MonthNovember 2015

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Merriam-Webster defines Love as,

: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person

: attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship

: a person you love in a romantic way

With Love, we begin a series of eight primary blend emotions formed by combinations of the first 8 “basic” emotions. The first pair of primary blend emotions are Love and Remorse. Using this framework, we could define Love as a combination of Happiness and Trust emotions.

Love has been endlessly discussed and debated. In fact, the Ancient Greeks teased out several different flavors of Love:

  • Philia – friendship or brotherly love
  • Pragma – mature love of lifelong partners
  • Agape – selfless love, love for all humanity
  • Ludus – playful affection, flirting
  • Philautia – self love of two different kinds, narcissistic and positive
  • Eros – intimate love, sexual passion and desire
  • Storge – familial love, e.g., love of parent towards offspring

When there are so many different meanings captured under the same word, it is difficult to have a single definition of Love. But, in general, we can see that Love involves feeling for someone or something else. The artists developed their sketches for the Caricature and Watercolor series, using this aspect of feeling for someone else in their images.

In the Caricature series, the artist depicted two hearts close to each other. The hearts are in physical contact with each other, and they have smiles on their faces, showing that they are Happy to be together. The sketch clearly communicates the feeling of Love.

The emotion Love in the Caricature series of sketches.

The emotion Love in the Caricature series of sketches.

The artist for the Watercolor series, choose a different image for the sketch for Love. In the sketch we see a hand offering a red rose. The image clearly conveys the emotion of Love between two human beings.


The emotion Love in the Watercolor series of sketches.

The emotion Love in the Watercolor series of sketches.

Restless in Anticipation

Merriam-Webster defines Anticipation as,

: a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen

: the act of preparing for something

Anticipation is the opposite emotion pair with Surprise. While Surprise arises when something does not happen as predicted or when there is an unanticipated event, Anticipation is different. Anticipation is the emotion when we prepare for and expect a specific result. With Anticipation, we project ourselves into the future, visualize a result, and then experience the emotions we will feel in the future.

We use Anticipation to prepare for different future outcomes. We imagine ourselves in these different futures, and think of our emotions in each different situation. These outcomes may be positive or negative, and so Anticipation enables us to experience different emotions without actually experiencing those situations. For example:

  • Excitement or Happiness – When we buy a lottery ticket or when we gamble, we anticipate our emotion if we were to win. We have a sense of pleasure or excitement when that will happen. We may also have a sense of happiness as we think about how we could spend the huge amount of money we will win.
  • Remorse – When we go shopping and like two items, but can buy only one of them. We think, “Will I regret not buying the other item?” We Anticipate the remorse in buying the wrong item.
  • Anxiety – When we go into our doctor’s office to hear a diagnosis, we visualize many different possible outcomes. As we Anticipate which one of these scenarios will come true, we worry about the suffering associated with each scenario and suffer from anxiety.
  • Stress – We have to give a speech in front of an audience. We feel our sweaty palms, the racing heart, and the shortness of breath. We Anticipate different outcomes while speaking – whether it will be well received or if we will forget what we have to say – leading to a feeling of stress.
  • Fear – We sit in the waiting for a root canal in a Dentist’s office, and we tell ourselves the story that it will hurt, that it will take a long time, that we won’t be able to eat. We Anticipate physical discomfort and feel fear at the upcoming procedure.

Because the emotion of Anticipation helps us imagine a rich set of different emotions, it is widely used in popular culture.

Carly Simon sings of Anticipation in her popular song.

Advertisers use Anticipation to create memorable commercials, as in this classic Heinz Ketchup TV commercial.

In the Caricature series of sketches, the artist uses the image of a human being watching sand trickle down the hourglass bulb. Something is going to happen as the top bulb empties out. We can see the complete focus on the event and the thoughts running their head. Physically, excitement is demonstrated through the hands on the hourglass, the closeness to the body, the raised eyebrows, and the smile. The person is excited in Anticipation of the event.

The emotion Anticipation in the Caricature series of sketches.

The emotion Anticipation in the Caricature series of sketches.

The Watercolors artist used a different approach. Here we are the audience watching the sketch, and we see the human hand with the ball and the dog panting in expectation. We can Anticipate exactly what will happen next. The human will throw the ball and the dog will dart after it. The dog will clench the ball in its mouth and bound back to its master with a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure. Our Anticipation of events is clear and unambiguous.

