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Historical Review

Models of the basic emotions

What is mood for?

Antonio R. Damasio

July-August, 2001

The Nature of Emotions
Human emotions have deep evolutionary roots, a fact that may explain their complexity and provide tools for clinical practice

Robert Plutchik

emotions, evolutionary psychology, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, circumplex model

What is an emotion? More than 90 definitions have been offered over the past century, and there are almost as many theories of emotion—not to mention a complex array of overlapping words in our languages to describe them. Plutchik offers an integrative theory based on evolutionary principles. Emotions are adaptive—in fact, they have a complexity born of a long evolutionary history--and although we conceive of emotions as feeling states, Plutchik says the feeling state is part of a process involving both cognition and behavior and containing several feedback loops.

Robert Plutchik is professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has authored or coauthored more than 260 articles, 45 chapters and eight books and has edited seven books. His research interests include the study of emotions, the study of suicide and violence and the study of the psychotherapy process. Address for Plutchik: 4505 Deer Creek Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34238. Internet:



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