What Emotions Look Like

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Design educator Orlagh O’Brien earned an M.A., attention in her field, and lots more with Emotionally}Vague, a survey of 250 people that attempted to figure out how people experienced emotions in a “systematic but playful way.” Among other things, she tried to map out what emotions ‘look like’ by layering drawings people drew to represent different emotions and averaging them out.

From left to right, above, are “anger,” “joy,” “fear,” “sadness,” and “love.” Click the image to see it fully-sized.

O’Brien also collected words people associated with emotions and tallied them up. The most frequent ten words for each, from more to less frequent:

Anger: people, when, injustice, me, in, being, rudeness, my-someone (tie), bad-I-the-to-lies-of (tie)

Joy: friends, music, with, my, a, family-when (tie), good, the, and, I-people (tie), sunshine

Fear: the, of, in, being, death, alone-heights (tie), people-when (tie), dark-darkness (tie), control-I-not-snakes-to (tie)

Sadness: death, people, of, the, when, being-loss (tie), in, my-someone (tie), I, and-family (tie)

Love: family, my, friends, people, and-with, a, being, I-love-the (tie), in-when (tie), to, boyfriend, children-girlfriend-me-someone-you-kindness-of (tie)

There are many more fascinating results at Emotionally}Vague, including full word lists, color charts associated with each emotion, and further explanation of how the study was conducted.

(Emotionally}Vague via Reddit)


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