Gregory S. Berns's research while affiliated with Emory University and other places

Publications (129)

Preprint
Recent advancements using machine learning and fMRI to decode visual stimuli from human and nonhuman cortex have resulted in new insights into the nature of perception. However, this approach has yet to be applied substantially to animals other than primates, raising questions about the nature of such representations across the animal kingdom. Here...
Article
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Post-mortem MRI provides the opportunity to acquire high-resolution datasets to investigate neuroanatomy, and validate the origins of image contrast through microscopy comparisons. We introduce the Digital Brain Bank (open.win.ox.ac.uk/DigitalBrainBank), a data release platform providing open access to curated, multimodal post-mortem neuroimaging d...
Article
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Previous research to localize face areas in dogs’ brains has generally relied on static images or videos. However, most dogs do not naturally engage with two-dimensional images, raising the question of whether dogs perceive such images as representations of real faces and objects. To measure the equivalency of live and two-dimensional stimuli in th...
Article
Full-text available
Given humans’ habitual use of screens, they rarely consider potential differences when viewing two-dimensional (2D) stimuli and real-world versions of dimensional stimuli. Dogs also have access to many forms of screens and touchpads, with owners even subscribing to dog-directed content. Humans understand that 2D stimuli are representations of real-...
Preprint
Full-text available
Post-mortem MRI provides the opportunity to acquire high-resolution datasets to investigate neuroanatomy, and validate the origins of image contrast through microscopy comparisons. We introduce the Digital Brain Bank (open.win.ox.ac.uk/DigitalBrainBank), an interactive data discovery and release platform providing open access to curated, multimodal...
Article
The perception and representation of objects in the world is foundational to all animals. The relative importance of objects' physical properties versus how the objects are interacted with continues to be debated. Neural evidence in humans and non‐human primates suggests animate‐inanimate and face‐body dimensions of objects are represented in the t...
Article
Background Domoic acid (DOM) is a neurotoxin produced by some harmful algae blooms in coastal waters. California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) exposed to DOM often strand on beaches where they exhibit a variety of symptoms, including seizures. These animals typically show hippocampal atrophy on MRI scans. New Method We describe an MRI protoco...
Article
In working and practical contexts, dogs rely upon their ability to discriminate a target odor from distracting odors and other sensory stimuli. Using awake functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 18 dogs, we examined the neural mechanisms underlying odor discrimination between 2 odors and a mixture of the odors. Neural activation was measur...
Preprint
Given humans' habitual use of screens, they rarely consider potential differences when viewing two dimensional (2D) stimuli and real-world versions of dimensional stimuli. Dogs also have access to many forms of screens and touch pads, with owners even subscribing to dog-directed content. Humans understand that 2D stimuli are representations of real...
Article
The approximate number system (ANS), which supports the rapid estimation of quantity, emerges early in human development and is widespread across species. Neural evidence from both human and non-human primates suggests the parietal cortex as a primary locus of numerical estimation, but it is unclear whether the numerical competencies observed acros...
Preprint
The approximate number system, which supports the rapid estimation of quantity, emerges early in human development and is widespread across species. Neural evidence from both human and non-human primates suggests the parietal cortex as a primary locus of numerical estimation, but it is unclear whether the numerical competencies observed across non-...
Preprint
In working and practical contexts, dogs rely upon their ability to discriminate a target odor from distracting odors and other sensory stimuli. Few studies have examined odor discrimination using non-behavioral methods or have approached odor discrimination from the dog's perspective. Using awake fMRI in 18 dogs, we examined the neural mechanisms u...
Article
Full-text available
It is gratifying and significant that so many scientists from diverse fields are arguing in-depth regarding a particularly complex set of social emotions in a non-human animal. Emotions play a fundamental role in decision making and information processing. Neuroimaging is important in understanding the cognitive and emotional worlds of non-human an...
Article
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How do dogs understand human words? At a basic level, understanding would require the discrimination of words from non-words. To determine the mechanisms of such a discrimination, we trained 12 dogs to retrieve two objects based on object names, then probed the neural basis for these auditory discriminations using awake-fMRI. We compared the neural...
Article
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Dogs may follow their nose, but they learn associations to many types of sensory stimuli. Are some modalities learned better than others? We used awake fMRI in 19 dogs over a series of three experiments to measure reward-related learning of visual, olfactory, and verbal stimuli. Neurobiological learning curves were generated for individual dogs by...
