Researchers have found names for emotions we didn't know we have
If you saw Inside Out, you may think you have the major emotions down. But now, a new book, The Book of Human Emotions by Tiffany Watt Smith, reveals names for 154 emotions you probably never knew you had, like “malu” and “awumbuk.” (Guesses, anyone?) Or, you had them but didn’t know what to call them. Enter Smith’s book. Problem solved.
Smith is a research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, and was drawn to her research by improved understanding of how emotions work. “It’s this idea that what we mean by ‘emotion’ has evolved,” she said to Science of Us, reported CNN. “It’s now a physical thing — you can see a location of it in the brain.”
Yep, scientists can now point out exactly where certain feelings are within our heads, all through brain-imaging studies. In fact, back in 2013, a study was published wherein psychologists found neural correlates for nine renowned emotions (anger, disgust, envy, fear, happiness, lust, pride, sadness, and shame).
In Smith’s book, there are dozens of words for emotions you probably didn’t even know you were experiencing — and she gathered the words from around the world. Pretty cool. “It’s a long-held idea that if you put a name to a feeling, it can help that feeling become less overwhelming,” Smith said. “All sorts of stuff that’s swirling around and feeling painful can start to feel a bit more manageable.”
CNN gave an example of ten words from Smith’s book, and we broke them down for you here. Chances are, you experience many of these emotions already — but now, you can finally call them by name. (Bonus points if you actually start using them in conversation.)
This is defined as “leaning on another person’s goodwill,” Smith said. It’s a Japanese word that means “indulgent dependency.”
2. L’appel du vide
“L’appel du vide” is French for “the call of the void.” To understand it better, Urban Dictionary describes it as “that tiny voice that tells you to jerk the steering wheel just to the right and take a flying leap off the ledge.” Sounds about right.
This is “the feeling of heaviness and sorrow you feel after your guests have departed,” states The Inky Fool. We can all probably relate, right? The word stems from the Baining people in the mountains of Papua New Guinea.
This is when you push someone’s buttons just to see if you can. The word appeared in a 1984 book titled The Deeper Meaning of Liff: A Dictionary of Things There Aren’t Any Words for Yet–But There Ought to Be by author Douglas Adams and TV comedy producer John Lloyd. Adams and Lloyd described it as when you are “very much inclined to see how far you can push someone.”
This occurs when someone does something unexpected or unusual, creating “the feeling of being an outsider.” For instance, if you go abroad and do something ordinary to us here in the U.S., like tip waiters in Europe, even though it’s not the norm there.
Smith refers to this as “the ‘strange excitement’ of wanton destruction,” and cites sociologist Roger Caillois, who “traced ilinx back to the practices of ancient mystics who by whirling and dancing hoped to induce rapturous trance states and glimpse alternative realities,” she said. “Today, even succumbing to the urge to create a minor chaos by kicking over the office recycling bin should give you a mild hit.”
This is a Finnish word for when you’re homesick for a place… though you haven’t actually been there. It can also mean wanderlust (which, TBH, many of us probably suffer from).
In her book, Smith says that the Dusun Baguk people of Indonesia refer to malu as “the sudden experience of feeling constricted, inferior and awkward around people of higher status.” But, it’s a sign of good manners in their culture, she says.
Pronoia is the opposite of paranoia and the word was coined by sociologist Fred Goldner. It’s the “strange, creeping feeling that everyone’s out to help you,” Smith writes. Aww, that sounds nice.
This means “gate-shut-panic.” In other words, time is running out (so get busy!). This German word from the Middle Ages apparently described peasants rushing to get back into the city before the gates closed at night. Medieval procrastinators? We hear you.