Attempts have long been made to specify the area of the brain in which every emotion arises. In this search, the researchers at the University of Geneva -UNIGE- were brought into the spotlight. They would study brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging. But they would do it while playing a video game to create certain reactions. The video game was designed to study emotions and their physiological responses.
The results were published this week in the journal PLOS Biology. The article is called Computerized imaging while playing video games reveals the dynamic synchronization of cortical and subcortical networks of emotions. It shows that different emotional components activate several neural networks distributed in parallel in the brain. Its temporary synchronization creates an emotional state. The emotions are designed to generate a response that is adapted to the circumstances.
Various theories in the field of neuroscience have attempted to model the emergence of an emotion. The truth is, none have been tested experimentally so far. The UNIGE research team agrees that emotions are subjective. Two people facing the same situation can experience different emotions. “A certain event is not rated equally by every person. Everyone can look at these circumstances from a different perspective, »says Joana Leitão. He works in the Department of Basic Neuroscience at UNIGE.
The emotional Pacman
A particular situation creates multiple reactions in the body. These relate to cognitive evaluation components, that is, to the way in which an event is perceived and interpreted by an individual. Physiological processes range from sweating to heart rate and expressing a reaction such as smiling or screaming. In a situation that elicits an emotional response, these different components influence each other. It is their temporary timing that might correspond to an emotional state.
The neuroscientists developed a video game to evaluate the applicability of their model. “The aim was to evoke measurable and evaluable emotions using various methods,” explains Leitão. “Instead of seeing simple pictures, the participants played a video game. This put them in situations that they would need to evaluate in order to move forward and win prizes, ”he continues. The game is an arcade similar to the famous Pacman.
The researchers were able to measure brain activity using images. Facial expression by analyzing the zygomatic muscles; Feelings from questions; and physiology through skin and cardiorespiratory analyzes. All of these components comprise various circuits that are distributed throughout the brain.
Insightful video game
The video game, which was designed to study emotions, allowed them to come to some conclusions. Indeed, emotion is a preparatory mechanism; enables our body to encourage an appropriate response.
Please do not use it as an excuse to stay in front of this console for longer. Do you want to enrich your emotions? You can also read a book.