Charles Darwin popularized the theory of emotional fingerprints - that each emotion creates a specific combination of facial expression, body language, and other physiological cues such as a heart rate.
But recently detailed analyses suggest there is no such thing. Each emotion is represented by a whole range of reactions. The way we interpret our body's signals, such as excited or anxious, depends entirely on the context of the situation and can be easily framed by our expectations.
This article was featured in One Great Story , New York 's reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly. Sometime last year, I came across the word hangxiety, a neologism for hangover-induced anxiety. I cringed when I read it; it felt so phony.
The brain loves to identify, tag, or label all the feelings and emotions that are being experienced.
New studies show that changing the name of the emotion can change the feeling that is produced by hearing that emotion, and the brain may be able to create or make up emotions that don't have a label yet.
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