Anomalous Bodily Maps of Emotions in Schizophrenia

Lénie J Torregrossa, Matthew A Snodgress, Seok Jin Hong, Heathman S Nichols, Enrico Glerean, Lauri Nummenmaa, Sohee Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


ObjectiveEmbodied emotions arise from interoceptive and somatosensory processes, and are essential to the development of a stable sense of self. Emotional embodiment is therefore inherently interwoven with our sense of bodily self-awareness, and allows us to navigate complex social situations. Given that the core feature of schizophrenia (SZ) is characterized by the presence of bodily self-disturbances and social-emotional deficits, we hypothesized that embodiment of emotion would be disrupted in SZ.MethodTwenty-six medicated individuals with SZ and 26 demographically matched controls used a computerized topographical mapping tool (“EmBODY”) to indicate on a body outline where they felt bodily sensations while experiencing an emotion. There were 13 different emotions plus a neutral state. The resulting bodily maps of emotions were quantitatively compared between groups using linear discriminant analysis and similarity scores.ResultsBodily maps of emotions were anomalous in SZ as indicated by indistinguishable maps across different emotions. Relative to the control group, patients reported less discrete and less clear bodily sensations across emotions. In particular, bodily maps for low-arousal emotions were atypical in comparison with healthy controls.ConclusionsAnomalous and undifferentiated mapping of embodied emotions in SZ could lead to deficits in linking bodily sensations to conceptual categories of emotions. Disrupted emotional embodiment could also contribute to poor social functioning. Abnormal bodily sensations of emotions might therefore be a promising target for future psychosocial interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)sby179-sby179
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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