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EMOTIONAL  BRAIN
 As reported by Jonica Newby on "INSIGHT" SBS TV
Thursday, 25 October†2001†
 

DR LEA WILLIAMS
Brain Dynamics Centre
Westmead Hospital
A Teaching Hospital of the University of Sydney
Actor Henri Szeps volunteered to be studied by the Brain Dynamics Centre, who are starting to map the emotional brain as part of their research into how the brain works. 

Henri will be the first in the world to attempt to generate his own powerful emotions while strapped inside this claustrophobic MRI tube.

Henri Szeps over 30 minutes created different emotions on cue : happy, grieving, fear, angry and sadness.

Unusually for brain scientists, the team here donít just look at the brain, they look at the whole body. The reason is, they suspect the bodyís contribution to our brainís emotional function is far more important than most neuro-scientists realise.

Henri also repeated the emotion cycle, this time his brain is measured by EEG. Electrodes will also measure skin conductance as his body releases minute traces of sweat.

This research reveals where emotions occur in the brain and for the first time reveals how emotions occur simultaneously in the human body. The research team believes that far from being the enemy of rational thought emotions are essential for our daily decision making. 

This is the first direct evidence that the emotional brain and body are affecting the decision-making centres. Intuitively we might have know this, but itís only now weíre getting the proof. Emotions really are critical to the way we think and make important decisions. And while weíre only just getting the technology to really explore the emotional brain, already this research is yielding vital new insights into some psychiatric disorders.
Dr Lea Williams : The arousal of the body along with the hormones and heart rate changes is providing feedback to the brain that acts like a bias, a biasing factor to allow us to make decisions that will maximise our survival whether that be to avoid danger, go towards something pleasurable, but essentially to maximise our survival as humans.

* Full Program Transcript

Reporter: Jonica Newby 
Producer: Louise Heywood 

Story Contacts:

Dr Fiona Stanley †Email
University of Western Australia
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research
Ph: 61 08 9489 7777

Good Beginnings Australia †Email
National Office
Suite 38, 2-25 Kippax Street
Surry Hills SYDNEY NSW 2010
Ph: 02 9211 6767
 

Related Sites:
* Good Beginnings 
* University of Western Australia, Institute for Child Health Research, TVW Telethon 

             


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