Motivation and emotion/Lectures/Individual emotions

Lecture 09: Individual emotions

Resource type: this resource contains a lecture or lecture notes.

This is the ninth lecture for the Motivation and emotion unit of study.


This lecture discusses 20 specific emotions. The emotions are organised into three categories:

  • basic (7)
  • self-conscious (5)
  • cognitively complex (8)

Take-home message:

  • By learning about specific emotions, our emotional repertoire becomes more sophisticated and complex. This makes us more likely to have adaptive emotional responses in different situations.

Emotion categoriesEdit


Motivations generated by specific emotionsEdit

  • Emotions are purposeful.
  • Typical motivational urges generated by specific emotions are shown in Table 1.
  • These motivational can also be understood as:
    • "action tendencies" or
    • "functions served through adaptive response".

Table 1

Motivational Urge Generated by Specific Emotions (based on Reeve (2018, p. 340))

Emotion Motivational urge
Fear Flee; protect oneself.
Anger Overcome obstacles; right an illegitimate wrong.
Disgust Reject; get rid of; get away from.
Contempt Maintain dominance and social hierarchy.
Sadness Repair a loss or failure.
Joy Continue goal striving; play; engage in social interaction.
Interest Explore; seek; acquire new information; learn.
Shame Restore the self; protect the self.
Guilt Make amends.
Embarrassment Appease others; communicate blunder was unintended.
Pride (Authentic) Acquire further skill; persist at challenging tasks.
Triumph Display dominance and power over the defeated.
Envy (Benign) Move up; improve one’s position.
Gratitude Act prosocially; grow the relationship.
Disappointment Give up; helplessness
Regret Undo a poor decision or behaviour.
Hope Keep engaged in pursuit of a desired goal.
Schadenfreude Reinforce feelings of superiority.
Empathy Act prosocially; help the other.
Compassion Reduce suffering.

Note. Links go to motivation and emotion book chapters


  1. Chapter 14: Individual emotions (Reeve, 2018)


See alsoEdit




O'Connell, B. H., O'Shea, D., & Gallagher, S. (2017). Feeling thanks and saying thanks: A randomized controlled trial examining if and how socially oriented gratitude journals work. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 73(10), 1280–1300.

External linksEdit