advertisement
20 June 2013

Brain scans 'read' emotions

Aided by a computer, researchers say they can identify how people are feeling.

0

Happy? Mad? Afraid? Scientists have now developed the first computer model of brain activity that can be used to identify people's emotions, according to a new study.

The technique was developed using 10 actors who were asked to randomly and repeatedly go into nine emotional states - anger, disgust, fear, happiness, lust, pride, envy, sadness and shame - while their brains were monitored by functional MRI.

To identify the emotions within the brain, the researchers used the participants' neural activation patterns in early scans to identify the emotions experienced in later scans.

Emotions hard to study

Research on emotions has been difficult due to the lack of reliable methods to evaluate them, mostly because people tend to be reluctant to honestly divulge their feelings. Attempts are further complicated by the fact that people may not be conscious of many of their emotional responses, according to the team at Carnegie Mellon University.

"This research introduces a new method with potential to identify emotions without relying on people's ability to self-report," study lead author Karim Kassam, an assistant professor of social and decision sciences, said in a university news release.

"It could be used to assess an individual's emotional response to almost any kind of stimulus; for example, a flag, a brand name or a political candidate," Kassam explained.

The study appears in the journal PLoS One.

Study co-author Amanda Markey, a graduate student in the department of social and decision sciences, said "Despite manifest differences between people's psychology, different people tend to neurally encode emotions in remarkably similar ways."

The researchers plan to use the new computer model to tackle a number of challenging problems in emotion research, including identifying feelings that people are actively trying to suppress and multiple emotions experienced at the same time, like the blend of joy and envy you might feel when you hear about a friend's good fortune.

The research was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

More information

Helpguide.org explains the importance of emotional health.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

 

More:

BrainNews
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Hit the road »

Advice for the long runner Hill training: how to do it Why running is good for you

What to wear when you run

You do not need a gym membership to run. All you need is the correct clothing and you're ready to reap the benefits.

Carb danger »

Why we get fat Why you need to worry about fructose Craving sugar? Blame your brain

Carbs make you sick

Dr Gary Fettke, who believes that the foods we eat are the leading cause of lifestyle diseases speaks of Carbohydrate Diabetes, not Sugar Diabetes.