Suzanne Oosterwijk

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Scientists have traditionally assumed that different kinds of mental states (e.g., fear, disgust, love, memory, planning, concentration, etc.) correspond to different psychological faculties that have domain-specific correlates in the brain. Yet, growing evidence points to the constructionist hypothesis that mental states emerge from the combination of(More)
Mental states-such as thinking, remembering, or feeling angry, happy, or dizzy-have a clear internal component. We feel a certain way when we are in these states. These internal experiences may be simulated when people understand conceptual references to mental states. However, mental states can also be described from an "external" perspective, for example(More)
According to embodied cognition theories, concepts are contextually situated and grounded in neural systems that produce experiential states. This view predicts that processing mental state concepts recruits neural regions associated with different aspects of experience depending on the context in which people understand a concept. This neuroimaging study(More)
Negative stimuli do not only evoke fear or disgust, but can also evoke a state of 'morbid fascination' which is an urge to approach and explore a negative stimulus. In the present neuroimaging study, we applied an innovative method to investigate the neural systems involved in typical and atypical conceptualizations of negative images. Participants received(More)
According to the facial feedback hypothesis, people's affective responses can be influenced by their own facial expression (e.g., smiling, pouting), even when their expression did not result from their emotional experiences. For example, Strack, Martin, and Stepper (1988) instructed participants to rate the funniness of cartoons using a pen that they held(More)
Many scientific models of emotion assume that emotion categories are natural kinds that carve nature at its joints. These beliefs remain strong, despite the fact that the empirical record on the issue has remained equivocal for over a century. In this research, the authors examined one reason for this situation: People essentialize emotion categories by(More)
With a series of three studies, using an adapted dot-probe paradigm, we investigated the elicitation of spontaneous affective meaning. Although it is well established that humans show delays in disengaging their attention from conventional affective stimuli, it is unknown whether contextually acquired affective meaning similarly impacts attention. We(More)
The present study tested whether the neural patterns that support imagining "performing an action", "feeling a bodily sensation" or "being in a situation" are directly involved in understanding other people's actions, bodily sensations and situations. Subjects imagined the content of short sentences describing emotional actions, interoceptive sensations and(More)
This paper examined, with a behavioral paradigm, to what extent people choose to view stimuli that portray death, violence or harm. Based on briefly presented visual cues, participants made choices between highly arousing, negative images and positive or negative alternatives. The negative images displayed social scenes that involved death, violence or harm(More)
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