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Mind-Reading Roundup

July 5, 2013

Brain scans can predict people’s emotions.



MRIs to measure emotions. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon report that they can predict people’s emotions from their brain activity. They had drama students make themselves happy, sad, disgusted, etc while an MRI machine recorded brain patterns for each emotion. Later, the researchers were able to match those signatures to the brain patterns of new volunteers, and predict their emotions. The research could be useful in the study of a variety of psychological disorders.

In other brain news, researchers at Drexel University have discovered that a simple eye exam can reveal the pleasure experienced by eating chocolate. The neurotransmitter dopamine is involved in pleasurable sensations, and the retina of the eye has dopamine receptors that are triggered in concert with receptors in the brain. As a result, activity in the retina can reveal if the subject is enjoying a chocolate brownie. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

The pleasure of chocolate: it's all in the eyes. (Jupiter Images)