The hidden logic behind emotions

Love and hate are not opposed

For almost a century, conventional wisdom held that emotions from happiness to sadness, anticipation to surprise, and anger to terror were opposites. And like primary colours, they could be combined to create other emotions like ‘guilt’ or ‘delight’. Such an idea is deeply flawed argues philosopher of psychology and neuroscience, Juan R. Loaiza. The metaphor of colour should be replaced by a new analogy – sound – to describe more meaningfully the complexity of human emotional experience.


From happiness to sadness, anticipation to surprise and anger to terror, we tend to think emotions have opposites. In fact, these ideas are baked deep into our culture. But under closer inspection, this idea falls apart. To understand why, we need to look a little at the history of psychology.

Psychologists and thinkers have tried to sttudy the structure of emotions and the relationships between them by using the metaphor of colour circles. Presuma

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