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Emotions and BIS/BAS components affect brain activity (ERPs and fNIRS) in observing intra-species and inter-species interactions

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Abstract

Affective response to observation of intra-species and inter-species interactions was considered in the present research. The brain activity (optical imaging: functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, fNIRS; and event-related potentials, ERPs, N200) was monitored when subjects observed interactive situations (human-human, HH; human-animal, HA) with a positive (cooperative), negative (uncooperative) or neutral (no emotional) content. In addition, cortical lateralization (more left or right prefrontal activity) and personality component (Behavioral Activation System, BAS; Behavioral Inhibition System, BIS) effects were explored. Both ERP and fNIRS showed significant brain activity increasing in response to positive and negative compared with neutral interactions for HH and HA. However, some differences were found between HH (more "negative valence" effect) and HA (more "positive valence" effect). Finally BAS and BIS were related respectively to more left (positive conditions) or right (negative conditions) hemispheric activity. These results supported the significance of affective behavior differentiating the species-specific and species-aspecific relationships.

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... Frequently, refers to the speed of electrical oscillations and is measured in cycles per second -Hertz (Hz). Frequencies are usually categorized into five types -from highest to lowest: Gamma , Beta (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26)(27)(28)(29)(30), Alpha (8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13), Theta (4-7 or 8 Hz) and Delta (0-4 Hz) [3]. EEG has a low spatial resolution. ...
... Whereas fNIRS is a non-invasive, safe, easily applicable, noise resilient, and motion tolerant optical imaging method that measures brain activity through hemoglobin oxygenation and deoxygenation [5][6][7][8][9][10]. In fact, the technology measures the change in oxygenation against a baseline [11]. ...
... -Digital: those articles that had as stimuli videos, digital images or digital images with sound. This was the largest group, containing 25 studies [8,9,12,13,; -Task: the experiments that include some kind of activities to be developed by the participants, such as playing Sudoku [36], communicating with drums [37], solving arithmetic activities [38,39] or playing instruments [40]; -Interaction: including the interaction between a user and a software [14], virtual reality [41], a car simulator [42] or a virtual game [43]; -Others: studies that did not fit into the previous categories, such as reflective actions [7,10], muscular thermal change [44], audio analysis [45], hand clench movement [11], classes [6], physical product analysis [13,46] or product development [47]. ...
... An effect size metric (Cohen's D) for every stimulus condition was calculated by taking the difference between the mean of the signal in the [10][11][12][13][14][15] second time range after the stimulus onset and the mean of the signal in the [1][2][3] second pre-stimulus baseline interval. This stimulus evoked amplitude change with respect to baseline was then divided by the standard deviation of the [1-3] second pre-stimulus baseline similar to the procedure of Balconi and Vanutelli (2016) [35]. ...
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... It is possible that alteration in neural activities between some of the reviewed studies may reflect differences in the types or valences of emotional stimuli presented. A theme was uncovered in several reviewed studies whereby positively valanced stimuli were characterised by O2Hb increases in the left hemisphere and negatively valanced stimuli in the right hemisphere (Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016;Balconi et al., 2017;. This pattern of activity is consistent with two general theories of hemispheric asymmetry for emotion: ...
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Functional neuroimaging provides an avenue for earlier diagnosis and tailored treatment of psychological disorders characterized by emotional impairment. Near-infrared spectroscopy offers ecological advantages compared to other neuroimaging techniques and suitability of measuring regions involved in emotion functions. A systematic review was conducted to evaluate the capacity of NIRS to detect activation during emotion processing and to provide recommendations for future research. Following a comprehensive literature search, we reviewed 85 journal articles which compared activation during emotional experience, regulation or perception with either a neutral condition or baseline period among healthy participants. The quantitative synthesis of outcomes was limited to thematical analysis, owing to the lack of standardisation between studies. Although most studies found increased prefrontal activity during emotional experience and regulation, the findings were more inconsistent for emotion perception. Some researchers reported increased activity during the task, some reported decreases, some no significant changes, and some reported mixed findings depending on the valence and region. We propose that variations in the cognitive task and stimuli, recruited sample, and measurement and analysis of data are the primary causes of inconsistency. Recommendations to improve consistency in future research by carefully considering the choice of population, cognitive task and analysis approach are provided.
... A higher BAS was associated with a higher intake of alcohol; this finding was not confirmed here as we did not find any significant association. This result could be due to different reasons; first, we reported a relative lower Cronbach alpha value compared to the literature, both in studies with Italians (α= 0.96 Balconi & Vanutelli, 2016) or other culture (α= 0.79; Tapper et al., 2015). ...
