Emotions and Where We Feel Them

I said that I would be telling you some more about my investigations (and discoveries) about the history of distillation, alcohol, and the search for the sacred. But as I mentioned to Mark (see yesterday’s comments) I’d like to make a small detour to another theme. I’ll get back to these other subjects but…

Here’s some very cool empirical research that supports the idea that emotions are registered in particular zones of the body and these areas are the same across cultures.

Curious? Indifferent? Angry? Bored?
Here’s my question:
Where do you feel that emotion?

It’s a weird question but almost anyone familiar with Silo’s writings, and most people once you provide some context, will answer something like: in my body.

Where else could it happen, where else could those registers be?

Or said another way: where else could I feel these emotions? Outside of me? Floating in some external space? In the space of perception? No of course it must be in what Silo calls the space of representation, i.e. inside me, in my body, where else could it be.

I feel these peculiar impulses of the centre of emotional response as variations in what Siloists call my coenesthesia (pronounced like but different from synesthesia). That is, in the internal sensations of my body, what some people call somasethesia, or somatesthesia, interoception, etc. But careful observation teaches that they are not just “in my body”. They are somewhere specific, they are registered in particular locations in my space of representation. It’s as if you could map them with 3-d Cartesian coordinates where you locate them on an x, y and z coordinate).

In other words: I feel my emotions inside of my body, and I feel them in, more or less, specific locations in my body.

Now here’s some research from the Aalto University in Finland that I thought was great fun (especially the picture) I think you’ll find it interesting.

According to Science Daily News
“Emotions adjust not only our mental, but also our bodily states. This way the prepare us to react swiftly to the dangers, but also to the opportunities such as pleasurable social interactions present in the environment. Awareness of the corresponding bodily changes may subsequently trigger the conscious emotional sensations, such as the feeling of happiness,” tells assistant professor Lauri Nummenmaa from Aalto University.”

You can find the article here or download a pdf of the full report here

Different emotions are associated with discernible patterns of bodily sensations. (Credit: Image courtesy of Aalto University)