Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Emotional Intelligence
06 July 2015

Emotional Intelligence

Have you ever swelled with pride? Or slumped with sadness? Do you radiate happiness? There are many sayings linking physical feelings with emotions – but where do they come from? Participants in a recent international study were asked to choose areas of their bodies which become more or less lively when experiencing different emotions – these body maps show the results. Warm colours (red-yellow) highlight areas that the participants agreed become more active, such as the heart when experiencing fear or the stomach when disgusted. Cooler colours (dark-light blue) are areas thought to “freeze”, such as the limbs when depressed. There is mounting evidence that regardless of cultural sayings and clichés, specific emotions are linked with physical sensations through the somatosensory system. This might explain how the people from different cultures described similar physical responses to emotions, and agree that happiness is the only emotion capable of lighting up the entire body.

Written by John Ankers

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