This "Body Atlas" Shows Where We Feel Love

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science today reveals what we already suspected: Being "hotheaded" is an actual physiological phenomenon. So are butterflies in the stomach and...contemptuous loins?

According to the Atlantic's Olga Khazan, Finnish researchers wanted to test whether certain emotions elicit the same physical effects from person to person. So they sat 701 people down and showed two human silhouettes alongside emotional stories, movies, or facial expressions. The participants were then asked to color the areas of the body where they felt increased activity with warm shades, and to shade areas with decreased activity in blue.

The composite figures are shown at the top of this page. The colorful results are pretty cool, if not entirely surprising when you think about it: Disgust does, in fact, make you feel like your stomach is churning. Happiness makes you feel warm all over. Pride and anger are a little too close for comfort. Love and depression are pretty much diametrically opposed. And feelings of contempt are, indeed, accompanied by decreased activity in the genital area.

[Image via Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences]