Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mirror Neurons May Have a Role in Emotional Processing

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mirror Neurons May Have a Role in Emotional Processing

Article excerpt

MADRID -- Mirror neurons fired when study subjects observed someone else performing an action, suggesting that those same neurons may also be active in emotional processing, Jess Kinross said in a poster presented at the 15th European Congress of Psychiatry.

Ms. Kinross and her associates at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, performed a startle experiment on 50 healthy participants. They primed the participants with either a short video clip of a biologically meaningful hand-object interaction (for example, a hand reaching out to grasp a spider) or a static image of the interaction, which was used as a control.

The researchers then presented the participants with 36 pictures that were equally split into positive, negative, and neutral categories. Each picture was emotionally congruent with the preceding video clip or picture, so if the priming video clip was of a hand grasping a spider, the subsequent picture might be a snake.

They used a startle probe presented at 2.5-, 3.0-, 3.5-, 4.0-, and 4.5-second intervals and measured the startle eye blink responses in the participants. …

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