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Nat Neurosci. 2014 Aug;17(8):1114-22. doi: 10.1038/nn.3749. Epub 2014 Jun 22.

Population coding of affect across stimuli, modalities and individuals.

Author information

  • 1Human Neuroscience Institute, Department of Human Development, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
  • 2Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • 3Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK.
  • 41] Human Neuroscience Institute, Department of Human Development, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. [2] Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

It remains unclear how the brain represents external objective sensory events alongside our internal subjective impressions of them--affect. Representational mapping of population activity evoked by complex scenes and basic tastes in humans revealed a neural code supporting a continuous axis of pleasant-to-unpleasant valence. This valence code was distinct from low-level physical and high-level object properties. Although ventral temporal and anterior insular cortices supported valence codes specific to vision and taste, both the medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortices (OFC) maintained a valence code independent of sensory origin. Furthermore, only the OFC code could classify experienced affect across participants. The entire valence spectrum was represented as a collective pattern in regional neural activity as sensory-specific and abstract codes, whereby the subjective quality of affect can be objectively quantified across stimuli, modalities and people.

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PMID:
24952643
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4317366
Free PMC Article
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