Tastes good? Despite how individual our emotions feel to us, the brain processes them in a remarkably similar way.
The brain translates emotions into a standard code that’s similar across people, a new study finds. While happiness and sadness might feel quite different to us, the brain actually represents these emotions in a remarkably similar way (Cornell University neuroscientist Adam Anderson, senior author of the study, explains: “We discovered that fine-grained patterns of neural activity within the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with emotional processing, act as a neural code which captures an individual’s subjective feeling. Population coding of affect across stimuli, modalities and individuals.” This finding contrasts to the established view which is that there are specific, separate regions in the brain for positive and negative emotions.