Preprint
Full-text available
How do dogs understand human words? At a basic level, understanding would require the discrimination of words from non-words. To determine the mechanisms of such a discrimination, we trained 12 dogs to retrieve two objects based on object names, then probed the neural basis for these auditory discriminations using awake-fMRI. We compared the neural...
Article
Full-text available
Training dogs for awake-MRI began in 2012 for the study of canine cognition. Although originally envisioned as a research technique to understand the neural mechanisms of canine cognitive function, its potential as a new diagnostic clinical tool has become apparent. A high-quality structural scan of the brain can be acquired without sedation or ane...
Article
Full-text available
Domestic dogs are highly social and have been shown to be sensitive not only to the actions of humans and other dogs but to the interactions between them. We used the C-BARQ scale to estimate dogs' aggressiveness, and we used noninvasive brain imaging (fMRI) to measure activity in their amygdala (an area involved in aggression). More aggressive dog...
Preprint
Full-text available
Domestic dogs are highly social, and have been shown sensitive not only to the actions of humans and other dogs but to the interactions between them. To examine the canine neurobiological response to observed interactions between a human and another dog, we collected fMRI data from dogs while they watched their owner feed a realistic fake dog or de...
Article
Hundreds of wild California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) exposed to the algal neurotoxin domoic acid are treated in veterinary rehabilitation centers each year. Common chronic effects of toxic exposure in these animals are seizures and hippocampal damage, and they have been proposed as a natural animal model for human epilepsy. Humans with me...
Article
Background Commonly observed distortions in decision-making among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) may emerge from impaired reward processing and cognitive biases toward negative events. There is substantial theoretical support for the hypothesis that MDD patients overweight potential losses compared with gains, though the neurobiologi...
Article
Full-text available
The overall goal of this work was to measure the efficacy of fMRI for predicting whether a dog would be a successful service dog. The training and imaging were performed in 49 dogs entering service training at 17–21 months of age. 33 dogs completed service training and were matched with a person, while 10 were released for behavioral reasons (4 wer...
Data
Rotating movie of the white matter tracts of the Tasmanian devil. (MPG)
Article
Full-text available
The last known Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus)–aka the thylacine–died in 1936. Because its natural behavior was never scientifically documented, we are left to infer aspects of its behavior from museum specimens and historical recollections of bushmen. Recent advances in brain imaging have made it possible to scan postmortem specimens of...
Data
Rotating movie of the white matter tracts of the Tasmanian tiger. (MPG)
Preprint
Full-text available
The last known Tasmanian tiger ( Thylacinus cynocephalus ) – aka the thylacine – died in 1936. Because its natural behavior was never documented, we are left to infer aspects of its behavior from museum specimens and unreliable historical recollections. Recent advances in brain imaging have made it possible to scan postmortem specimens of a wide ra...
Preprint
The overall goal of this work was to measure the efficacy of fMRI for predicting whether a dog would be a successful service dog. The training and imaging were performed in 50 dogs entering advanced training at 17-21 months of age. FMRI responses were measured while each dog observed hand signals indicating either reward or no reward and given by b...
Article
Because he was trained to. The domestic dog’s accessibility, social intelligence, and evolutionary history with humans have led to increasing interest in canine cognition. Despite a growing body of data on canine behavior and cognitive skills, relatively few advances have been made in understanding canine brain function. Practical and ethical conce...
Article
Full-text available
Based on behavioral evidence, the domestic dog has emerged as a promising comparative model of human self-control. However, while research on human inhibition has probed heterogeneity and neuropathology through an integration of neural and behavioral evidence, there are no parallel data exploring the brain mechanisms involved in canine inhibition....
Article
Full-text available
Dogs are hypersocial with humans, and their integration into human social ecology makes dogs a unique model for studying cross-species social bonding. However, the proximal neural mechanisms driving dog-human social interaction are unknown. We used fMRI in 15 awake dogs to probe the neural basis for their preferences for social interaction and food...
Preprint
Full-text available
Dogs are hypersocial with humans, and their integration into human social ecology makes dogs a unique model for studying cross-species social bonding. However, the proximal neural mechanisms driving dog-human social interaction are unknown. We used fMRI in 15 awake dogs to probe the neural basis for their preferences for social interaction and food...
