS, scientists have added 15 new "compound" emotions to that list, which were created by making different combinations of the six basic emotions. Now, you can feel such exciting new sensations as "fearfully surprised" or "sadly disgusted!"
The basic six emotion categories were determined based on the facial muscles humans use to express emotions. But human feelings are definitely more complicated than just what the physical face displays and scientists understand this.
Aleix Martinez, an associate professor at Ohio State University, says that the problem with labeling and identifying emotions is that scientists "cannot fully understand our cognitive system ... if we do not study the full rainbow of expressions that our brain can produce."
But why is labeling these "new" emotions important, other than to create more scientifically-accurate Emoji? Martinez and his team say that these compound emotions will help future research in the areas of PTSD and developmental disorders such as autism. Face blindness, a cognitive disorder in which people are unable to differentiate between people's faces or easily recognize their emotions, may also benefit from this new research.
Scientists also believe that mapping the human spectrum of emotion is especially useful for making robots who will be able to more accurately understand what humans are feeling:
It could also be used to create better human-computer interaction systems.
In Japan, for instance, engineers are trying to create a robot that can interact naturally with humans, Martinez says. Japan's rapidly aging population is lacking young caretakers, and this robot could be a companion to the elderly.
"In order to do that, you need to have a system that can recognize the expressions of the user," Martinez says.
Because exactly what this world needs are robot "caretakers" who can feel such natural human emotions as "fearfully angry" and "disgustingly sad." Start building the fallout shelters now, the emotionally expressive robots are coming.