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Do emotions have the same meaning around the world

The debate between culture and biology – with regard to our emotions – has a prominent place in scientific and philosophical discoveries, there are those who suggest that some feelings have left an evolutionary imprint in the neural biological structure of the human race, while others see that far from being global, emotions are cultural structures that we learn their meanings Of social inferences.

Do people around the world deal with emotions in different ways, or do they all have the same meaning?

24 emotional words from a third of the world’s languages
In a report published by the American Psychology Today magazine, Mariana Boghossian said that in a recent study published by “Science”, an international team of researchers examined 24 emotional words from about a third of the world’s languages.

By combining extensive linguistic databases with quantitative methods, researchers have created similar networks of cases in which the same word is used within a language to express multiple concepts, for example, “funny” in the English language can denote the meaning of humor or strangeness, Both.

The cultural difference in the meaning of emotions
The results of this research highlight the biological and cultural processes that influence our way of thinking and experiencing emotions. In addition, the comprehensive difference between cultures in the meaning of emotions indicates that people in the world may treat emotions differently.

For example, the concept of love is more related to happiness in Indo-European languages, but it was more closely related to compassion in Austronesian languages ​​(such as Southeast Asian languages). While the concept of anxiety was more related to fear in the Thai Kadai languages, it was often associated with grief in the Austrian language.

Similarity patterns of emotions also depend on the geographical proximity of languages, meaning that geographically convergent linguistic groups tend to group concepts of emotions in a similar fashion more than distant languages.

According to the researchers, this is due to the increased opportunities for communication between speakers of those languages, through trade, immigration or a common origin, which over time has affected the way they perceive their emotions.

A universal structure for the meaning of emotions
The study also found common denominators in the way people sketched the meaning of emotions across languages. For example, positive, equal (pleasant) emotions in almost all languages ​​belong to similar semantic groups.

“It seems that all people feel and express their positive emotions versus negative emotions, and emotions of excitement versus calm, given that equivalence and excitement highlight the biological systems that help maintain inner balance,” says lead author Joshua Conrad Jackson.

Indeed, the results of common humanity in any area of ​​our existence are always inspiring, but what can we achieve with differences? What can we learn from the different ways in which people around the world convert these emotions into fully absorbed emotions?

Love is a positive emotion but.
The cross-cultural diversity of emotional connotations should not be very surprising, given the rich nuances that we deal with on a daily basis in our languages, according to the author.

For example, regarding love, Jackson cautioned that “it may be a largely positive emotion in Western cultures, but it is used more negatively in Pacific Island languages. But even Indo-European speakers are able to perceive the fact that love can represent More negative feelings, such as compassion or infatuation.

In general, just as words in our languages ​​cannot always depict the depth of our emotional experiences, translation dictionaries may not always paint a complete picture of emotions across linguistic boundaries.

In this regard, Jackson says, “While scientists continue to expose the mystery and magnificence of human emotions and find similarities and differences along the way, we must celebrate the human ability to experience such rich and complex mental perceptions.”

Source: American Press

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