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... An effect size metric (Cohen's D) for every stimulus condition was calculated by taking the difference between the mean of the signal in the [10][11][12][13][14][15] second time range after the stimulus onset and the mean of the signal in the [1][2][3] second pre-stimulus baseline interval. This stimulus evoked amplitude change with respect to baseline was then divided by the standard deviation of the [1-3] second pre-stimulus baseline similar to the procedure of Balconi and Vanutelli (2016) [35]. ...
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... A second aspect to highlight from our results is the higher differences of the left side compared to the right lateral PFC in high Neuroticism subjects. Different neuroimaging studies have obtained results supporting the hypothesis of brain asymmetry in response to the stimulus valence [56][57][58][59][60][61][62]. However, other authors have discarded the existence of this asymmetry suggesting the existence of different patterns in cerebral blood flow changes that could be used for classifying emotions [63]. ...
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... Indeed, firstly, EEG activity may be considered as a good measure of brain responsiveness, and it has often been used to describe distinct responsiveness by the two hemispheres to different emotional and social conditions [27,28,37,38]. Specifically, the hemispheric lateralization model of emotions furnished clear evidences about the significance of the left (more positive valenced stimuli) and right (more negative valences stimuli) hemisphere in correspondence with the alpha band modulation [37]. ...
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... These findings about approach and avoidance motivation during depression may be related with two primary motivational systems: the behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and the behavioral activation system (BAS). The BIS refers to inhibit ongoing behavior while processing cues of punishment or non-reward and the BAS responds to reward or active avoidance of punishment (Davidson, 1992;Harmon-Jones and Allen, 1997;Balconi and Vanutelli, 2015). Previous studies have mentioned that depression is related with an underactive BAS and overactive BIS (Hundt et al., 2007), which may contribute to the anhedonic symptoms (reduced response to reward) and increased avoidance motivation (inhibited behavior to punishment), respectively. ...
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At the heart of emotion, mood, and any other emotionally charged event are states experienced as simply feeling good or bad, energized or enervated. These states - called core affect - influence reflexes, perception, cognition, and behavior and are influenced by many causes internal and external, but people have no direct access to these causal connections. Core affect can therefore be experienced as free-floating (mood) or can be attributed to some cause (and thereby begin an emotional episode). These basic processes spawn a broad framework that includes perception of the core-affect-altering properties of stimuli, motives, empathy, emotional meta-experience, and affect versus emotion regulation; it accounts for prototypical emotional episodes, such as fear and anger, as core affect attributed to something plus various nonemotional processes.
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In two experiments a tachistoscopic paradigm was used to examine hemispheric differences in facial affect perception among anxious and nonanxious men without depression. In Experiment 1, hemispheric processing of Ekman and Friesen's (1978) happy, angry, and neutral emotional faces was tachistoscopically examined, with reaction time as the dependent variable. The following results were obtained: (1) a right-hemisphere (LVF) advantage for the perception of facial affect, consistent with previous reports of the right hemisphere's relative specialization for facial affect perception and (2) slower reaction time to facial affect stimuli for anxious men, regardless of valence and visual field. Similar procedures were used in Experiment 2, but with accuracy rather than reaction time as the dependent measure. Analyses yielded a three-way interaction, with anxious men identifying angry affects in the left versus right visual field more accurately, whereas nonanxious men demonstrated symmetry for the processing of angry affects. Implications for hemispheric asymmetry (i.e., relative right posterior activation) among anxious individuals without depression are discussed.
Article
In the last years social neuroscience research attempted to identify the neural networks underlying the human ability to perceive others' emotions, a core process in establishing meaningful social bonds. A large amount of papers arose and identified common and specific empathy-based networks with respect to stimulus type and task. Despite the great majority of studies focused on human-human contexts, we do not establish relations with only other humans, but also with non-human animals. The aim of the present work was to explore the brain mechanisms involved in empathic concern for people who interacts with both peers and other species. Participants have been assessed by functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) while viewing pictures depicting humans interacting with both other men and women (human-human condition: HH), or with dogs and cats (human-animal: HA). Results showed that aggressive HH interactions elicited greater prefrontal activity (PFC) than HA ones while, when considering HA interactions, friendly ones were related to higher cortical activity. Finally, oxy (O2Hb) and deoxyhemoglobin (HHb) increasing related to the processing of aggressive interactions positively correlated with different empathic measures, within more specific brain regions. Results were elucidated with respect to available evidence on emotion perception, empathic neural mechanisms and their functional meaning for human-animal contexts. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
Gray (1981, 1982) holds that 2 general motivational systems underlie behavior and affect: a behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and a behavioral activation system (BAS). Self-report scales to assess dispositional BIS and BAS sensitivities were created. Scale development (Study 1) and convergent and discriminant validity in the form of correlations with alternative measures are reported (Study 2). In Study 3, a situation in which Ss anticipated a punishment was created. Controlling for initial nervousness, Ss high in BIS sensitivity (assessed earlier) were more nervous than those low. In Study 4, a situation in which Ss anticipated a reward was created. Controlling for initial happiness, Ss high in BAS sensitivity (Reward Responsiveness and Drive scales) were happier than those low. In each case the new scales predicted better than an alternative measure. Discussion is focused on conceptual implications.
