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Different Emotions Trigger Bodily Reactions, Study Finds

Update Date: Jan 01, 2014 02:42 PM EST

Common emotions like love can trigger strong bodily sensations like a warm, pleasurable feeling all over the body, a new study has found.

Most common emotions trigger strong bodily sensations, and these sensations were mapped by scientists. They found that these sensations were topographically different for different emotions.

“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,” said assistant professor Lauri Nummenmaa from Aalto University, according to Indian Express. 

"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," Nummenmaa added.

Around 700 individuals from Finland, Sweden and Taiwan were the part of the research. On the participants, different emotional states were induced. Then they were shown the pictures of bodies on a computer and were asked to color the bodily regions whose activity changed according to them.

“Most basic emotions were associated with sensations of elevated activity in the upper chest area, likely corresponding to changes in breathing and heart rate,” said researchers.

Head suffered common sensations in all induced emotions. Sensation in the digestive system and around throat region were triggered mostly in disgust.

Researchers concluded that, happiness was associated with enhanced sensations all over the body, in contrast with all other emotions.

The developments of the study is published in Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences.

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