Emotions & the Human Body
Emotions connect us as human beings. We can be influenced by someone else’s emotions and often tend to unconsciously mirror the emotions around us. Past research has shown that different cultures express or suppress certain emotions according to their traditions.
However, researchers in Finland, led by Lauri Nummenmaa of Aalto University’s School of Science in Espoo, have found that emotional outward expression appears to vary little across cultures. That is when cultures do express emotions they seem to not vary much. This is different from cultures not normally expressing emotions due to the norms of a culture.
The Los Angeles Times gives examples of this: with anger, fear or surprise, our heartbeat picks up in readiness for flight or fight, and so our chest feels tight. The muscles in our arms and legs feel clenched in anger, but in sadness, they feel limp. Happiness spreads its warmth even across the hips and genitals, but those areas typically go cold when we feel sad, angry or disgusted.