Second Realm

Eric P. Rhodes, Artist

Emotional Vocabulary: A Brief Overview

The idea of emotional vocabulary is all about the words we use to express our feelings and understand emotional experiences. Being good at understanding and using emotional vocabulary is key for boosting emotional literacy. This deep dive looks at why emotional vocabulary matters, backed up by recent research and studies.

In the study “Theory of Constructed Emotion: Emotional Vocabulary and Emotional Intelligence,” Calero et al. (2023) dig into how emotional vocabulary links to emotional intelligence. They found that having a wide emotional vocabulary is tied to higher emotional intelligence. Their work highlights the importance of having a wide range of emotional words to help us understand and talk about our feelings, which helps with emotional clarity and mood management – big parts of emotional intelligence.

Digging into the connection between color psychology and emotional vocabulary, the study by Hosseini and Ghabanchi (2022) shows that colors can affect our emotions and how well we remember emotional words. This suggests that colors can impact our emotions and the words we use to talk about them. This shows how external stimuli like colors can influence how well we can talk about our feelings.

In another study by Dimitrijević et al. (2019), they explore how emotional vocabulary can improve our ability to communicate across different cultures. They found that folks with a broad emotional vocabulary are better at navigating emotions in diverse cultures, which helps with successful cross-cultural interactions. This shows how emotional vocabulary can boost empathy, cultural awareness, and effective communication across cultures.

Also, in her book “Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience” (2021), Brené Brown talks about how expanding our emotional vocabulary can be a game-changer. Brown says that being able to name our emotions precisely can lead to deep connections with others and a more authentic life. By digging into different feelings and experiences, Brown encourages us to enrich our emotional vocabulary, making us more emotionally aware and improving our relationships.

Moreover, aligning with findings from Shinnosuke Ikeda’s research, it’s evident that knowing a broader range of emotional words can significantly enhance our mental health. This underscores the critical relationship between the size of our emotional vocabulary and our overall mental well-being, reinforcing the concept that the more emotional words we know and understand, the better equipped we are to navigate our emotional landscape.

Combining these different viewpoints reveals some key facts about emotional vocabulary. Firstly, having a wide and accurate emotional vocabulary is crucial for emotional intelligence and self-control. Secondly, things like colors can shape our emotional vocabulary and how we react emotionally. Thirdly, emotional vocabulary is super important for being culturally savvy, affecting how well we can understand and connect with people from different backgrounds. Ultimately, beefing up our emotional literacy can lead to more meaningful human connections and a better grasp of our emotional experiences.

In short, emotional vocabulary is more than just knowing a bunch of words that describe emotions; it’s about understanding, expressing, and dealing with emotions in a smart way. As highlighted by the research of Calero et al. (2023), Hosseini and Ghabanchi (2022), Dimitrijević et al. (2019), and the insights from Brown (2021), expanding our emotional vocabulary is key for enhancing emotional intelligence, cross-cultural communication, and forming deeper relationships. Furthermore, the study by Shinnosuke Ikeda adds an important dimension to this discussion by suggesting that the more emotional words we know, the higher our mental health can be. This highlights the significance of emotional awareness not only in our personal development and social interactions but also as a fundamental aspect of our mental health.


  • Calero, Alejandra Daniela, Nicole Rosenfeld, María Belén Jader, and Débora Inés Burin. “Theory of Constructed Emotion: Emotional Vocabulary and Emotional Intelligence.” International Journal of Emotional Education, vol. 15, no. 2, Nov. 2023, pp. 175-179.
  • Hosseini, S. Fatemeh, and Z. Ghabanchi. “What’s in a Color? A Neuropsycholinguistic Study on the Effect of Colors on EEG Brainwaves, Immediate Emotional Responses, and English Language Vocabulary Retention among Iranian Young Adults.” Journal of Neurolinguistics, vol. 63, Aug. 2022, Article 101083.
  • Dimitrijević, Ana Altaras, Jelena Starčević, and Zorana Jolić Marjanović. “Can Ability Emotional Intelligence Help Explain Intercultural Effectiveness? Incremental Validity and Mediation Effects of Emotional Vocabulary in Predicting Intercultural Judgment.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 69, Mar. 2019, pp. 102-109.
  • Brown, Brené. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience. Random House, 2021.
  • Ikeda, Shinnosuke. “The More Emotional Words You Know, the Higher Your Mental Health.” Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, vol. 64, no. 3, 17 May 2023.

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