Localizing emotion processing regions in the canine brain using awake-fMRI Open Access

Paczuski, Anna (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/8623hz88t?locale=en


Humans are well versed in perceiving and deciphering complex emotional states from facial expressions, and use this information to engage in emotionally intelligent behaviors. Previous neuroimaging studies have identified facial processing regions not only in the human brain but also in non-human primates and dogs. This face region has been well-localized within the canine brain, but the extent to which emotion-related information from facial expressions is extracted and interpreted is not well understood. Previous behavioral studies suggest that dogs may have the processing capabilities to interpret and react to human facial expressions. In this study, we provide neurological evidence for emotional affect in dogs. To measure the effect of two key emotional components of facial expressions, namely valence and arousal characteristics, we presented videos of dynamic and spontaneous emotional facial expressions to dogs during fMRI. Dogs were presented with a series of 5-second videos of these facial expressions. We found significant areas of increased activation along the inferior temporal gyrus in response to high arousal stimuli, and increased activation in the dog face area in response to negatively valenced stimuli. These findings are suggestive of a neural basis for emotional intelligence that spans across interspecies boundaries.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction (pg. 1)

2. Methods (pg. 6)

           2.1. Participants

           2.2. Stimuli

           2.3. Experimental Design

           2.4 MRI Scan Acquisition

           2.5 Preprocessing

3. Results (pg. 9)

4. Discussion (pg. 11)

5. Conclusion (pg. 14)

Appendix A. References (pg. 15)

Appendix B. Tables and Figure (pg. 22)

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