I'm writing a short essay on emotions and I stumbled upon a few references of confusion being an emotion but no solid exclusive research results focusing on confusion as an emotion. If it isn't, what classification would it fit?

Few references: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/114/38/E7900.full.pdf (page E7901) which simply explains about 27 types of emotions mostly deduced from physical observations rather than neurological

And this paper, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5620019/, also explains what happens neurologically when a person is confused though it's focused more on the advancement of Machine Learning: Neural Networks than pure neuroscience. This is from another unanswered question https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/67440/neuroscience-of-confusion

  • $\begingroup$ Confusion only happens when your with dangerous people and or someone or something involving the paranormal. Everything can be explained logically the things that cant are either because a person is in the process of being manipulated or entities/spirits are involved. Yes supernatural activity is real its not sleep paralysis its hard to believe but it is real and most of the time confusion is involved when supernatural occurrences are taking place unseen to you or when someone's manipulating you . Or your just naïve which makes you incredibly susceptible to manipulation anyways. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 2:58

2 Answers 2


Cambridge Dictionary defines confusion as "a situation in which people do not understand what is happening, what they should do or who someone or something is." This means that confusion occurs in one's thoughts, in the brain.

I define emotion as "an irritation of the heart" or simply "a heart feeling." By heart, I mean a physical heart. Emotion is a heart response to whatever irritates it: thoughts, memories, what someone sees or hears, etc.

So, if you say that confusion is about thoughts and emotions are about heart feelings, then confusion is not an emotion. Confusion may or may not be accompanied by emotions, for example, someone does not understand what is happening (confusion) and, as a result, feels fear in the heart (emotion).

I'm not sure if I want to classify confusion, but it is a "problem with understanding," not necessary as a "condition" but as a temporary or chronic state.

  • $\begingroup$ What is "heart"? What is "mental state"? $\endgroup$
    – Ooker
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ I believe I cleared some confusion in my answer now. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ You can't and shouldn't make a split between the brain and emotions. Emotions are to be experienced as they are, not just thought about them. This creates a mental illness called schizophrenia. How can you think about emotions when they are so active and real! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ nobaproject.com/modules/… I don't know if Cambridge Dictionary is the best resource for psychology/neuroscience. This resource I was reading appears to characterize confusion as a knowledge emotion. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 6:57

Confusion is not an emotion. It's not something you can call a healthy real emotion. Confusion is an indication of your problems. Seem like you would like to forget about the source of your confusion by naming confusion as emotion. On the other hand, a lot of emotions are active in a state of confusion.

Real emotions are always in relation to an object. You (the subject) are experiencing emotions in relation to an object.

Confusion should be classified as mental suffering.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. Please visit our site tour. We work differently to most SE sites, where we have a strict policy that all answers should be backed up with reliable references so that the answer can be independently verified, regardless of the reader's/answerer's background. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center or Psychology & Neuroscience Meta. Unreferenced claims can lead to answers being deleted. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ This comes from my understandings of life. I'm sorry for not providing you with any references. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ Would you say that confusion is probably more aptly classified as a feeling than an emotion (similar to pain)? $\endgroup$
    – Nick H
    Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ Emotions exist in relationship between two human beings. In BRS, all emotions are classified as primary and secondary. Primary are define the relationship amd stay (e.g $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 13:32

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