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Postencounter and circa-strike defensive contexts represent two adaptive responses to potential and imminent danger. In the context of a predator, the postencounter reflects the initial detection of the potential threat, whereas the circa-strike is associated with direct predatory attack. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the(More)
Humans, like other animals, alter their behavior depending on whether a threat is close or distant. We investigated spatial imminence of threat by developing an active avoidance paradigm in which volunteers were pursued through a maze by a virtual predator endowed with an ability to chase, capture, and inflict pain. Using functional magnetic resonance(More)
Humor plays an essential role in many facets of human life including psychological, social, and somatic functioning. Recently, neuroimaging has been applied to this critical human attribute, shedding light on the affective, cognitive, and motor networks involved in humor processing. To date, however, researchers have failed to demonstrate the subcortical(More)
Filmmakers have long recognized the importance of editing techniques to guide the audiences' perceptions and enhance the impact of a scene. We demonstrate behaviorally that pairing identical faces with either neutral or emotionally salient contextual movies, an editing technique referred to as the 'Kuleshov Effect', results in both altered attributions of(More)
A pernicious paradox in human motivation is the occasional reduced performance associated with tasks and situations that involve larger-than-average rewards. Three broad explanations that might account for such performance decrements are attentional competition (distraction theories), inhibition by conscious processes (explicit-monitoring theories), and(More)
Humans appear to have an inherent prosocial tendency toward one another in that we often take pleasure in seeing others succeed. This fact is almost certainly exploited by game shows, yet why watching others win elicits a pleasurable vicarious rewarding feeling in the absence of personal economic gain is unclear. One explanation is that game shows use(More)
Phylogenetic threats such as spiders evoke our deepest primitive fears. When close or looming, such threats engage evolutionarily conserved monitoring systems and defense reactions that promote self-preservation. With the use of a modified behavioral approach task within functional MRI, we show that, as a tarantula was placed closer to a subject's foot,(More)
Affective cognitive control capacity (e.g., the ability to regulate emotions or manipulate emotional material in the service of task goals) is associated with professional and interpersonal success. Impoverished affective control, by contrast, characterizes many neuropsychiatric disorders. Insights from neuroscience indicate that affective cognitive control(More)
With recent investigation beginning to reveal the cortical and subcortical neuroanatomical correlates of humor appreciation, the present event-related functional MRI (fMRI) study was designed to elucidate sex-specific recruitment of these humor related networks. Twenty healthy subjects (10 females) underwent fMRI scanning while subjectively rating 70 verbal(More)
Classic social psychology studies demonstrate that people can behave in ways that contradict their intentions--especially within the moral domain. We measured brain activity while subjects decided between financial self-benefit (earning money) and preventing physical harm (applying an electric shock) to a confederate under both real and hypothetical(More)