Friday, February 17, 2006

Imaging the person in the brain....

A NYTimes article by Benedict Carey notes that the brain has become a pop star. Several major articles are appearing every month using brain imaging techniques to show changes in the activities of specific brain areas associated with such things as partisan thinking, schadenfreude, and what happens when a happily married woman's hand is held by her husband's. Here is a partial list of this and other articles I have come upon, with links to some original articles and reviews:

Holding hands calming jittery nerves

Hypnotic suggestion reduces conflict in the brain, measured by the Stroop test, correlating with decreased anterior cingulate cortex activity.

Schadenfreude: Volunteers play an economic game with confederates who play fairly or unfairly. The same volunteers observed these confederates receiving pain. Empathy-related activation (i.e. mirroring the observed pain) in pain-related brain areas (fronto-ionsular and anterior cingulate cortices) was reduced in men but not women when the unfair confederate received pain!

Imagining the politically partisan brain as it unconsciously rejects unwanted input (example: a republicans hearing factual data on mistakes made by George Bush)

Brain activity associated with expectancy-enhanced placebo analgesia. (Journal of Neuroscience)

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