Dartmouth researcher discovers ‘brain signature’ that predicts human emotions

first_imgShare on Twitter Email LinkedIn Share on Facebook “It’s an impressive demonstration of imaging our feelings, of decoding our emotions from brain activity,” says lead author Luke Chang, an assistant professor in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth. “Emotions are central to our daily lives and emotional dysregulation is at the heart of many brain- and body-related disorders, but we don’t have a clear understanding of how emotions are processed in the brain. Thus, understanding the neurobiological mechanisms that generate and reduce negative emotional experiences is paramount.”The quest to understand the “emotional brain” has motivated hundreds of neuroimaging studies in recent years. But for neuroimaging to be useful, sensitive and specific “brain signatures” must be developed that can be applied to individual people to yield information about their emotional experiences, neuropathology or treatment prognosis. Thus far, the neuroscience of emotion has yielded many important results but no such indicators for emotional experiences.In their new study, the researchers’ goals were to develop a brain signature that predicts the intensity of negative emotional responses to evocative images; to test the signature in generalizing across individual participants and images; to examine the signature’s specificity related to pain; and to explore the neural circuitry necessary to predict negative emotional experience.Chang and his colleagues studied 182 participants who were shown negative photos (bodily injuries, acts of aggression, hate groups, car wrecks, human feces) and neutral photos. Thirty additional participants were also subjected to painful heat. Using brain imaging and machine learning techniques, the researchers identified a neural signature of negative emotion — a single neural activation pattern distributed across the entire brain that accurately predicts how negative a person will feel after viewing unpleasant images.“This means that brain imaging has the potential to accurately uncover how someone is feeling without knowing anything about them other than their brain activity,” Chang says. “This has enormous implications for improving our understanding of how emotions are generated and regulated, which have been notoriously difficult to define and measure. In addition, these new types of neural measures may prove to be important in identifying when people are having abnormal emotional responses – for example, too much or too little — which might indicate broader issues with health and mental functioning.”Unlike most previous research, the new study included a large sample size that reflects the general adult population and not just young college students; used machine learning and statistics to develop a predictive model of emotion; and, most importantly, tested participants across multiple psychological states, which allowed researchers to assess the sensitivity and specificity of their brain model.“We were particularly surprised by how well our pattern performed in predicting the magnitude and type of aversive experience,” Chang says. “As skepticism for neuroimaging grows based on over-sold and -interpreted findings and failures to replicate based on small sizes, many neuroscientists might be surprised by how well our signature performed. Another surprising finding is that our emotion brain signature using lots of people performed better at predicting how a person was feeling than their own brain data. There is an intuition that feelings are very idiosyncratic and vary across people. However, because we trained the pattern using so many participants – for example, four to 10 times the standard fMRI experiment — we were able to uncover responses that generalized beyond the training sample to new participants remarkably well.”center_img Pinterest Share A Dartmouth researcher and his colleagues have discovered a way to predict human emotions based on brain activity.The study is unusual because of its accuracy — more than 90 percent — and the large number of participants who reflect the general adult population rather than just college students. The findings could help in diagnosing and treating a range of mental and physical health conditions.The study appears in the journal PLOS Biology.last_img read more

MoJ commercial arm ‘made net £1.1m loss’

first_imgJust Solutions International, the controversial commercial venture set up to export UK justice expertise, made a net loss of around £1.1m during its brief existence, the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.The Ministry of Justice announced in September last year that it was closing the commercial arm of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), set up in 2012. The NAO said today that, following September’s announcement, it received correspondence ‘raising concerns around the transparency of JSi’s activities and requesting that we investigate’.Publishing its key findings, the NAO said that the total income generated by JSi was less than £1m. The cost of setting up JSi exceeded the income generated by completed contracts.The NAO estimated that JSi’s costs were approximately £2.1m from 2012 until its closure, including £239,000 on consultancy services.‘Therefore JSi made a net loss of approximately £1.1m in this period. This is due, in part, to the decision to withdraw from prospective arrangements with Saudi Arabia and Oman.’The NAO said it also noted that had JSi not been created, NOMS ‘would have committed funding to support wider international engagement with countries to support Foreign & Commonwealth Office and wider government objectives’.In October justice secretary Michael Gove announced that the government was withdrawing a bid to advise the prison service in Saudi Arabia (pictured) following concerns about the country’s human rights record. The NAO said this decision incurred no financial penalties. It said JSi was now closed and that NOMS ‘does not plan to perform further work for overseas governments on a commercial basis’.last_img read more

Clifton’s co-owner dead at 83

first_imgGLENDALE – The 83-year-old co-owner of Clifton’s Cafeteria, the iconic downtown Los Angeles eatery, was found dead in her penthouse condominium in what police suspect was a homicide, authorities said Thursday. The body of Jean Clinton Roeschlaub, daughter of Clifton’s founder Clifford Clinton, was discovered Wednesday at her 16th-floor condominium in the 200 block of Monterey Road, Glendale police spokesman John Balian said. There were “suspicious circumstances” surrounding her death, Balian said. He did not elaborate. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office is conducting an autopsy. The restaurant still retains the motto “Dine Free Unless Delighted.” Roeschlaub joined the family business full time in 1944, and remained active until her death, visiting the cafeteria at least once a week, Clinton said. “We were busing dishes from the dining room, cleaning tables, filling water glasses, doing odds and ends,” he said, recalling the siblings’ early days. At the Brookdale restaurant – which opened in 1935 – diners still enjoy down-home favorites such as roast turkey and apple pie amid soaring faux redwoods and rock faces inspired by the Santa Cruz mountains, where founder Clifford Clinton spent his summers. Clinton said his sister had a rare vitality – she loved to travel, was a voracious reader, loved films and was an excellent cook who helped refine the restaurant’s more than 2,500 recipes for today’s palate. “Not only are we brother and sister, we work well together,” he said. “We’re close friends and close buddies – we’re buddies at work.” Clifford and Nelda Clinton retired in 1946 and sold their cafeteria interest to Jean, Don and son Edmond. They expanded into surrounding suburbs from the late 1950s through the 1970s as business in downtown Los Angeles declined. Roeschlaub had lived in the Glendale penthouse for about 17 years. She was living alone over the past year after her husband, Ronald Roeschlaub, died in December, Clinton said. She had a pacemaker and coped with some ailments, but was otherwise healthy, he said. “When you’re 83, you have a few things,” he said. “But she was coping.” The family became concerned Wednesday when Roeschlaub missed several appointments and her son Bruce C. Davis could not reach her, Clinton said. They alerted the building manager, who discovered Roeschlaub face-down on the floor. She also is survived by son David J. Davis IV and daughter Diane Bohn. eugene.tong@dailynews.com (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesUp to her death, Roeschlaub was active in the running of the Clifton’s Brookdale Cafeteria at 648 S. Broadway, the only remaining restaurant in a chain that began serving up budget meals during the Great Depression. Her sudden death shocked her family. “It’s a jolt and you never really gear up for it,” said Don Clinton, Roeschlaub’s brother and business partner. “You carry on.” Roeschlaub was among the fourth generation of the Clinton family working in California’s restaurant business. The family started in food service in 1888 when her great-grandfather David Harrison Clinton arrived in Los Angeles from Missouri. Roeschlaub was the daughter of Clifford and Nelda Clinton, who founded Clifton’s with $2,000 in 1931 and a mission to feed the hungry, according to the restaurant’s Web site. last_img read more