Article
Due to its fast temporal evolution and its representation and integration among complex and widespread neural networks, the emotion perception process should preferably be examined by means of multimethodological approach. Indeed the indubitable vantage of acquiring both the autonomic (arousal-related) and the central (cortical-related) activities stands in the possibility to better elucidate the reciprocal interplay of the two compartments. In the present study EEG (frequency band analysis), systemic SCR and heart rate (HR) were all recorded simultaneously with hemodynamic (NIRS, Near-Infrared Spectroscopy) measurements as potential biological markers of emotions, related to both central and peripheral systems. These multiple measures were then related to the self-report correlates, that is the subjective appraisal in term of valence (positive vs. negative) and arousal (high vs. low) by using SAM rating. Twenty subjects were submitted to emotional cues processing (IAPS) when fNIRS, frequency bands (alpha, beta, delta, theta), SCR and HR were recorded. As shown by O2Hb increasing within the right hemisphere, the contribution of prefrontal cortex was elucidated, by pointing out a relevant lateralization effect (more right-PFC activity) induced by the specific valence (negative) of the emotional patterns. Secondly, EEG activity (mainly low-frequency theta and delta bands) was intrinsically associated with the cortical hemodynamic responsiveness to the negative emotional patterns, within the right side. Finally SCR increased mainly in response to negative patterns, and the autonomic behavior was related to explicit (SAM) and cortical (NIRS; EEG) activity. The intrinsic relationships between these three different levels are discussed. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Article
The simultaneous application of different neuroimaging methods combining high temporal and spatial resolution can uniquely contribute to current issues and open questions in the field of pragmatic language perception. In the present study, comprehension of novel metaphors was investigated using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) combined with the simultaneous acquisition of event-related potentials (ERPs). For the first time, we investigated the effects of figurative language on early electrophysiological markers (P200, N400) and their functional relationship to cortical haemodynamic responses within the language network (Broca’s area, Wernicke’s area). To this end, 20 healthy subjects judged 120 sentences with respect to their meaningfulness, whereby phrases were either literal, metaphoric, or meaningless. Our results indicated a metaphor specific P200 reduction and a linear increase of N400 amplitudes from literal over metaphoric to meaningless sentences. Moreover, there were metaphor related effects on haemodynamic responses accessed with NIRS, especially within the left lateral frontal cortex (Broca’s area). Significant correlations between electrophysiological and haemodynamic responses indicated that P200 reductions during metaphor comprehension were associated with an increased recruitment of neural activity within left Wernicke’s area, indicating a link between variations in neural activity and haemodynamic changes within Wernicke’s area. This link may reflect processes related to interindividual differences regarding the ability to classify novel metaphors. The present study underlines the usefulness of simultaneous NIRS-EEG measurements in language paradigms – especially for investigating the functional significance of neurophysiological markers that have so far been rarely examined – as these measurements are easily and efficiently realizable and allow for a complementary examination of neural activity and associated metabolic changes in cortical areas.
Article
Engaging in prosocial behavior was explored in the present research, by investigating the role of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in modulation of intention to support other people and of emotional attuning as it was expressed by facial feedback (electromiography, EMG). High-frequency rTMS was applied on DLPFC to 25 subjects when they were required to choose to directly intervene or not to support other people in emotionally valenced social situations (cooperative, noncooperative, conflictual, neutral contexts). Two control conditions were included in the experimental design to control the simple stimulation effect (sham condition with absence of TMS stimulation) and the location effect (control site condition with Pz stimulation). In comparison with sham and control condition, rTMS stimulation induced increased prosocial behavior in all the emotional situations. Moreover, as a function of valence, zygomatic (for positive situations) and corrugators (for negative situations) muscle activity was increased, with significant effect by DLPFC stimulation which induced a "facilitation effect". In addition, negative situations showed a higher rTMS impact for both behavioral and EMG responsiveness. Finally, prosocial behavior was found to be predicted (regression analysis) by EMG variations, as a function of the negative versus positive valence. The prefrontal circuit was suggested to support emotional responsiveness and facial feedback in order to facilitate the prosocial behavior.
