Tridimensional Theory of Feeling

Feelings and emotions are a huge part of the human experience. What are they? What do they mean?

The three big-time theories that attempt to explain feelings and emotions are:

And other common and popular theories include:

However, there is one fascinating theory that isn’t as well-known as those listed above which was first postulated by the  Father of Experimental Psychology, Wilhelm Wundt.

I was really impressed and excited to see that Wundt ventured into this area of psychology and even created a model called the Tridimensional Theory of Feeling. This caught my attention because he isn’t “known” for exploring this area, yet he is monumental in the field. Anyways.

According to Wundt, every feeling can be described based on these three dimensions (thus, the “tridimensional” theory) of feeling:

  • Strain <—> Relaxation
  • Excitement <—> Calm
  • Pleasantness <—> Unpleasantness
illustration by ana zdravic

Being a neuroscience geek, I couldn’t help but wonder how these dimensions would crudely transfer over as neurotransmitters and/or neuromodulators.

Based on what is currently known, my guess is that adrenaline probably pairs up with excitement, dopamine with pleasantness, opioids with calmness…

Of course, anatomy would have to be a factor in this concept, but that’s a topic for a different post ; )

Cover Image: digital collage by Ana Zdravic



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