Article
Because of its accessibility, tractability, evolutionary history, and social intelligence, the domestic dog is increasingly used as a model animal in behavioral studies. Although this has led to new insights into canine cognition, understanding of dog brain function has not advanced apace. Practical and ethical concerns have limited the use of the...
Article
Full-text available
Recent behavioral evidence suggests that dogs, like humans and monkeys, are capable of visual face recognition. But do dogs also exhibit specialized cortical face regions similar to humans and monkeys? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in six dogs trained to remain motionless during scanning without restraint or sedation, we found...
Article
Full-text available
The brains of odontocetes (toothed whales) look grossly different from their terrestrial relatives. Because of their adaptation to the aquatic environment and their reliance on echolocation, the odontocetes' auditory system is both unique and crucial to their survival. Yet, scant data exist about the functional organization of the cetacean auditory...
Article
Full-text available
Recent behavioral evidence suggests that dogs, like humans and monkeys, are capable of visual face recognition. But do dogs also exhibit specialized cortical face regions similar to humans and monkeys? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in six dogs trained to remain motionless during scanning without restraint or sedation, we found...
Article
Full-text available
Recent behavioral evidence suggests that dogs, like humans and monkeys, are capable of visual face recognition. But do dogs also exhibit specialized cortical face regions similar to humans and monkeys? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in six dogs trained to remain motionless during scanning without restraint or sedation, we found...
Article
Standard economic theory treats contractual risk the same as risk experienced in a lottery, but the transfer of risk from principal to agent may change the perception of risk. Previous experimental studies have shown that positive and negative framing affects both gambles and incentive contracts. An agent’s perception of bonus and penalty framing i...
Article
Full-text available
Having previously used functional MRI to map the response to a reward signal in the ventral caudate in awake unrestrained dogs, here we examined the importance of signal source to canine caudate activation. Hand signals representing either incipient reward or no reward were presented by a familiar human (each dog's respective handler), an unfamilia...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objective: Distortions in decision-making are common among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and can lead to substantial negative life consequences. Little is known about how the neural computations underlying valuation of potential gains and losses are altered in patients with MDD compared to healthy control (HC) subjects. A component...
Article
Full-text available
Our personal values are subject to forces of social influence. Deontological resolve captures how strongly one relies on absolute rules of right and wrong in the representation of one's personal values and may predict willingness to modify one's values in the presence of social influence. Using fMRI, we found that a neurobiological metric for deont...
Article
Full-text available
Our personal values are subject to forces of social influence. Deontological resolve captures how strongly one relies on absolute rules of right and wrong in the representation of one's personal values and may predict willingness to modify one's values in the presence of social influence. Using fMRI, we found that a neurobiological metric for deont...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding dogs' perceptual experience of both conspecifics and humans is important to understand how dogs evolved and the nature of their relationships with humans and other dogs. Olfaction is believed to be dogs' most powerful and perhaps important sense and an obvious place to begin for the study of social cognition of conspecifics and humans...
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Previously, we demonstrated the possibility of fMRI in two awake and unrestrained dogs. Here, we determined the replicability and heterogeneity of these results in an additional 11 dogs for a total of 13 subjects. Based on an anatomically placed region-of-interest, we compared the caudate response to a hand signal indicating the imminent availabili...
Article
Full-text available
We sought to determine whether reading a novel causes measurable changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain and how long these changes persist. Incorporating a within-subjects design, participants received resting-state fMRI scans on 19 consecutive days. First, baseline resting state data for a "wash-in" period was taken for each participan...
Article
Full-text available
There are two regularities we have learned from experimental studies of choice under risk. The first is that the majority of people weigh objective probabilities nonlinearly. The second regularity, although less commonly acknowledged, is that there is a large amount of heterogeneity in how people distort probabilities. Despite this, little effort h...
Article
There is mounting evidence that the mesolimbic dopamine system carries valuation signals not only for appetitive or gain-related stimuli, with which it is traditionally associated, but also for aversive and loss-related stimuli. Cellular-level studies demonstrate that the neuronal architecture to support aversive stimuli encoding in this system doe...
Article
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we capture neural activity in the ventral striatum—a key area in the human brain's reward processing circuit—of 35 adult investors learning the earnings per share disclosed by 60 publicly traded companies. Before imaging, investors forecasted each company's earnings and took either a long or a short posi...
