In this study we are examining face, body, and emotion processing networks and the interactions between psychological state and brain activity patterns. The technique we use to study this functional connectivity in the brain is called psycho-physiological interaction (PPI) analysis. In one set of experiments, participants view pictures of faces and bodies that have been filtered to include either high spatial frequency (small feature) information, or low spatial frequency (large feature) information, while being scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain activity. This allows us to test functional connectivity patterns between brain regions important in different visual processing streams in the brain, involved in perception of faces and bodies.
We are also applying this and other techniqes to understanding the brain's functional connectivity patterns associated with reactivity, habituation, and internal modulation of emotion processing networks in the brain, as tested by viewing faces with fearful expressions.