Do you know where in your body your feelings manifest?

The human brain is fascinating - it can, for example, make you sure that there is some pain in your body, even if there is no injury or something wrong with it. It can even trick you into some physical sensations, making you feel bad about your psychological state. He is the one who sends a "warning" about some emotional condition - those who suffer from anxiety disorder know this very well.

With this in mind, a group of Finnish researchers led by neuroscientist Lauri Nummenmaa of the University of Turku decided to do a rather curious experiment: mapping out where in our body we feel emotions. The team had already worked on something similar in 2014, but this time decided to call a thousand participants and map no less than a hundred emotions to try to find out where they manifest physically.

For the experiment, scientists separated feelings into six categories: “cognitive” (such as thoughts and reasoning), “sensitive and perceptive” (see, hear, etc.), “homeostatic states” (including bodily functions such as hunger and thirst), “Physiological processes” (such as sleeping and breathing), “illness” (coughs and flu-associated fevers, for example) and “psychiatric disorders” (depression, anxiety and the like).

Interesting Findings

The research consisted of three phases. In the first, the volunteers had to tell about the intensity with which they felt every emotion in their bodies versus their minds, how good each feeling was and how much they could control it. In the second phase, participants were challenged to map these feelings for similarity - guilt and stress, for example, often go hand in hand, while pride and love often do not mix.

Finally, the 1, 000 volunteers "painted" each feeling into empty representations of the human body to tell where they actually felt that emotion. Based on these thousands of drawings, the Finns were able to identify a pattern - and the result is quite interesting, as they found that some things felt in the head manifest themselves in curious parts of the human body.

Some results are obvious: hunger is felt in the stomach and thirst in the throat. But gratitude (a positive feeling) as well as guilt and despair (negative feelings) are perceived not only in the heart but also in the head and stomach. Excitement and exhaustion, though opposite, are noted throughout the body. And finally, we have self-control, felt in our heads and hands - after all, when you don't want to do something, you unconsciously “lock” these limbs to keep them quiet.

Although the experiment is of little practical use - at least not yet - it is an interesting finding that confirms once again how much our brain interferes with physical sensations when it wants to give us some emotion.


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