Plutchik's wheel of emotions is an infograph that uses the color wheel to illustrate variations in human affect and the relationship among emotions. Current applications of the wheel of emotion include robotics and sentiment analysis.
Psychologist Robert Plutchik created the 2D wheel and a conical 3D version in 1980 as a tool for understanding his psychoevolutionary theory of emotion. Plutchik identified eight primary emotions, which he coordinated in pairs of opposites: joy versus sadness; trust versus disgust; fear versus anger and anticipation versus surprise. Intensity of emotion and indicator color increases toward the center of the wheel and decreases outward: At the center, terror, for example, becomes fear and then apprehension; ecstasy becomes joy and then serenity. Secondary emotions are displayed as combinations of the primary ones: Acceptance and apprehension combine to create submission, for example.
In his ZDNet blog, Gery Menegaz described how ConveyAPI, a web service that interfaces with a text analysis engine, applies the wheel of emotions to sentiment analysis for social media monitoring. ConveyAPI uses the concepts of Plutchik's wheel of emotions in text analysis to identify the polarity (positive or negative) and attribute specific emotions and their intensity.
Menegaz was at the Los Angeles International Airport and used this tweet to test ConveyAPI: “United Airlines system wide outage has everyone stranded at LAX. Manually checking in. Lines out the door – literally.” The service returned the following analysis:
- Polarity: Negative – with a confidence level of .56
- Emotion: Anger – with a confidence level of .27
- Intensity: Low – with a confidence level of .14
- Spam: Not spam – with a confidence level of .46