Brain areas identified that 'decode' emotions of others

(Kingston, ON) Queen's psychologists have discovered that our ability to assess how other people are feeling relies on two specific areas of the brain.

The findings, published in the April issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, are expected to have implications for the treatment of developmental disorders such as autism.

Led by Mark Sabbagh, the study is supported by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Also on the team, from the Queen's Psychology Department, are Margaret Moulson and Kate Harkness.

The study helps us understand the neural bases of everyday "theory of mind": our ability to explain behaviour in terms of mental states like intentions and desires. "What we're showing is that an important first step [in theory of mind] is being able to decode other people's mental states, and that this skill is carried out within a very specific neural pathway,"says Dr. Sabbagh.

The researchers used a technique called event-related potential.This involves fitting people with what looks like a hairnet containing 128 sponge electrodes that attach to their scalps and record electroencephalogram (EEG) signals. Images of eyes conveying different emotions (e.g. anger, sadness, embarrassment) are shown to the subjects, who are then asked to identify both the mental state and gender of the person in each picture, based solely on seeing that person's eyes.

By comparing the EEG signals associated with each response, the researchers identified two precise areas in the brain that were specifically activated when the participants made judgments about mental states: the medial temporal region and the orbital frontal cortex.

These "neural correlates" are already known to be associated with viewing emotional stimuli, such as a frightened face. Until now, however, there has been no evidence that their activation can be intentionally controlled.

"Our study shows that, not only will

Contact: Nancy Dorrance
Queen's University

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Brain has center for detecting sound motion
2. Brains reward circuitry revealed in procrastinating primates
3. Brain serotonin enzyme finding might explain psychiatric disorders
4. Brain development and puberty may be key factors in learning disorders
5. Organization for Human Brain Mapping 2004 Annual Meeting
6. Brain disease research, particle physics meet in the middle (ware)
7. Brain control
8. Brain cells become more discriminating when they work together
9. Brain signal predicts working memory prowess
10. Brain Centre gives Wales a world lead
11. AAAS hosts Battle of the Brains to choose area student for international competition

Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/19/2015)... -- Although some 350 companies are actively involved in molecular ... according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, Hologic, Abbott ... of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, according to ... Diagnostic s .    ... one company and only a handful of companies can ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Paris ... --> Paris , qui s,est ... DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le ... et empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, ... l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy despite ... has provided a new lead for treating this muscle-wasting ... Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University of ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene that ... effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today announced ... conference, and invited investors to participate via webcast. ... December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ... today reported financial results for the quarter ended ... expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under International ... United States ," said Andrew Rae ... advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual ... November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more than ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... RALEIGH, N.C. , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., ... Raleigh, North Carolina , today announced that the company has ... earnings represented a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 ... Kingdom and Mexico , with the ... place in December 2015. --> United Kingdom ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: