New research from Finland finds that the sensations in your body give rise to your emotions.
Think of the last time that you were extremely hungry. Do you remember how you felt? More often than not, unpleasant physical sensations like hunger are accompanied by unsavory emotions like anger, irritability or impatience. Now, a team of researchers have found that what you feel in your body also affects your brain function and conscious experience.
In the study, over 1,000 adults took part in an online survey. Questions examined how intensely participants experienced a range of emotions. They also asked how similar feelings like anger, sadness and happiness felt to each other, and where those feelings were located in the body. Researchers then compared this information from data collected in nearly 10,000 brain imaging studies.
They found that feelings grouped into 5 categories: positive emotions, negative emotions, thought processes, bodily feelings, and neutral states. What’s more, people’s emotions were universally linked to bodily sensations.
This means that your conscious experience depends as much on what is going on in your mind as your body.