The location of sadness

18 08 2014

Right now I feel as though my heart is made of lead. And intense feelings in the chest do seem universally to be part of sadness. Some Finnish researchers got people to colour in body maps to indicate where in their body they felt different emotions, work which came out in PNAS last year.  I am liking this composite image of sadness that emerged from the 700+ participants. And the subjects came from all over the world – they weren’t all English speakers thinking about the phrase “heavy hearted”. Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.49.38 PM

It’s a little spoiled by looking at all the images…. But statistically sadness and depression apparently do form one clatter, and surprise (despite looking rather like sadness) is in a different cluster all by itself.
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Meanwhile I suspect cats achieve the patterns induced by love and happiness through baking in the sun. Just stumbled across this nice old photo of Sophie as a kitten, which I snuck into an article I wrote for an Italian encyclopedia of animal behaviour in 1999.

Un animale contento? Pretty sure the answer was “si”.

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