Article
This book provides an updated theory of the nature of anxiety and the brain systems controlling anxiety, combined with a theory of hippocampal function, which was first proposed thirty years ago. While remaining controversial, the core of this theory, of a 'Behavioural Inhibition System', has stood the test of time, with its main predictions repeatedly confirmed. Novel anti-anxiety drugs share none of the side effects or primary pharmacological actions of the classical anti-anxiety drugs on the actions of which the theory was based; but they have both the behavioural and hippocampal actions predicted by the theory. This text is the second edition of the book and it departs significantly from the first. It provides, for the first time, a single construct - goal conflict - that underlies all the known inputs to the system; and it includes current data on the amygdala. Its reviews include the ethology of defence, learning theory, the psychopharmacology of anti-anxiety drugs, anxiety disorders, and the clinical and laboratory analysis of amnesia. The cognitive and behavioural functions in anxiety of the septo-hippocampal system and the amygdala are also analysed, as are their separate roles in memory and fear. Their functions are related to a hierarchy of additional structures - from the prefrontal cortex to the periaqueductal gray - that control the various forms of defensive behaviour and to detailed analysis of the monoamine systems that modulate this control. The resultant neurology is linked to the typology, symptoms, pre-disposing personality and therapy of anxiety and phobic disorders, and to the symptoms of amnesia. © Jeffrey A. Gray and Neil McNaughton 2000 , 2003. All rights reserved.
Article
Neurobiological research with animals strongly suggests that the brain systems which mediate emotion overlap with those that mediate cognition to such a degree that it is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain any clear distinction between them. Possible reasons for this overlap are discussed; and a model of brain systems that simultaneously subserve emotion and cognition is presented. The model postulates the existence of three fundamental systems of this kind in the mammalian brain: a behavioural approach system, a fight/flight system, and a behavioural inhibition system. The neuropsychology of each of these systems is briefly presented.
Article
The present study integrated three different measures of emotional empathic behaviour in a social context: verbal self-report measures (empathic response, emotional involvement, emotional significance, and valence), autonomic response (skin conductance, SCR, and heart rate, HR), and personal response to empathic scale (BEES). Thirty-five younger adults were presented with different interpersonal scene types (co-operation, non-co-operation, conflict, neutral). Different empathic sensitivity to these interpersonal situations was tested, since we hypothesised self-report on empathy, emotional involvement and valence varied as a function of interpersonal context. As supposed, self-report measures of empathy and autonomic measures were found to be related: SCR and HR increased in response to conflictual and non-co-operative situations. Moreover, high empathic subjects were more responsive (on both self-report and autonomic response) to empathy-related situations than low empathic subjects. The convergence of these multidimensional measures are discussed: emotional components of empathy are elucidated in relation to self-report, autonomic modulation, and personality trait variation.
Article
presented an overview of recent research on anterior [cortical function] asymmetries associated with emotion and individual differences in emotional reactivity, psychopathologic states, dispositional mood, and temperament sketch the major elements of the theoretical model that motivates the research to be presented / the methods that are common to our studies and the unique methodologic requirements of this research are then described / research on anterior asymmetries associated with the phasic arousal of emotion are presented, followed by a summary of our findings on the relations between individual differences in baseline asymmetry and affective reactivity (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A model of the neuropsychology of anxiety is proposed. The model is based in the first instance upon an analysis of the behavioural effects of the antianxiety drugs (benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and alcohol) in animals. From such psychopharmacologi-cal experiments the concept of a “behavioural inhibition system” (BIS) has been developed. This system responds to novel stimuli or to those associated with punishment or nonreward by inhibiting ongoing behaviour and increasing arousal and attention to the environment. It is activity in the BIS that constitutes anxiety and that is reduced by antianxiety drugs. The effects of the antianxiety drugs in the brain also suggest hypotheses concerning the neural substrate of anxiety. Although the benzodiazepines and barbiturates facilitate the effects of γ-aminobutyrate, this is insufficient to explain their highly specific behavioural effects. Because of similarities between the behavioural effects of certain lesions and those of the antianxiety drugs, it is proposed that these drugs reduce anxiety by impairing the functioning of a widespread neural system including the septo-hippocampal system (SHS), the Papez circuit, the prefrontal cortex, and ascending monoaminergic and cholinergic pathways which innervate these forebrain structures. Analysis of the functions of this system (based on anatomical, physiological, and behavioural data) suggests that it acts as a comparator: it compares predicted to actual sensory events and activates the outputs of the BIS when there is a mismatch or when the predicted event is aversive. Suggestions are made as to the functions of particular pathways within this overall brain system. The resulting theory is applied to the symptoms and treatment of anxiety in man, its relations to depression, and the personality of individuals who are susceptible to anxiety or depression.
