Tag Archives: amygdala

Brain responses to emotional images predict PTSD symptoms after Boston Marathon bombing

The area of the brain that plays a primary role in emotional learning and the acquisition of fear – the amygdala – may hold the key to who is most vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Researchers at the University of Washington, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Boston University collaborated on a unique opportunity to study whether patterns of brain activity predict teenagers’ response to a terrorist attack. (more…)

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Moral Evaluations of Harm are Instant and Emotional, Brain Study Shows

People are able to detect, within a split second, if a hurtful action they are witnessing is intentional or accidental, new research on the brain at the University of Chicago shows.

The study is the first to explain how the brain is hard-wired to recognize when another person is being intentionally harmed. It also provides new insights into how such recognition is connected with emotion and morality, said lead author Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UChicago. (more…)

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Crows React to Threats in Human-like Way

Cross a crow and it’ll remember you for years.

Crows and humans share the ability to recognize faces and associate them with negative, as well as positive, feelings. The way the brain activates during that process is something the two species also appear to share, according to new research being published this week.

“The regions of the crow brain that work together are not unlike those that work together in mammals, including humans,” said John Marzluff, University of Washington professor of environmental and forest sciences. “These regions were suspected to work in birds but not documented until now. (more…)

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‘Buyer Beware: Advertising May Seduce Your Brain’

Are you wooed by advertising? Of course you are. After all, it’s one thing to go out and buy a new washing machine after the old one exploded, quite another to impulse-buy that 246-inch flat screen TV that just maybe, in hindsight, you didn’t really need.

Advertisers come at you in two ways. There is the just-the-facts type of ad, called “logical persuasion,” or LP (“This car gets 42 miles to the gallon”), and then there is the ad that circumvents conscious awareness, called “non-rational influence,” or NI (a pretty woman, say, draped over a car). (more…)

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Changes in Brain Circuitry Play Role in Moral Sensitivity as People Grow Up

People’s moral responses to similar situations change as they age, according to a new study at the University of Chicago that combined brain scanning, eye-tracking and behavioral measures to understand how the brain responds to morally laden scenarios.

Both preschool children and adults distinguish between damage done either intentionally or accidently when assessing whether a perpetrator had done something wrong. Nonetheless, adults are much less likely than children to think someone should be punished for damaging an object, especially if the action was accidental, said study author Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Chicago and a leading scholar on affective and social neuroscience. (more…)

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