How Can Emotion be Designed into Jewellery? Part 4 – The Atlas of Emotions


The Dali Lama is the leader of the Buddhist faith, believed to be the 14th reincarnation of the same spiritual leader.

Although exiled from Tibet, he still believes in peace and that science and religion don’t conflict. He approached Paul Ekmann, working with 248 other Emotional Scientists. Paul Eckmann's work is discussed in the 2nd blog in this series. His idea, explained in this video, was to help develop a calm mind by understanding emotions:

How Many Emotions Are There?

The experts couldn’t agree on whether Love, Jealousy, Hate, Surprise, Envy, Embarrassment, Shame, Contempt or Guilt are emotions. This is why they only decided to explore the five emotions they could agree on. (To access the explanation of this decision open this link and click the “Learn More” button for detailed explanation)

The Atlas  of Emotions

The Atlas of Emotions is an interactive website which is really interesting and easy to use. The hope is that if people are aware of their emotional state, they will choose a to make a more positive and constructive response. The analysis process below is simplified into easier steps compared to the process Sigmund Freud developed for psychoanalysis (Explained in the 3rd post in this series).

The interactive Atlas of Emotions site describes a timeline which starts with triggers and results in outcomes for the 5 emotional states, like these for anger, enjoyment and sadness.

Experience and Moods

The site represents the five emotions as differently coloured spheres made up of rings. These spheres change size and the rings have varying intensities as the emotions change in strength and importance.

When you select an emotional sphere it flattens out into peaks representing the individual “moods” making up the emotion. The higher the emotional peak and narrower the base the more intense that mood can be experienced.

Fear and its moods are coloured purple with sharp and angular peaks. Terror has a tall peak and narrow base showing it is a very intense emotion.


Disgust is coloured green with a wavy design. Dislike is the least intense mood with a wide base and low peak.



Enjoyment is coloured yellow/orange with a curved design. Ecstasy is intense and sensory pleasure has low intensity.

The “Response” tab breaks down each emotion into the constructive, destructive and ambiguous outcomes which might be available e.g. the four actions associated with Disgust are avoidance, dehumanisation, vomiting and withdrawal. Some moods have fewer responses e.g. loathing does not elicit vomiting. Some responses are shaded lighter showing it is less likely e.g. revulsion is less likely to result in dehumanisation.

The responses to the other emotions are in the screenshots below:

The Altas of Emotions is an easy to understand interactive tool which analyses behaviour in detail. It makes a more detailed associations between triggers, emotions and actions.

Designers can use the Atlas of Emotions to work from the emotion desired to establish the moods they need to create.

If the desired outcome is that the wearer/recipient of jewellery should experience Enjoyment then the designer needs to create a mood of Excitement, Wonder, Pride, Amusement, Joy or Rejoicing.



Pre-condition – the situation the person finds themselves in e.g. being hungry, tired, having a good day

Event – any situation, thought, memory, idea etc which can be real or imagined

Perceptual database – made up of our own prior experiences and what we have learned from others about the past. We always try to understand what is happening to us now by relating it to similar situations and we usually expect the same result. It might be positive or negative 

Fear - We feel fear when our safety or wellbeing is threatened. Fear varies in strength and frequency in our lives.

Trepidation – Anticipation of the possibility of danger

Nervousness – Uncertainty of whether there is danger

Anxiety – Fear of an anticipated or actual threat and uncertainty about one’s ability to cope with it

Dread – Anticipation of severe danger

Desperation – A response to the inability to reduce danger

Panic – Sudden uncontrollable fear

Horror – A mixture of fear, disgust and shock

Terror – Intense, overpowering fear


Disgust - We feel disgust when faced with something toxic or unpleasant. Disgust varies in strength and frequency in our lives.

Dislike – A preference against something

Aversion – An impulse to avoid something disgusting

Distaste – Reaction to a bad taste, smell, thing or idea. Can be literal or metaphorical

Repugnance – Strong distaste for something, often a concept or idea

Revulsion – A mixture of disgust and loathing

Abhorrence – A mixture of intense disgust and hatred

Loathing – Intense disgust focused on a person. Intense disgust focused on oneself is called self-loathing


Enjoyment - We feel enjoyment when we experience novelty or comfort. Enjoyment varies in strength and frequency in our lives.

Sensory Pleasure - Enjoyment through one of the five physical senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell

Compassion/ Joy - Enjoyment of helping to relieve another person’s suffering

Amusement - Light, playful feelings of enjoyment and good humour

Fiero - Enjoyment of meeting a difficult challenge (an Italian word)

Pride - Deep pleasure and satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or the achievements of an associate

Naches - Joyful pride in the accomplishments of one’s children or mentees

Wonder - An experience of something which is very surprising, beautiful, amazing or hard to believe

Excitement - A powerful enthusiasm

Ecstasy - Rapturous delight. A state of very great happiness, nearly overwhelming


Further reading if this topic is of interest to you: 

The 14th Dalai Lama. (2020). His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama | The 14th Dalai Lama. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2019]. (2014). YouTube. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2019].

Design, S. (2020). The Ekmans' Atlas of Emotion. [online] The Ekmans' Atlas of Emotions. Available at: [Accessed 23 Nov. 2019].


  1. Jax on 10 November 2020 at 6:27 pm

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    • Tara Lois on 30 November 2020 at 3:53 pm

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  3. Marc on 22 February 2021 at 5:11 am

    Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better!

    Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.

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    • Tara Lois on 23 February 2021 at 8:24 am

      Thanks Marc. Hope your former flatmate likes the post.

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