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New Study Maps How Emotions Color The Body

Or at least how we think they do

Feeling sad may not literally turn us blue, but that hasn't stopped a lot of us from associating the color from a physical shift in the body. A new study by Finnish researchers found that we believe that certain emotions and physical sensations correspond to certain colors.

Participants were "were shown two silhouettes of bodies alongside emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions. They were asked to color the bodily regions whose activity they felt increasing or decreasing while viewing each stimulus."

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Not surprisingly, happy, positive emotions were colored with bright tones like orange and yellow, while sad and angry feelings were colored with dark tones. Feelings often emanated for people from the chest or head, and radiated outward and down in sensation. There was a strong correlation across cultures, languages, and emotions -- which speaks to the utter universality of the way that people feel, or believe they feel, different emotions.

It's worth noting that participants weren't asked to track actual measurable physical changes -- but rather the perceived physical sensations related to different emotions. Pretty cool, no? [The Atlantic]


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