Consciousness and self-representation of emotional states during intra- and inter-species interactions

Michela Balconi, Maria Elide Vanutelli

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno

Abstract

The human capacity to feel others’ mental states and emotions is critical to reinforce our social bonds and it’s a fundamental motivation for the engagement in interpersonal relationships, in that resonance mechanisms permit a direct form of understanding and regulation of own and others’ emotional processes (De Vignemont & Singer, 2006). Research suggests that these effects are stronger with those to whom we feel close and similar, with higher empathy-related responses (“ingroup empathy hypothesis”; Westbury & Neumann, 2008). Whereas mirroring mechanisms and their cortical networks were exhaustively investigated with respect to human-human (H-H) interactions (Balconi & Canavesio, 2013; Ruby & Decety, 2004), limited research explored human-animal contexts (H-A). The present research aimed at exploring neural and motivational components related to the representation of affective states during H-H and H-A with positive, negative or neutral valence. Participants were asked to view affective pictures while their brain activity was monitored, including hemodynamic variations (functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, fNIRS) and electrocortical responses (event-related potentials, ERPs). Also, personality components were considered with respect to the Behavioral Inhibition and Activation System (BIS/BAS). Both electrophysiological and hemodynamic components showed significant modulation in response to valence (higher for positive and negative conditions) and as a function of BIS and BAS. For what concerns species effect, fNIRS showed a similar pattern of brain areas activation; electrophysiological results confirmed the presence of comparable ERP responses for both HH and HA, with increased N200 activity to positive and negative compared to neutral condition. These data could support the hypothesis that both relationships require emotional processes with similar underlying brain correlates, finalized to alert the emotional behavior. However, some significant valence-related hemodynamic modulations were found between conditions, with increased activation for negative situations in HH and for positive situations in HA, which could be considered as the most salient to be processed.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteProceedings of the «VII International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics and II Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe)»
Pagine5-6
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015
EventoVII International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics and II Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe) - Padova
Durata: 13 mag 201515 mag 2015

Convegno

ConvegnoVII International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics and II Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe)
CittàPadova
Periodo13/5/1515/5/15

Keywords

  • EEG
  • Emotion
  • Inter-species interaction
  • fNIRS

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