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Researchers Create Body Atlas Of Human Emotions

Emotions play into our everyday lives and are wide-ranging. Research looking into human emotions is helpful in furthering understanding of how we are all wired.

Emotional states can produce various physiological changes, and a new study showed that emotions are connected to certain reactions that can be measured in the body.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 701 participants were involved in the study which included body mapping assessments as related to certain human emotions.

The reactions were found to be similarly felt across the participants, who resided in different parts of the globe. Language and culture differences were not a factor, as despite variations the recorded outcomes were similar.

Participants looked at words associated with emotion, various facial expressions and viewed videos. Topography detailed self-reports were filled out that showed what body regions had a different feeling than before the viewing materials were introduced. Participants colored 2 print outs of human figures which represented parts of the body in which they noticed increased and decreased reactions in response to the visually administered material.

What was gathered represented physiological reactions that were actually consistent across the participant panel. The researchers discovered statistics that revealed distinct areas for each emotional marker that was evaluated, shown on the atlas. For instance, various emotions like happiness, sadness, fear, love and anger were introduced and the responses recorded.

Researchers Create Body Atlas Of Human Emotions

Image source: Authors/Principal Investigators: Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari Hietanen from pnas.org

Interestingly, happiness was the only tested emotion that showed a heightened, all over reaction. Also, depression was reported as a decreased reaction that could be felt nearly all over the body.

To decrease the risk of any semantic based issues that may have occurred, the research team used controls for common phrases that may be language specific.

The study’s results can help further understanding of human emotions and how the body reacts to emotion specific events. The researchers noted that the collected data and the ability to observe emotional related perceptions in the body provides a significant resource, and advancements could aid developments in emotional disorder research.

It is also neat for science to validate that regardless of any differences, the human condition is something we all have in common.

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