Article
The present research firstly investigated the neural correlates (ERPs, event-related potentials) of attitudes to engage in prosocial-helping behaviors, and secondly, it analyzed the relation between these brain-based potentials and personal profile (high vs. low empathic profile). It was considered the subjects' behavior in response to specific emotional situations (positive vs. negative) in case it was required a possible prosocial intervention. Thirty-one subjects were invited to empathize with the emotional contexts (videotapes that reproduced two person's exchanges) and to decide whether to intervene or not to support these persons. BEES questionnaire for empathic behavior was submitted to the subjects after the experimental session. ERP acquisition and LORETA source analysis revealed a negative ongoing deflection (N200 effect) more prefrontally distributed (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) in response to prosocial intervention options mainly for negative and positive contexts. Moreover, a significant positive correlation was found between high-empathic profiles, intervention behaviors (higher frequency of interventions) and N200 amplitude (higher peak). These results highlight the role of emotions in prosocial behavior, since the N200 effect was considered a marker of the emotional significance of the interpersonal situation. Secondly, the empathic trait may explain the prosocial decisional processes: Higher empathic trait contributes to induce subject's intervention behavior which in turn appears to be directly related to the cortical responsiveness within the prefrontal areas.
Article
The aims were (1) to determine the sensitivity and reproducibility to detect the hemodynamic responses and optical neuronal signals to brain stimulation by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and evoked potentials by electroencephalography (EEG) and (2) to test the effect of novel filters on the signal-to-noise ratio. This was achieved by simultaneous NIRS and EEG measurements in 15 healthy adults during visual stimulation. Each subject was measured three times on three different days. The sensitivity of NIRS to detect hemodynamic responses was 55.2 % with novel filtering and 40 % without. The reproducibility in single subjects was low. For the EEG, the sensitivity was 86.4 % and the reproducibility 57.1 %. An optical neuronal signal was not detected, although novel filtering considerably reduced noise.
Article
This paper describes a procedure, Vector filter, based on a multiple regression model, which decomposes the event-related brain potential into components on the basis of scalp distribution. It is assumed that the voltage values observed at several electrode sites at any point in time are given by the linear combination of a set of components and background noise and that the scalp distribution of each component is invariant and known. Each component's scalp distribution is expressed by a set of weights, one for each electrode. The amplitude of the component, at any point in time, is then derived using a least squares criterion. Unlike other component decomposition procedures, Vector filter can be applied when the latency of a component varies as a function of trial, condition, or subject population. We review two problems in the use of the procedure: the selection of the set of components, and the derivation of the scalp distribution of each of the components. Two applications of the procedure are discussed: identification of the component structure of an event-related potential waveform, and filtering of a waveform for a particular component.
Article
Recent studies have shown that the late positive component of the event-related-potential (ERP) is enhanced for emotional pictures, presented in an oddball paradigm, evaluated as distant from an established affective context. In other research, with context-free, random presentation, affectively intense pictures (pleasant and unpleasant) prompted similar enhanced ERP late positivity (compared with the neutral picture response). In an effort to reconcile interpretations of the late positive potential (LPP), ERPs to randomly ordered pictures were assessed, but using the faster presentation rate, brief exposure (1.5 s), and distinct sequences of six pictures, as in studies using an oddball based on evaluative distance. Again, results showed larger LPPs to pleasant and unpleasant pictures, compared with neutral pictures. Furthermore, affective pictures of high arousal elicited larger LPPs than less affectively intense pictures. The data support the view that late positivity to affective pictures is modulated both by their intrinsic motivational significance and the evaluative context of picture presentation.
Article
Gray's two-factor learning theory postulates a behavioral activation system (BAS), a behavioral inhibition system (BIS), and a nonspecific arousal system receiving excitatory inputs from both the BAS and the BIS. The BAS initiates behavior in response to conditioned stimuli for reward (approach) or for relieving nonpunishment (active avoidance). The BIS, which is viewed as an anxiety system, inhibits behavior in response to cues for punishment (passive avoidance) or frustrative nonreward (extinction), and its activity is decreased by the anti-anxiety drugs (alcohol, barbiturates, minor tranquilizers). Thus, the BIS is an arousal system which inhibits rather than energizes behavior.A review of the literature suggests that heart rate (HR) is strongly associated with activity of the BAS. This interpretation subsumes the previous findings of cardiac-somatic coupling, incentive effects on HR, and increased HR in connection with active coping in the face of threat. Electrodermal activity (EDA), on the other hand, increases when there is an activation of the BIS. A consideration of these differing effects on HR and EDA permits a specification of conditions in which these two measures will or will not show directional fractionation.With this theoretical model it is possible to relate the clinical features of psychopathy to the psychophysiological data with the single assumption that primary psychopaths have a deficient BIS. As a result, they show normal approach, active avoidance, and HR, but they suffer from poor passive avoidance and extinction with reduced EDA in response to threatening stimuli.
