Maps of subjective feelings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

Research units

  • Turku PET Centre
  • Turku University Hospital
  • Tampere University

Abstract

Subjective feelings are a central feature of human life. We defined the organization and determinants of a feeling space involving 100 core feelings that ranged from cognitive and affective processes to somatic sensations and common illnesses. The feeling space was determined by a combination of basic dimension rating, similarity mapping, bodily sensation mapping, and neuroimaging meta-analysis. A total of 1,026 participants took part in online surveys where we assessed (i) for each feeling, the intensity of four hypothesized basic dimensions (mental experience, bodily sensation, emotion, and controllability), (ii) subjectively experienced similarity of the 100 feelings, and (iii) topography of bodily sensations associated with each feeling. Neural similarity between a subset of the feeling states was derived from the NeuroSynth meta-analysis database based on the data from 9,821 brain-imaging studies. All feelings were emotionally valenced and the saliency of bodily sensations correlated with the saliency of mental experiences associated with each feeling. Nonlinear dimensionality reduction revealed five feeling clusters: positive emotions, negative emotions, cognitive processes, somatic states and illnesses, and homeostatic states. Organization of the feeling space was best explained by basic dimensions of emotional valence, mental experiences, and bodily sensations. Subjectively felt similarity of feelings was associated with basic feeling dimensions and the topography of the corresponding bodily sensations. These findings reveal a map of subjective feelings that are categorical, emotional, and embodied.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9198–9203
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume115
Issue number37
Early online date28 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • feeling, emotion, consciousness, interoception, somatosensation

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