Engineerings from Aalto University mapped human bodily sensations connected to emotions. 700 volunteers were exposed to a range of emotional videos, pictures and stories and then were asked to map parts of their computer-generated silhouettes where they felt any increased/decreased activity.
The results show in which part of the body the emotion is felt. It also shows that happiness and depression are the most contrasting emotional states. The least activating emotions in the head area are sadness, neutral and depression. The most approach-related emotions, such as love, anger, happiness and pride activate the arms, while the chest area is activated experiencing most of the emotions, except for neutral emotion and the state of depression. In the graphic above, warm colours indicate regions of increased sensation while blue and black areas represent decreased sensation.
From National Academy of Sciences
Emotions are often felt in the body, and somatosensory feedback has been proposed to trigger conscious emotional experiences. Here we reveal maps of bodily sensations associated with different emotions using a unique topographical self-report method. In five experiments, participants (n = 701) were shown two silhouettes of bodies alongside emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions. They were asked to color the bodily regions whose activity they felt increasing or decreasing while viewing each stimulus. Different emotions were consistently associated with statistically separable bodily sensation maps across experiments. These maps were concordant across West European and East Asian samples. Statistical classifiers distinguished emotion-specific activation maps accurately, confirming independence of topographies across emotions. We propose that emotions are represented in the somatosensory system as culturally universal categorical somatotopic maps. Perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes may play a key role in generating consciously felt emotions.
Emotions coordinate our behavior and physiological states during survival-salient events and pleasurable interactions. Even though we are often consciously aware of our current emotional state, such as anger or happiness, the mechanisms giving rise to these subjective sensations have remained unresolved. Here we used a topographical self-report tool to reveal that different emotional states are associated with topographically distinct and culturally universal bodily sensations; these sensations could underlie our conscious emotional experiences. Monitoring the topography of emotion-triggered bodily sensations brings forth a unique tool for emotion research and could even provide a biomarker for emotional disorders.