Article
Full-text available
This article proposes that neuroscience can shape future theory and models in consumer decision making and suggests ways that neuroscience methods can be used in decision-making research. The article argues that neuroscience facilitates better theory development and empirical testing by considering the physiological context and the role of construc...
Data
Video of raw fMRI scans for McKenzie after motion correction. Rapidly scrolling through the sequence of fMRI volumes shows that the brain is stationary within one voxel after motion correction has been performed and volumes with artifacts are excluded. (MOV)
Data
Labeled montage of Callie's T2-weighted structural image. A T2-weighted structural image was acquired after the functional runs. The image was acquired using a turbo spin-echo sequence (30 3 mm slices, TR = 3710, TE = 8.3, 26 echo trains), which was optimized to yield contrast between gray and white matter in the fastest possible time. The red outl...
Data
Labeled montage of Callie's mean motion-corrected EPI image. EPI images were acquired using single-shot echo-planar imaging (28 3 mm slices, 10% gap, TE = 28 ms, TR = 1610 ms, flip angle = 70°, FOV = 192 mm). The mean image across runs was calculated by taking the average of all motion-corrected EPI volumes that did not exhibit significant motion a...
Data
Labeled montage of McKenzie's mean motion-corrected EPI image. EPI images were acquired using single-shot echo-planar imaging (28 3 mm slices, 10% gap, TE = 28 ms, TR = 1610 ms, flip angle = 70°, FOV = 192 mm). A mean image across runs was calculated by taking the average of all motion-corrected EPI volumes that did not exhibit significant motion a...
Data
Video of raw fMRI scans for Callie after motion correction. Rapidly scrolling through the sequence of fMRI volumes shows that the brain is stationary within one voxel after motion correction has been performed and volumes with artifacts are excluded. (MOV)
Data
Siemens 3 T Trio console screenshot, showing field-of-view (FOV) in Callie for both functional and structural scans. The FOV was determined based on a localizer acquired prior to functional scan acquisition. Slices for the functional run were oriented dorsally to the dog's brain (similar to axial in humans). This was approximately coronal to the ma...
Data
Training video. This video shows how the dogs were trained to remain stationary in the MRI while wearing ear muffs. The video shows initial exposure to final behavior, which took place over a period of 2 months. (MP4)
Data
Labeled montage of McKenzie's T2-weighted structural image. A T2-weighted structural image was acquired after the functional runs. The image was acquired using a turbo spin-echo sequence (30 3 mm slices, TR = 3710, TE = 8.3, 26 echo trains), which was optimized to yield contrast between gray and white matter in the fastest possible time. The red ou...
Article
Full-text available
Because of dogs' prolonged evolution with humans, many of the canine cognitive skills are thought to represent a selection of traits that make dogs particularly sensitive to human cues. But how does the dog mind actually work? To develop a methodology to answer this question, we trained two dogs to remain motionless for the duration required to col...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms by which risk-averse advice, provided by an expert, affected risky decisions across three developmental groups [early adolescents (12-14 years), late adolescents (15-17 years), adults (18+ years)]. Using cumulative prospect theory, we modeled choice behavior during a risky-choice task. Resul...
Article
Full-text available
Sacred values, such as those associated with religious or ethnic identity, underlie many important individual and group decisions in life, and individuals typically resist attempts to trade off their sacred values in exchange for material benefits. Deontological theory suggests that sacred values are processed based on rights and wrongs irrespectiv...
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Although culture is usually thought of as the collection of knowledge and traditions that are transmitted outside of biology, evidence continues to accumulate showing how biology and culture are inseparably intertwined. Cultural conflict will occur only when the beliefs and traditions of one cultural group represent a challenge to individuals of an...
Article
Most decisions involve some element of uncertainty. When the outcomes of these decisions have different likelihoods of occurrence, the decision-maker must consider both the magnitude of each outcome and the probability of its occurrence, but how do individual decision makers combine the two dimensions of magnitude and probability? Here, we approach...
Article
Full-text available
The disposition effect is a phenomenon in which investors hold onto losing assets longer than they hold onto gaining assets. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the response of valuation regions in the brain during the decision to keep or to sell an asset that followed a random walk in price. The most comm...