Chapter
Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), which was originally designed for clinical monitoring of tissue oxygenation, has recently been receiving increasing attention as a useful tool for neuroimaging studies. This technique is completely noninvasive, does not require strict motion restriction, and can be used in a daily-life environment. It is expected that NIRS will provide a new direction for cognitive neuroscience research, more so than other neuroimaging techniques, although several problems with NIRS remain to be explored. This chapter describes the basic theory of NIRS, its potential and limitations, and the future prospects of this technique.
Article
The present study integrated three different measures of emotional empathic behavior in a social context: verbal self-report measures (empathic response, emotional involvement, emotional significance, and valence), facial mimicry (activity of corrugator and zygomaticus muscles), and personal response to the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES). Participants were presented with different interpersonal scene types (cooperation, noncooperation, conflict, indifference). Firstly, self-rating on empathy, emotional involvement, and valence varied as a function of interpersonal context. Secondly, corrugator activity increased in response to conflictual and noncooperative situations; zygomatic activity increased in response to cooperative situations. Third, high- and low-BEES subjects showed different empathic behavior: High-empathic subjects were more responsive to empathy-related situations than low-empathic subjects. The convergence and divergence of these multidimensional measures was discussed.
Article
According to a recent hypothesis, the prefrontal cortex has been proposed as the site of emotional memory integration, because it is sensitive to the recognition of emotional contents. In the present research, we explored the role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in memory recognition processes for positive versus negative emotional stimuli when old (target) and new (distractor, either semantically related or unrelated to the target) stimuli were presented. The role of the DLPFC was analysed using an rTMS (repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation) paradigm that induced increased cortical activation of the left DLPFC. The subjects were required to perform a task that consisted of two experimental phases (i.e., an encoding and a recognition phase) in which the targets and the distractors were presented and recognition performance was measured. rTMS stimulation was provided over the left DLPFC during the recognition phase. We found that the rTMS stimulation affected the memory recognition of positive emotional material. Moreover, related and unrelated distractors were discarded better when they were positively valenced, and a more significant effect (i.e., increased performance) was produced in response to related distractors. This result suggests that the activation of the left DLPFC favours the memory recognition of positive emotional information, and that such activation is able to induce a more appropriate selective process to distinguish target from distractor stimuli in the presence of more complex processes (related distractors). The valence model of emotional cue processing may explain this increased performance by demonstrating the distinct role of the left hemisphere in the retrieval of positive emotional information.
Article
We examine the effect of individual psychological differences on network structures, proposing several hypotheses about how individual differences might predispose actors to structure their social environment by seeking network closure or by sustaining structural holes. We introduce a new triad census method to examine personal networks of strong and weak ties. For 125 egocentric networks we correlated the triad census results with several extensively researched psychological instruments. The triad census reduced to three principal components, describing central aspects of strength-of-weak-ties and structural holes theories. Psychological predispositions explained a significant proportion of the variance in each of these components. Our results suggest that people who see themselves vulnerable to external forces tend to inhabit closed networks of weak connections. On the other hand, people who seek to keep their strong tie partners apart, and thereby bridge structural holes, tend to be individualists, to believe that they control the events in their lives, and to have higher levels of neuroticism. Finally, people with strong network closure and “weak” structural holes (as with the “strength of weak ties”) tend to categorize themselves and others in terms of group memberships. They also tend to be more extraverted and less individualistic.
Article
Empathy is related to the natural human ability to understand emotions and feelings of others, where a sort of "resonance" mechanism between the observer and the observed permits a direct form of understanding. The present study explored four different measures related to empathic behavior in a social context: autonomic behavior (skin conductance--SCR, and heart rate--HR), personal response to empathic scale (BEES), approach-withdrawal attitudes (BIS/BAS), and verbal self-report measures. Participants were presented with different interpersonal scene types (cooperation, non-cooperation, conflict, indifference), and they were required to empathize with them. Different autonomic response patterns were found as a function of the interpersonal situations: SCR and HR increased in case of conflictual and non-cooperative situations. This result was confirmed by self-rating measures on empathy, since emotional involvement and valence attributed to the scenes varied in concomitance with psychophysiological parameters. Third, high and low BEES subjects showed different empathic behavior: high empathic subjects were more responsive (on both self-report and autonomic response) to empathy-related situations than low empathic subjects. Finally, BIS and BAS attitudes demonstrated a significant relationship with both BEES and autonomic patterns: high BAS subjects were more responsive and empathic with positive, cooperative situations, whereas high BIS empathized with more negative, conflictual situations. The convergence of these multidimensional measures was discussed.