The emotion Anticipation in the Watercolor series of sketches.

The emotion Anticipation in the Watercolor series of sketches.

It Took Me by Surprise

Merriam-Webster defines Surprise as,

: an unexpected event, piece of information, etc.

: an unexpected gift, party, etc.

: the feeling caused by something that is unexpected or unusual

Surprise, the emotion defined by its brevity, arises when something predicted does not happen as expected, or when something unexpected occurs. Surprise is neutral, just a recognition of the unexpected. But as we process the unexpected and understand the implications, the emotion of Surprise rapidly gives way to other emotions – Happiness if the event was gladly received, Fear if there is danger accompanying the event, or Anger if the event is upsetting.

Surprise brings us new information, as our mental model of the world is challenged and reality differs from the expected turn of events, or when completely unexpected events occur. Being forced to reassess our expectations leads to new learning as we are faced with our ignorance. We pay attention with our mind empty of other thoughts. Then, as we process the implications, other strong emotions – like [Happiness]((, Fear and Anger – flood our mind with feeling. This is why we remember a Surprise years after the event, and why advertisers use Surprise to aid advertising recall.

A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square

Surprise is accompanied by distinctive facial expressions. When we are surprised, we open our eyes wide enough to show the whites, raise our eyebrows so high that they are curved, and open our mouth with our jaw dropped, lips and teeth parted. These distinctive expressions help us take in the maximum information and alert others that we are experiencing something unexpected.

Surprise is different from startle. Startle is a brief, reflex action that we feel even if we expect the event, e.g., the starting gun in a race, whereas a Surprise, by definition, is an unexpected event. Finally, when we are surprised, our eyes are open, but when we are startled, our eyes are tightly closed.

In the Caricature series of sketches, the artist shows someone turning the handle on a Jack-in-the-Box. We don’t know when and what will pop out of the box, and are surprised when it happens. The unpredictability and randomness of the top opening can be endlessly amusing for a child.


The emotion Surprise in the Caricature series of sketches.

The artist for Watercolors prepared a sketch showing a human hand opening the ribbon tied on a gift box. When we open the ribbon and take off the lid, we don’t know what to expect inside the box. When we see what is inside the gift box we first feel Surprise, and then, as we interpret the meaning of the object, another emotion like Happiness, Fear, Anger or Disgust, etc.


The emotion Surprise in the Watercolor series of sketches.

Imagine my Disgust

Merriam-Webster defines Disgust as,

: a strong feeling of dislike for something that has a very unpleasant appearance, taste, smell, etc.

: annoyance and anger that you feel toward something because it is not good, fair, appropriate, etc.

Disgust is a universal emotion of aversion or disapproval. Disgust is strongly linked to our senses of taste and smell. We feel Disgust when we experience something that is revolting, repulsive, offensive or unpleasant. We also feel Disgust when someone violates rules or values. In these cases, Disgust is associated with our vision of purity being violated and not with what is harmful/dangerous or just/unjust. This is what distinguishes Disgust from Fear or Anger.

Disgust helps warn us that something may cause us harm. There are some universal objects that evoke Disgust in humans – bodily secretions, body parts, decaying food, certain living creatures, visible signs of infection or illness.

Trust and Disgust are opposite emotions. Trust creates cooperation and bonding, while Disgust expresses revulsion and disapproval. Trust is fostered by physical contact, Disgust is expressed by withdrawal and reluctance. These emotions also have strong physiological components. Trust increases heart rate, while heart rate slows down when we feel Disgust.

Disgust is characterized by specific facial expressions. When we feel Disgust we draw up and wrinkle our noses, open our mouths and pull down the corners of our lips, jerk our heads backwards, narrow or partially close our eyes, and make sounds of “ugh” or “eew”.

In the Caricatures series of sketches, the artist displays the facial expression of disgust. We see the drawn and wrinkled nose, the upturned lips with the corners down, creasing of the forehead, the narrowed eyes and raised eyebrows. Whatever the person is seeing evokes and clearly communicates Disgust to observers.


The emotion Disgust in the Watercolor series of sketches.

The artist for the Watercolor series of sketches choose to represent the “revulsion” aspect of Disgust. We see someone with a bowl of soup, and as they bring up the soup spoon to their mouth, we see the fly in the spoon. A list of questions immediately rises in our mind – Did I eat the soup before I saw the fly in the soup? How could I have missed the fly? We want to fling the spoon and the soup away from us – this is the feeling of Disgust.


