Image of the Day: Emotional body maps

Credit: PNAS

Emotions aren't just in your brain. As anyone who has ever been in love (or ever been depressed, which usually follows soon after) has experienced, emotions can cause physical reactions in your body, too. It seems like these things would be subjective and different from person to person and across culture, but a recent study by researchers at Aalto University in Finland suggests that the tightness of anxiety or the flush of pride might be common in many, if not most, people.

The study asked 700 participants from Finland, Sweden, and Taiwan to watch a series of emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions while coloring in areas on paper body silhouettes where they felt increasing or decreasing activity. Putting all of the data together resulted in the images that you see above, showing emotional activity maps of the human body. Statistical analysis proved that these maps were accurate across cultures, suggesting that when you share a feeling with someone, no matter where they're from, you really are sharing the same physical sensations as they do.

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PNAS, via KurzweilAI

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