3 years ago

Shared states: using MVPA to test neural overlap between self-focused emotion imagery and other-focused emotion understanding.

Mark Rotteveel, H. Steven Scholte, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Suzanne Oosterwijk, Lukas Snoek
The present study tested whether the neural patterns that support imagining 'performing an action', 'feeling a bodily sensation' or 'being in a situation' are directly involved in understanding other people's actions, bodily sensations and situations. Subjects imagined the content of short sentences describing emotional actions, interoceptive sensations and situations (self-focused task), and processed scenes and focused on how the target person was expressing an emotion, what this person was feeling, and why this person was feeling an emotion (other-focused task). Using a linear support vector machine classifier on brain-wide multi-voxel patterns, we accurately decoded each individual class in the self-focused task. When generalizing the classifier from the self-focused task to the other-focused task, we also accurately decoded whether subjects focused on the emotional actions, interoceptive sensations and situations of others. These results show that the neural patterns that underlie self-imagined experience are involved in understanding the experience of other people. This supports the theoretical assumption that the basic components of emotion experience and understanding share resources in the brain.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsx037

DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsx037

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