New study suggests people feel sensations in different parts of their bodies when they experience emotions

Feel the love surround you.
Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari Hietanen

Where in your body do you feel it when you see the person you love? How about when you feel angry or nervous?

Finnish researchers have made a topographical map of the body where we tend to feel emotions. The results they found were mostly consistent both across people and across the world.

The researchers used five different experiments to create the map, with all the evidence pointing to specific areas of the body where people feel emotion.

They used different stimuli to test what they felt in their bodies as they experienced 13 different basic and complex emotions.

"We often think the emotions are something that happen only in the mind, but there's also lots of evidence suggesting that they also happen in our bodies," said study author Lauri Nummenmaa, assistant professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Aalto University School of Science in Finland.

"Our data show bodily sensations associated with different emotions are so specific that, in fact, they could at least in theory contribute significantly to the conscious feeling of the corresponding emotion."

The data was too conclusive to ignore: the connection between mind and body is strong.

For instance, our body goes warm and we feel happiness across our chest and hips when we're happy but those areas dull when we feel sad. Anger and contempt we feel in our heads.

Love envelops us.

You can participate in the experiment here.

The study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.