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  • Writer's pictureNina Dmitreff

Emotions alter muscle proprioceptive coding of movements in humans

This is an interesting paper. Not only does the research show the "freeing" or "constricting" effects of respectively “happy” or “sad” emotions – the researchers used classical music to invoke those emotions in their test subjects. (Added bonus: Table 1 includes a list and designation of the classical music pieces selected!)

From the paper:

Emotions are responsible for profound changes in the body landscape, by affecting the internal environment, viscera, and the musculoskeletal system. Five basic emotions have been identified: sadness, happiness, fear, anger, and disgust1, where emotional reactions are displayed to the world through our behaviour, actions and reactions. Accordingly, the musculoskeletal system allows us to carry out these activities, interact with others, and explore our surroundings. It also informs us about changes in such activity, our posture, and the speed and quality of movements2, 3. Our behaviour influences social interactions, where even the smallest of facial muscle contractions can signal our intentions and affective thoughts4.

Emotions modulate our readiness to move5, where pleasant experiences prime approach actions and unpleasant experiences prime withdrawal. The temporal kinematics of movement are especially affected by the situational valence6. Emotions, particularly unpleasant ones, can impact movements, for example, producing differences in the maintenance of an isometric contraction7 and of posture8. The continued exposure to such stimuli can magnify the force of sustained voluntary movements7

Source: Scientific Reports

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