The Brain May Have Standard Emotional Codes
According to some examples of science fiction, one day we will have the ability to read minds through technology, for better or worse. According to researchers at Cornell University, at least emotions may not be as hard to read as we thought. Analysis has revealed what appears to be the existence of a standard code for processing emotions.
Traditionally it has been believed that the brain processes emotions in certain regions, and that a positive or negative emotion depends on the region. This new research indicates a very different process that does partially rely on sensory experience. Subjects were presented with pictures and tastes while undergoing functional neuroimaging. The imaging revealed that the brain generates special, sensory-dependent codes in the appropriate regions for the senses, and in the orbitofrontal cortices. This indicates that the emotional experience is not limited to certain brain regions and may even by linked to perception.
The subjects were also asked to score their emotional responses to what was presented to them. The researchers found that those who reported similar scores also had similar activity patterns in the orbitofrontal cortices, which suggests that the code used there for experiences of pleasure and displeasure, may be shared across people.
Source: Cornell University