Neuroscience Seminar: Professor Paul Whalen. Neural Responses to Facial Expressions of Emotion Predict Attention, Bias and Personality
Professor Paul Whalen Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, Dartmouth Brain Imaging Center
Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 1pm to 2pm
C113 (Weiskrantz room)
In this talk, I will demonstrate the utility of using facial expressions of emotion as experimental stimuli to explore the function of the human amygdala and its connectivity with the prefrontal cortex. As as example, we interpret neural responses to fearful facial expressions as a response to the lack of predictive clarity associated with these expressions, in addition to a response to their negative valence per se. This source ambiguity gives rise to numerous possible interpretations of a fearful expression observed in another person. For example, from the viewer's perspective, a fearful expression might mean that they themselves are in danger (anxious interpretation). Alternatively, this expression could be a call for help (empathic interpretation). Finally, the viewer may perceive that this expression is in response to their dominance in this situation (dominant interpretation). Dr. Whalen will describe behavioral and neuroimaging data addressing how the amygdala and prefrontal cortex handle facial expressions of ambiguous predictive value (generally), as well as the multiple meanings of fear (specifically).