Article
One important aspect of empathy is a "resonance mechanism", which includes emotional cue detection, facial mimicry (measured by electromyography, EMG) and a specific cortical response. This study explored the convergence of these three measures of affective empathy. The twenty students who took part in the study were required to empathise with the situation by entering into the other person's situation. The four emotions portrayed were anger, fear, happiness, and neutral, and the subjects were instructed to make a two-alternative response (emotion or no emotion) to each emotion. A repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to produce a temporary inhibition of the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). The results support the hypothesis that there is a direct relationship between emotional cue recognition, EMG-measured facial response and prefrontal activity. First, both facial expression detection and autonomic mimicry in reaction to emotional faces were systematically modulated in response to inhibition of the MPFC. Second, the MPFC was implicated in facial cue detection and the subsequent autonomic response because an impaired performance on both measures was observed when this brain area was inhibited. Third, this effect increased when negative-valenced stimuli (angry and fearful faces) were presented to the subjects. These results revealed a significant effect of the MPFC on both cue detection and facial mimicry that was distinctly related to different types of emotions.
Article
Empathic responses to facial cues are a main social competency. Both appraisal processes (facial emotion detection) and self-perceived empathy (empathic responsiveness) in response to emotional faces are thought to be related to empathic behavior, although no systematic analysis has been performed to assess their relationship. The current research explored the contribution of the frontal sensorimotor system to facial detection and self-reported empathic measures by using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to produce a temporary disruption of this specific cortical site. Eighteen subjects were asked to detect facial expression of emotions (anger, fear, happiness, and neutrality) and to evaluate their empathic responsiveness to these facial cues. A 5-second rTMS (1 Hz, inhibition paradigm) pulse was delivered before the stimulus onset. Error rates and response times (RTs) increased when brain activity was disrupted, specifically in response to anger and fear. Self-reported measures showed a concomitant decreased empathic response when the frontal sensorimotor system was deactivated. The ability to monitor emotional cues and the behavioral empathic responsiveness to emotional situations was shown to be partially compromised in the case of frontal activity disruption, highlighting the main role of the sensorimotor system for empathic social skills.
Article
Functional activity in the visual cortex was assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology while participants viewed a series of pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant pictures. Coronal images at four different locations in the occipital cortex were acquired during each of eight 12-s picture presentation periods (on) and 12-s interpicture interval (off). The extent of functional activation was larger in the right than the left hemisphere and larger in the occipital than in the occipitoparietal regions during processing of all picture contents compared with the interpicture intervals. More importantly, functional activity was significantly greater in all sampled brain regions when processing emotional (pleasant or unpleasant) pictures than when processing neutral stimuli. In Experiment 2, a hypothesis that these differences were an artifact of differential eye movements was ruled out. Whereas both emotional and neutral pictures produced activity centered on the calcarine fissure (Area 17), only emotional pictures also produced sizable clusters bilaterally in the occipital gyrus, in the right fusiform gyrus, and in the right inferior and superior parietal lobules.
Article
Recent evidence shows that emotion can facilitate the processing of conflict. This effect is subserved by a neural network including the ventral and dorsal portions of the anterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala. However, the time course of emotional modulation of conflict processing is unknown. Therefore, we presented emotional and neutral words in a version of the flanker task and recorded event-related brain potentials (ERP). Reaction times replicated accelerated conflict processing in emotional compared to neutral trials. We also observed a conflict-related negativity at 200 ms after stimulus onset. Interestingly, this N200 amplitude difference was enhanced in emotional trials. These data indicate an early influence of emotion on the processing of conflict. Such an adaptive mechanism ensures rapid resolution of conflict in potentially threatening situations.
Article
The present study explored the effect of the individual differences related to BIS and BAS (Behavioural Inhibition and Activation System) on brain oscillations, in response to appetitive and aversive emotional stimuli. EEG cortical measures (delta, theta, alpha, and gamma) were recorded, during viewing IAPS figures, that varied in terms of pleasantness and arousal. Withdrawal (BIS system) and appetitive (BAS system) behaviour showed opposite patterns of subjective responses. Also, a specific frontal network was found to be responsive to the relevance of emotional cues. Moreover an increased response for high arousing (negative and positive) stimuli in comparison with low arousing and neutral stimuli was found within the left and right frontal areas. Specifically delta and theta band have a significant role in monitoring the attentional significance of emotions. Finally, the effects of subjective evaluation and individual differences were discussed at light of the two-dimensional model of emotion processing, that is the valence and the arousing power of emotional cues.
