MRI Scanner Sees Emotions Flickering Across an Idle Mind

As you relax and let your mind drift aimlessly, you might remember a pleasant vacation, an angry confrontation in traffic or maybe the loss of a loved one. And now a team of researchers at Duke University say they can see those various emotional states flickering across the human brain. “It’s getting to be a bit like mind-reading,” said Kevin LaBar, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke. “Earlier studies have shown that functional MRI can identify whether a person is thinking about a face or a house. Our study is the first to show that specific emotions like fear and anger can be decoded from these scans as well.” The data produced by a functional MRI hasn’t changed, but the group is applying new multivariate statistics to the…

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