Raz et al. (2016) experiment details

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Appendix D endnote 15, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

In a more recent set of experiments, our test subjects watched evocative movie scenes, and we saw the interoceptive network construct ongoing emotional experiences. [...] In all cases, we observed that the default mode network and the remainder of the interoceptive network were firing more in synchrony in the moments when subjects reported more intense emotional experiences....

In the experiment of Raz et al. (2016),[1] there were five groups of test subjects. Each saw a movie clip that ran from five to 10 minutes:

  • Two movie clips were used to provoke the construction of sadness: one higher in arousal, from the movie Sophie's Choice, and one lower in arousal, from the movie Stepmom.
  • Two clips were used to provoke the construction of fear. They were segments from the movie The Ring 2 and an episode of the TV show The X-Files.
  • One clip was used to provoke anger, taken from the documentary Avenge but One of My Two Eyes.

Test subjects watched the clips during brain scanning. The same subjects then watched the clips a second time outside the scanning bay, while also rating the intensity of their emotional experience.

We used the fMRI (BOLD) signal collected during movie watching to compute the dynamic connectivity between parts of the interoceptive network (part of the default mode network, called the medial amygdala network, and the salience network), and then examined the association between this connectivity and the intensity of emotions experienced. As the strength of connectivity increased or decreased, so did the intensity of sadness, fear, and anger.


Notes on the Notes

  1. Raz, Gal, Alexandra Touroutoglou, Christine Wilson-Mendenhall, Gadi Gilam, Tamar Lin, Tal Gonen, Yael Jacob et al. 2016. "Functional connectivity dynamics during film viewing reveal common networks for different emotional experiences." Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience 16 (4): 709–723.