Article
Asymmetry in comprehension of facial expression of emotions was explored in the present study by analysing alpha band variation within the right and left cortical sides. Second, the behavioural activation system (BAS) and behavioural inhibition system (BIS) were considered as an explicative factor to verify the effect of a motivational/emotional variable on alpha activity. A total of 19 participants looked at an ample range of facial expressions of emotions (anger, fear, surprise, disgust, happiness, sadness, and neutral) in random order. The results demonstrated that anterior frontal sites were more active than central and parietal sites in response to facial stimuli. Moreover, right and left side responses varied as a function of emotional types, with an increased right frontal activity for negative, aversive emotions vs an increased left response for positive emotion. Finally, whereas higher BIS participants generated more right hemisphere activation for some negative emotions (such as fear, anger, surprise, and disgust), BAS participants were more responsive to positive emotion (happiness) within the left hemisphere. Motivational significance of facial expressions was considered to elucidate cortical differences in participants' responses to emotional types.
Article
The study aimed to explore the modulation of frequency bands (delta, theta, alpha-1 and alpha-2, and gamma) in response to emotional face within different post-stimulus time intervals (50-450 ms). Twenty adults looked at emotional (happy, sad, angry, fearful) or neutral faces. EEG results showed that motivational significance of face can modulate frequency bands, specifically for theta and gamma. Moreover, gamma can be varied related to degree of arousing feature (high or low) of facial expression. As a function of time, ANOVA and regression analysis revealed that emotional discrimination by gamma and theta is observable mainly within 150-250 time interval and, as revealed also by coherence analysis, that it is more distributed on the anterior-right (theta) or right (gamma) side of the scalp for the emotional stimuli, whereas delta is maximally increased within 250-350 interval and it is more posteriorly (parietal site) distributed for all the stimulus type. We proposed that band modulations respond to variations in processing emotional face, and, whereas delta reflects updating of the stimulus, and theta responds to the emotional significance of face, gamma reflects differences in the arousing power of facial expression.
Article
The study aims to explore the significance of event-related potentials (ERPs) and event-related brain oscillations (EROs) (delta, theta, alpha, beta, gamma power) in response to emotional (fear, happiness, sadness) when compared with neutral faces during 180-250 post-stimulus time interval. The ERP results demonstrated that the emotional face elicited a negative peak at approximately 230 ms (N2). Moreover, EEG measures showed that motivational significance of face (emotional vs. neutral) could modulate the amplitude of EROs, but only for some frequency bands (i.e. theta and gamma bands). In a second phase, we considered the resemblance of the two EEG measures by a regression analysis. It revealed that theta and gamma oscillations mainly effect as oscillation activity at the N2 latency. Finally, a posterior increased power of theta was found for emotional faces.
Article
The study aims to explore the significance of event-related potentials (ERPs) and event-related brain oscillations (EROs) (delta, theta, and alpha power) in response to emotional face during 180-250 poststimulus time interval. Twenty-one adults looked at emotional (sad, happy, fearful) or neutral faces. The results demonstrated that the emotional face elicited a negative peak at approximately 230 ms (N230). Moreover EEG measures showed that motivational significance of face (stimulus type) can modulate the amplitude of EEG, especially for theta and delta. Regression analysis showed that theta oscillations mainly effect as oscillation activity at the N2 latency. Thus, this frequency band variation could represent a complex set of cognitive processes, whereby selective attention becomes focused on an emotional relevant stimulus.
Article
We examined whether resting anterior electroencephalographic (EEG) asymmetry in the alpha frequency band has psychometric properties that would be expected of a measure assessing individual differences. In each of two experimental sessions, separated by three weeks, resting EEG in midfrontal and anterior temporal sites was recorded from 85 female adults during eight 60-s baselines. Resting alpha asymmetry demonstrated acceptable test-retest stability and excellent internal consistency reliability. Analyses including other frequency bands indicated that degree of stability varied somewhat as a function of band and region. In addition, asymmetry was less stable than absolute power. Discussion focuses on the implications of the present findings for the measurement and conceptualization of resting anterior asymmetry.
Article
This theoretical model of emotion is based on research using the startle-probe methodology. It explains inconsistencies in probe studies of attention and fear conditioning and provides a new approach to emotional perception, imagery, and memory. Emotions are organized biphasically, as appetitive or aversive (defensive). Reflexes with the same valence as an ongoing emotional state are augmented; mismatched reflexes are inhibited. Thus, the startle response (an aversive reflex) is enhanced during a fear state and is diminished in a pleasant emotional context. This affect-startle effect is not determined by general arousal, simple attention, or probe modality. The effect is found when affects are prompted by pictures or memory images, changes appropriately with aversive conditioning, and may be dependent on right-hemisphere processing. Implications for clinical, neurophysiological, and basic research in emotion are outlined.