The relationship between our senses and physical body sensations may not be as unique as we previously thought. A study conducted by a team of Finnish scientists has shown that there is a definite connection between conscious sensations and physical sensations in the body.
Researchers from the University of Turku, Aalto University and the University of Tampere conducted an online survey with more than 1,000 participants to find out how people perceive different feelings. Participants were asked questions about how much they experience a certain feeling, how much they enjoy it and how much they can control it. Participants were then asked to assign feelings to a grid, grouping similar feelings close together and separating different feelings. At the end of the survey, participants were asked to color the areas on the human silhouettes where they experienced the strongest feelings.
Analysis of the survey results allowed the researchers to group the feelings into five categories: positive emotions, negative emotions, cognition, illness, and homeostasis. Based on the results of the survey, a two-dimensional map was created showing the relationship between the different feelings. Heat maps were also created, showing the intensity of feelings in the mind and body, emotional valence, controllability of feelings, and frequency of their occurrence.
However, the most interesting results were obtained in the third part of the survey. Participants were asked to indicate where they experienced feeling in the body. This allowed the researchers to show the physical location and intensity of the feelings. The results showed that most people could experience the same feelings in physical ways, such as a heart flutter or an emotional kick under the breath.
The study also showed that feelings are related to bodily states even for states previously thought to be purely cognitive, such as attention or reasoning. The stronger the feeling is experienced in the body, the more visible it becomes mentally.
This research is a meaningful step in understanding how we perceive the world and how our feelings are related to physical sensations. It also confirms previous research that has shown a connection between emotion and brain activity.