Friday 31 July 2015

Emotions Mapped on Human Body - Ms. Pooja Shukla

Emotions Mapped on Human Body

Ms. Pooja Shukla

Department of Communication Skills, MEFGI, Rajkot

Emotions are an integral part of the human existence. Emotions trigger string bodily sensations and topographically, the mapping of different emotions is different on the body. As quoted by assistant professor Lauri Nummennmaa from Aalto University – “Emotions adjust not only our mental, but also our bodily states. This way they prepare us to react swiftly to the dangers, but also to the opportunities such as pleasurable social interactions present in the environment. Awareness of the corresponding bodily changes may subsequently trigger the conscious emotional sensations, such as the feeling of happiness. The findings have major implications for our understanding of the functions of emotions and their bodily basis.” On the other hand, the results help us to understand different emotional disorders and provide novel tools for their diagnosis.

Emotions are felt in various parts of the body, as happiness is felt in the entire body, anger is concentrated in the head. Many people distinctively feel emotions in certain part of their body – stress in their neck, anxiety in their stomach, happiness in their chest, anger in their head etc. A fascinating research was carried out by the Finnish scientists on more than 700 voluntary individuals from Finland, Sweden and Taiwan. The volunteers were shown various words, stories, movies and images and were subsequently shown pictures if human bodies on a computer and asked to colour the bodily regions whose activity they felt increasing or decreasing. The research was funded by European Research Council (ERC), The Academy of Finland and the Aalto University (aivoAALTO) project. The results were published on 31 December, 2013 in the scientific journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences.

The research produced consistent heat maps that were statistically unique for each emotion.

Description: Fig. 2.The map displays that anger is mainly concentrated on the head, chest and the lower part of the face and arms, with particular intensity on the hands, whereas disgust is more concentrated mainly around the mouth and throat. Love dominates the face, chest and lower abdomen. Happiness proves to be the most significant emotion that solicits our entire body as it is concentrated in the entire body equally, especially on the face and the chest. Moreover, emotions like depression express the generation of decline in the senses in the arms and the legs. The researchers proved that the results were concordant across the various volunteers. They proposed that the body maps drawn are culturally universal.

Note – The entire experiment can be retrieved from



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