The emotion Disgust in the Watercolor series of sketches.

A Matter of Trust

Merriam-Webster defines trust as,

: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

: an arrangement in which someone’s property or money is legally held or managed by someone else or by an organization (such as a bank) for usually a set period of time

: an organization that results from the creation of a trust

When we feel Trust about someone or something, we make several assumptions – of prediction, interdependence, belief and reciprocity. There is risk in making these assumptions.

First, we have a mental model that predicts how someone will behave in the future situations. We envision different scenarios and believe we know how these scenarios will unfold. This reduces anxiety and worry, and allows us to be open and vulnerable.

Second, we are open and vulnerable about our emotions, without concern that the other person will take advantage of our openness. We believe that they will treat our openness with compassion and understanding. We expect that they will not use it for their own benefit, or harm us with the information we disclose.

Third, without full knowledge of their intentions or motivations, we believe someone will do what they promise. We give up something valuable or precious, without certainty that the other person will behave as we expect. But we believe the positive intent of the other person.

Finally, Trust requires future delivery of reciprocity. We give up something now, and believe that the other person has the ability (not just the intent) to do what we expect in the future. So we act now – we share resources, insights, feelings, etc., knowing that in future, should we need that help, it will be offered to us.

Trust involves risk that these assumptions will not be true. We may be wrong about our prediction of someone’s behavior. Our confidences may be shared in ways we did not expect. People may not have the intent or ability to follow through in the way we presume. Trust is so essential for cooperation, information sharing, problem solving, and conflict resolution that we accept these risks.

In the Caricature series of Sketches, the artist displays two people shaking hands to symbolize Trust. Shaking hands involves touching which is a very important to establish and convey Trust. Our skin is the largest organ, the first sense that brings us information of the outside world, and a very important way to share emotional signals that symbolize Trust. This sketch is an elegant way to demonstrate the emotion of Trust.


The emotion Trust in the Caricature series of sketches.

The Watercolors artist approached Trust differently. Trust is an emotion that is shared by living beings. For the sketch, the artist displayed a bird sitting on a human hand, pecking and eating the food offered in the hand. The bird has overcome the natural suspicion and fear of its species to Trust a human. It is a wonderful demonstration of Trust across species.


The emotion Trust in the Watercolor series of sketches.

Is Anger Bad?


Merriam-Webster defines anger as, “a strong feeling of being upset or annoyed because of something wrong or bad : the feeling that makes someone want to hurt other people, to shout, etc. : the feeling of being angry”.

When we feel fear, it is because of an imminent physical threat. But anger is provoked by something we hear or see which makes us feel wronged, makes us feel our boundaries have been violated. Without even knowing it we can cycle very quickly from fear to anger, e.g., when we swerve to avert a collision in traffic. The incipient fear of an accident is instantaneously replaced by anger at the other driver’s poor driving.

Fear and anger result in arousal of our central nervous system. But while fear makes us feel cold and clammy, with anger we feel heat and fire. Physically, our heart rate and blood pressure increases, our muscles tense and make us quiver and shake. Our mind is turbulent – we feel wronged, that what is happening is unjust, unfair or undeserved. Our actions signal this agitation in body and mind – we yell or scream, clench our teeth, tense our body and want to explode, hit something or someone.

Anger has many benefits. Anger helps us express our value system and morals when we feel something is unfair or unjust, and it can motivate us to reach our goals in the face of problems and barriers. Anger is a signal to others that we are upset and annoyed, that there is a problem that needs to be resolved. Anger can help us understand our needs and come up with a plan to meet those needs.

We are also aware that there are many downsides of anger when we do not manage it well. Anger makes people uncomfortable and can lead to poor choices and outcomes.

In the Caricatures series of sketches, the artist has displayed anger through faces turned away from each other. Each feels wronged over some injustice or unfairness, and because of their anger, they are not communicating. Their emotions are hot, faces are red, steam is rising above their heads. Each is waiting for the other to make the first move to resolve the situation. We’ve all been in this situation in our relationships.


The emotion Anger in the Caricature series of sketches.

In the Watercolors series of sketches, the artist shows a human eye with a burning flame to communicate the idea that anger is a fire inside us. Fire shows how strongly we feel at being wronged, while the visibility of the blaze communicates the feeling of anger to others.


The emotion Anger in the Watercolor series of sketches.

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