The answer is yes. Researchers at Duke University, have conducted a non-stimuli study to detect emotional responses. While this is not the first study using MRIs to decode emotional responses, this is the first study that can detect specific emotions in an unstimulated subject. Previous studies used stimuli, like asking a person to think about a face versus a house. In other words, they were asked to let their minds aimlessly wander. MRIs were able to detect what distinct feelings. If you are recalling your last holiday or a rough day at work, MRIs can read joy or anger relating to those events. This study was able to detect seven distinct emotional responses: contentment, amusement, surprise, anger, fear, sadness, and neutral.
Lead researcher, LaBar, notes that for most of the volunteers in this study had an ‘anxiety’ reading when first entering the MRI, due to the noisy and confined nature of the MRI machine. This was validated by comparing scans of about 500 volunteers.
The results of this study answer some questions, but also open up others. The Duke University team plans on next studying the transitions between emotional states to better understand how the mind works.
At Sound Imaging, we are advocates of using the MRI to better people’s lives through understanding. For this study, one way to alleviate the initial anxiety volunteers felt can be with our MRI Accessories, our CCTV Samm System or our MRI Stereo System. Not only do we offer comfort accessories, but also a wide array of coils, parts, and services for MRIs.
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