A new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences suggests that our emotions do indeed influence our bodies in very specific ways (or at least we perceive it that way). As reported by the Atlantic, Finnish researchers used five experiments with 701 participants who were shown computerized silhouettes of bodies alongside “emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions”. The participants were asked to color the regions in the silhouettes that corresponded to what they were sensing, whether the sensations were increasing or decreasing. For stronger sensations they colored red and yellow, and weaker, blue and black.
The results were truly fascinating:
The Atlantic report continues:
The authors note that, measured physiologically, most feelings only cause a minor change in heart rate or skin temperature—our torsos don’t literally get hot with surprise.
Instead, the results likely reveal subjective perceptions about the impact of our mental states on the body, a combination of muscle and visceral reactions and nervous system responses that we can’t easily differentiate. Feeling jealous may not truly make us red in the face, for example, but we certainly might feel like it does.
Either way, it gives a whole new insight into the term ‘hot headed’.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.