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

DWF to go ahead with £600m stock market float

first_imgInternational firm DWF has confirmed that it will become the latest member of the growing cohort of legal services businesses to float on the London Stock Exchange. It is understood to be hoping to raise between £400m and £600m from an initial public offering (IPO), by far the sector’s most ambitious share placing.DWF will be the first law firm listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange rather than the AIM secondary market. In an update posted today, DWF Group Limited announced its potential intention to undertake an IPO. It said that a registration document has been submitted for approval to the UK Financial Conduct Authority. DWF revealed in June last year that it was considering a public offering as ‘one of a number of strategic offerings’. Gordon Dadds Group is currently the largest listed law firm.  Manchester-based DWF has announced a series of international ventures over the past 18 months including an ‘exclusive association’ with Los Angeles-headquartered firm Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman (WSHB). In the year ending 30 April 2018, DWF opened offices in Singapore, Italy and Qatar, as well as adding new offices in Australia and forming a ‘strategic alliance’ in Turkey.DWF would be comfortably the biggest law firm so far to have chosen to list on the stock exchange, and its decision could spark other top 50 firms to advance their plans for a similar move. Firms were allowed to go public as a result of the Legal Services Act 2007, although take-up was slow initially until a handful listed in the last year.last_img read more

Fierro sets record

first_img Share By LARRY GAGESpecial to the PRESSArmando Fierro won both the 800-meter and 1600-me­ter runs at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Regional Track and Field Champion­ships in McAllen on Satur­day. In so doing he quali­fied for the Games of Texas Championships in Waco next week.Fierro’s times in both events set Region II sum­mer records. His time in the 1600-meters was 4 minutes 29 seconds and in the 800-meter run he hit the tape with a time of 2:02. Both times were about five seconds off his personal best times in each event.The TAAF is the govern­ing body for the summer track and field program in Texas. Events are conducted in seven different age groups ranging from the “Tiny Tots” division, for athletes four and five years old, up through the “Seniors” group, for those competitors 17 and 18 years of age. Fierro, as an incom­ing senior at Port Isabel High, competes in the Senior division. To see this story in print, pick up a copy of the July 18 edition of the Port Isabel South Padre Press or check out our E-edition by clicking here. RelatedFierro second in 1600-meter run in WacoBy LARRY GAGE Special to the PRESS It was another close fin­ish for Armando Fierro on Saturday. In fact, the finishes don’t come much closer than this one. In the 1600-meter race at the Games of Texas Champi­onships in Waco, Fierro came home second by a tenth of a second…August 2, 2011In “News”Fierro wins in Meet of Champions By LARRY GAGE Port Isabel Tarpon runner Armando Fierro continued his winning ways in the long-distance races this season by taking first place in the 1600-meter run at the RGVCA Meet of Champions on Saturday in Weslaco. He also placed sec­ond in the 800 meter race. In winning the 1600,…March 28, 2011In “Sports”Armando Fierro running down a dreamBy LARRY GAGE Special to the PRESS Armando Fierro is a young man literally on the run.  A junior at Port Isabel High, Fierro got the bronze medal for his third place finish in the 3200-meter run at the UIL State Track and Field Meet in Austin last week.  It…May 19, 2011In “Sports”last_img read more

Alvarez, Sisco highlight Orioles’ first wave of September call-ups

first_imgBALTIMORE — With September bringing the perk of an expanded roster, the Orioles have summoned an old friend and will provide the first major league taste to one of their top prospects.Veteran slugger Pedro Alvarez and rookie catcher Chance Sisco headlined a list of promotions that also included outfielder Joey Rickard and right-handed relief pitchers Jimmy Yacabonis and Richard Rodriguez on Friday afternoon. Baltimore designated right-handers Tyler Wilson and Logan Verrett for assignment to make the necessary room on the 40-man roster.Signed to a minor-league deal in March, Alvarez spent the entire season at Triple-A Norfolk and hit 26 home runs with a .737 on-base plus slugging percentage for the Tides. The 30-year-old spent 2016 in Baltimore and hit 22 homers with an .826 OPS, but his significant defensive limitations left him without a major league job this past offseason. He had been learning to play the outfield in the first half of the season at Norfolk, but the experiment was largely abandoned as he played first base in the second half.Manager Buck Showalter confirmed that Sisco’s promotion is expected to be more of a learning experience rather than an audition, especially with incumbents Welington Castillo and Caleb Joseph playing so well. Ranked as Baltimore’s No. 1 prospect in Baseball American’s mid-season top 10 list, the 22-year-old hit .267 with seven homers, 23 doubles, and a .736 OPS at Norfolk this season and was invited to take part in the MLB All-Star Futures Game for the second straight year.Sisco’s locker was placed next to Joseph’s, a deliberate move to help the highly-regarded talent better learn his trade from an above-average defensive catcher.Rickard is back with the Orioles after a two-week stint at Norfolk that allowed the club to begin carrying Rule 5 outfielder Anthony Santander on the 25-man roster in mid-August. Yacabonis has also spent time with Baltimore this season, allowing five earned runs and walking six in 6 1/3 innings.Rodriguez, 27, has yet to make his major league debut, but he posted a 2.42 ERA in 70 2/3 innings and recorded 10 saves for the Tides this season to earn the promotion.last_img read more