(NaturalNews) Our physiological reaction to signals sent by our emotional systems lets our bodies prepare and respond to present situations, be it danger, pain or social interaction. A new study in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences journal shows how various emotions affect different regions of the human body. The study's findings reveal that the body's responses to emotions are consistent no matter what part of the world or culture the person comes from. It also takes scientists a step closer to developing better treatments for different mental disorders.
About the study
More than 700 people from Taiwan, Sweden and Finland participated in the research. They were shown emotionally charged videos, images and words, and asked to map their corresponding physical sensations on the silhouettes of a human body. The result was a consistent pattern of physical reactions to each emotional signal in all participants. The study also shows that different emotions, like fear, anger and love, all cause strong sensations in our bodies, but all affect different areas of it. For example, pride and anger mostly affect the upper body, and sadness activates sensations in legs and arms, while happiness activates the entire body.
Critics of the study note that self-responses by participants are subjective and can be scientifically misleading. In his interview with HealthDay, Chairman of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies Dr. Paul Zak said that the areas of the brain responsible for our emotions are usually outside of people's conscious awareness.
The process of mapping different emotion-triggered physical sensations could serve as a biomarker for emotional disorders, Finnish researchers responsible for the study conclude. "Perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes may play a key role in generating consciously felt emotions," they add. So regularly telling yourself that you are happy might do the trick and actually result in the feeling of happiness.
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