Mapping Emotions

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A team of scientists in Finland conducted an experiment. They elicited the emotions of 700 volunteers from Finland, Sweden and Taiwan to track the physical sensations that occurred in their bodies in association with each. The participants experienced an emotion in front of two blank canvases: one to paint the areas of the body that were stimulated by the emotion (represented by hot colors) and one to express areas of the body that sensationally deactivated (cool colors). Though the ways people painted varied naturally, patterns and correlations were observed and recorded to produce the sensation maps now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Reading a scientific perspective of the mind-body connection, I acknowledge the wild power of all forms of public art and media to inspire emotion as well as yoga’s ability to control how emotional experiences manifest in the body. Happiness looks and feels pretty good, eh?

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