A fascinating study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (or PNAS for short) has mapped where in the body people felt different emotions. You can see all the pictures that record the data by clicking here.
The research was carried out as follows. Five experiments were carried out by Lauri Nummenmaa et al and the results can be found in the January 14, 2014 Edition on PNAS. The participants were shown silhouettes next to certain words, stories, facial expressions or movies. The task was to colour the bodily region of the silhouette that was, in their opinion, increasing or decreasing in emotional response to the stimulus.
Fascinatingly, irrespective of where in the world the experiment was carried out, let alone within the five experiments themselves, generally the same areas were coloured in by the participants.
So, we generally feel emotions in the same parts of the body. Interesting stuff. However, it was the next point that I personally find very interesting.
Take a look at the picture below.
In particular, focus on where Happiness was ‘felt to be felt’. Everywhere in the body: it’s a whole-body feeling.
Interestingly, the participants didn’t feel love in their legs! Perhaps that’s because when we forget our wife’s anniversary we don’t have a leg to stand on…
I’ll leave you to explore the other pictures with their associated emotions and to conjure up your own anecdotes about what’s going on.