reported by Jonica Newby on "INSIGHT" SBS TV
25 October 2001
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
DR LEA WILLIAMS
Brain Dynamics Centre
A Teaching Hospital of the
University of Sydney
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 don’t just look at the brain, they look at the whole body.
The reason is, they suspect the body’s contribution to our brain’s 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 it’s only now we’re getting the proof. Emotions really are critical
to the way we think and make important decisions. And while we’re 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.
Fiona Stanley Email
of Western Australia
of Medicine and Dentistry
Telethon Institute for Child Health Research
61 08 9489 7777
Beginnings Australia Email
38, 2-25 Kippax Street
Hills SYDNEY NSW 2010
02 9211 6767
of Western Australia, Institute for Child Health Research, TVW Telethon