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The Sentimenti tools are evolving. At the moment we are entering into further and more advanced stages of tools development. In this article, however, we return to the roots of our project. It is worth mentioning what we actually measure and how do we understand particular emotions. And this is only the tip of an iceberg!

The easiest way to understand our concept is to use a ready-made description, created for the purposes of a certain project (whose Sentimenti tools are a tangible effect), developed by our researchers, Monika Riegel, PhD and Małgorzata Wierzba, PhD from Laboratory of Brain Imaging – Neurobiology Center, Polish Academy of Sciences.

Sentimenti tools. Definition of affective dimensions:

Valence, a sign of emotion and sentiment

  • determines whether a given information or event evokes negative or positive emotions in us;
  • has a range from negative emotions (caused by averse events) to positive emotions (caused by attractive events);
  • the more positively we evaluate the information and events we experience, the more positive emotions are evoked in us;
  • the more negative the information and events we experience, the more negative emotions evoke in us.

Emotional arousal

  • determines the level of intensity of our emotions in relation to a given information or event;
  • It ranges from no excitement (indifference) to strong excitement (agitation or excitement);
  • Strong Arousal means a state of increased vigilance, attention and information processing;
  • Arousal plays a key role in motivating our body to take certain actions;
  • Arousal is also associated with specific physiological and neural responses (e.g. increased heart rate, accelerated breathing).

Basic emotions and their definitions

sentimenti emocje radość JOY

  • Joy includes many positive emotions felt in response to what is known or new;
  • we signal joy through a sincere, authentic smile, which consists of lifting the corners of the mouth diagonally upwards and tension in the circular muscles of the eye (lifting the cheeks and creating wrinkles around the eyes with age);
  • joy is also shown by voice signals – breathing with relief or laughing or giggling;
  • the main message of joy is “I like it”, so our support or encouragement for something.

sentimenti emocje smutek SADNESS

  • The feeling of sadness is a way to deal with loss and show others that we need support;
  • Sadness signals include wrinkled lips (lower lip slightly raised and corners of the mouth lowered), inner corners of eyebrows joined and raised to the center of the forehead, raised cheeks;
  • other manifestations of sadness are tears, as well as vocalisation expressing this emotion (weeping, trembling voice);
  • The main message of sorrow is “comfort me”, and therefore an invitation to others to show us their support and care.

sentimenti emocje zaufanie TRUST

  • means believing that someone or something will behave in accordance with our expectations;
  • feeling of trust brings us a sense of security and builds affection;
  • The main message of trust is “I believe you won’t let me down”, it allows us to build not only intimate relationships with others, but also to find our place in society;
  • Interestingly, we are more confident in faces similar to ours.

sentimenti emocje wstręt DISGUST

  • The feeling of disgust with something allows us to avoid things that are harmful to us, both in the literal physical and mental sense;
  • there are three elements of facial expressions expressing repulsion: the first is the ejection of the tongue reminiscent of spitting something out, the second is the lifting of the upper lip so that the gums and teeth are exposed, the third is the wrinkle of the nose and the expansion of the nostrils;
  • the main message of disgust is to “go away from it”, which also signals to others to avoid the object of disgust because it is unhealthy, contaminated or reprehensible (socially or morally).

sentimenti emocje złość ANGER

  • we feel anger when something blocks us or when we feel treated unfairly;
  • when anger is uncontrollable, we raise our voice and scream, and when we have control over it, we take a sharp, attacking tone;
  • the signal of anger on our face is a flash in our eyes, lowered eyebrows and squeezed lips;
  • When people receive a signal of anger, they usually feel hurt and may try to take revenge by also showing anger;
  • The main message of anger is to “get out of my way”, with a range from discontent to threat or attack, depending on the severity.

sentimenti emocje strach FEAR

  • the fear of danger allows us to prepare for something that threatens us;
  • and the most common signal of fear are wide open eyes, stretched lips and raised, joined eyebrows;
  • the feeling of fear can also be accompanied by a reaction of avoidance. In example it is moving away from the source of fear, or dying;
  • strong fear may be accompanied by an outburst of screaming, as well as signals such as heavy breathing, a slightly back-facing head and tense neck muscles;
  • the main message of fear is “help!”, ranging from anxiety to panic, depending on the severity.

sentimenti emocje oczekiwanie EXPECTATION

  • an emotion involving excitement or anxiety in anticipation of upcoming events;
  • Expectation is used to reduce the tension or stress associated with the challenge ahead by imagining it and developing a strategy to deal with it;
  • The main message of the expectation is “I’m waiting for what will happen”. The ability to anticipate the effects of our actions in the future is essential for enjoying life.

sentimenti emocje zaskoczenie SURPRISE

  • emotion felt in reaction to unexpected events, expressing the discrepancy between our expectations and reality;
  • the signs of surprise are raised and curved eyebrows, transverse wrinkles on the forehead, wide open eyes and enlarged pupils;
  • is also visible through the lowered jaw, the separation of the upper and lower lips and teeth, the relaxation of the mouth
    the surprise can be negative or positive;
  • the main message of a surprise is “I didn’t expect it”. Although it ranges from light to very strong (the “run away or fight” reaction), depending on the intensity.

Emotion diads

Between 1960 and 1980, an American psychologist developed his theory of emotions. He decided to start with the eight basic emotions. According to Robert Plutchik’s theory of emotions, because it is referred to when different emotions are felt at the same time, they can create more complex types of emotions called diads. Diads arise from related but not opposing (mutually exclusive) emotions. The Sentimenti tools can analyze emotions based on 8 basic emotions. We stand out:

The basic diads (often felt):

  • joy + trust → love
  • trust + fear → humility, submissiveness
  • fear + surprise → agitation, fear, horror
  • surprise + sadness → disappointment
  • sadness + disgust→ Repentance, repentance
  • disgust + anger → contempt, envy
  • anger + expectation → aggression, aggressiveness, aggressiveness
  • expectation + joy → optimism

Secondary diads (sometimes felt):

  • joy + fear → guilt
  • trust + surprise → curiosity
  • fear + sadness → despair
  • surprise + revulsion → shock
  • sadness + anger → suffering
  • disgust + expectation → cynicism
  • anger + joy → pride
  • expectation + trust → fatality

Tertiary diads (less common):

  • joy + surprise → admiration
  • trust + sadness → sentimentalism
  • fear + disgust → shame
  • surprise + anger → indignation
  • sadness + expectation → pessimism
  • disgust + joy → pathology
  • anger + trust → domination
  • expectation + fear → anxiety


  • joy + sadness → conflict
    trust + disgust → conflict,
    fear + anger → conflict
    surprise + expectation → conflict