A1 Journal article – refereed

Bodily maps of emotions

List of Authors: Nummenmaa L, Glerean E, Hari R, Hietanen JK

Publisher: National Academy of Sciences

Publication year: 2014

Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Journal acronym: Proc Natl Acad Sci

Volume number: 111

Issue number: 2

Number of pages: 6

ISSN: 0027-8424

eISSN: 1091-6490

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1321664111


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.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 11:54