This Is What Your Emotions Look Like

emotionsembedPhoto: Courtesy of PNAS.org.
We all know that emotions don't live only in our heads. The hair on our arms tends to stand on end when we feel fear, and our stomachs flutter when we're excited or nervous. But, now, a team of Finnish researchers has mapped a whole range of physical reactions caused by emotions.
Advertisement
In a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, more than 700 participants were shown two blank silhouettes alongside words, movies, stories, and facial expressions. They were then asked to rate how they felt and where on their body they felt it, corresponding to the silhouettes. This created an overall picture of bodily responses to emotions, with depression and sadness leading to numbed feelings in the extremities and anxiety centered in the torso.
The researchers acknowledge that "[all] cultures have body-related expressions for describing emotional states" — such as "butterflies in the stomach" — that don't necessarily have an actual physiological link, and thus, some of the feelings experienced by the participants could be societally influenced rather than organic. But, even though they can't rule out such a possibility, the authors say the results of the study don't agree with that argument. Researchers claim they found a strong consensus in physical responses to a given emotion in people from a range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, suggesting that these are "universal sensation patterns triggered by activation of emotion systems."
That might mean a blush or maybe just a nerve sensation, but it's something we all share. (Gizmodo)
Advertisement

More from Mind

No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it's a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way...
Living with anxiety can feel like a constant battle. You have to stay alert to catch anxiety creeping up on you, and it can turn into an all-day fight to ...
We explore the unconscious messages a voice can give off and why snap judgments can be harmful, even if they're innocent
(Paid Content) Taking short breaks during the workday can bring your sanity back to earth. Of course, they have a calming effect, but did you know breaks ...
It's not always easy to predict how much you're going to drink when you go out — or how drunk you'll actually get. And according to a new study, your ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. A few years ago, I called my dad for one of our weekly chats — but he wasn’t happy to hear from me...
As much as it sucks, anxiety doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Without a little bit of it, you wouldn’t make sure to show up on time to that job interview or...
(Paid Content) Moods are fickle things. You can be going about your day in a happy, productive, and calm manner, and boom — everything changes. And ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. I am six years old, in the first grade girls’ bathroom with my friend. We are washing our hands. ...
This story was originally published on Jul. 19, 2016. Several months ago, a woman I’m very close to checked herself into a hospital because she’d been ...
This article was originally published on May 27, 2015. Now that pot legislation is making its way across the country, it's time for a refresher on the ...
Depression is one of the most common mental-health issues in the United States, and it affects roughly twice as many women as men. Yet new research ...
On social media, it's easy to catch all sorts of digital diseases, such as FOMO, internet addiction, and anxiety. Facebook and Instagram-wary researchers...
As a culture, we have a slight tendency to exaggerate. We don’t just love PSLs — we’re obsessed. We aren’t just neat and tidy — we Kondo. Another term we ...