The fMRI Facial Emotion Paradigm concerns regulation of emotion. It is a passive viewing task designed to engage participants’ affective neural circuits (including the amygdala, insula, and anterior cingulate cortex/ventral and dorsal medial prefrontal cortex). This task engages both implicit regulation of emotion reactivity and explicit appraisal, which allow for the conscious and nonconscious discrimination of emotional stimuli. Stimuli for this paradigm are facial expressions of threat-related emotions (i.e., fear and anger), loss-related emotions (i.e., sadness), reward-related emotions (i.e., happiness), and neutral emotions, selected from standardized series and modified so that the eyes are centrally positioned. In both implicit and explicit conditions, 240 stimuli are presented in blocks of 8 faces from the same emotional domain, with each block repeated 5 times in a pseudorandom order. In the implicit condition, each face is presented briefly (16.7ms; i.e., below the level of conscious awareness and conscious discrimination of emotion) followed immediately by a neutral face perceptual mask for 150ms. The neutral face mask stimuli are offset by 1° in random directions to control for the potential effects of priming due to perceptual differences (e.g., the apparent motion in the pairing of a fear face with upraised eyebrows followed by a neutral face mask compared with the pairing of an angry face with contracted eyebrows followed by a neutral face mask). In the explicit condition, participants are told that they will be asked post-scan questions about the faces presented and stimuli are presented for 500ms to ensure conscious elaborative processing and emotional contagion from the stimulus to the participant. The ultimate outcome measure from this task is a measure of brain activation in the region of interest (ROI) collected via fMRI , which can then be compared between-group, within-group over time, and/or pre- vs. post-treatment. Contrasts for the fMRI activation measure include the “Sad”, “Threat” (anger and fear), “Happy”, and “Neutral” conditions of emotional face presentation. We contrast Sad vs. Neutral, Threat vs. Neutral, and Happy vs. Neutral to estimate corresponding brain activity related to participant regulation of emotion.
The fMRI Facial Emotion Paradigm and identifies neural correlates of emotion regulation. This task reliably engages affective circuits in the regulation of emotion (Liddell et al., 2005; Williams et al., 2004; Williams et al., 2015). The functioning of the affective neural circuit has been linked to changes in daily behaviors concerning depression and obesity (e.g., managing diet, physical activity, mood reactivity) (Heatherton, 2011). Thus, emotion regulation and the associated neural circuit are potential targets in producing behavior change.
[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION
Text Citation: Liddell, B.J., Brown, K.J., Kemp, A.H., Barton, M.J., Das, P., Peduto, A., Gordon, E., Williams, L.M. (2005). A direct brainstem–amygdala–cortical ‘alarm’system for subliminal signals of fear. Neuroimage, 24(1), 235-243.
Text Citation: Heatherton, T.F. (2011). Neuroscience of self and self-regulation. Annual review of psychology, 62, 363-390.
Text Citation: Williams, L.M., Liddell, B.J., Rathjen, J., Brown, K.J., Gray, J., Phillips, M., Young, A., Gordon, E. (2004). Mapping the time course of nonconscious and conscious perception of fear: an integration of central and peripheral measures. Human brain mapping, 21(2), 64-74.
Text Citation: Williams, L.M., Korgaonkar, M.S., Song, Y.C., Paton, R., Eagles, S., Goldstein-Piekarski, A., Grieve, S.M., Harris, A.W., Usherwood, T., Etkin, A. (2015). Amygdala reactivity to emotional faces in the prediction of general and medication-specific responses to antidepressant treatment in the randomized iSPOT-D trial. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(10), 2398-2408.
This measure has not been measured yet.
This measure has not been influenced yet.
This measure has not been validated yet.
The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.
Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.
The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.
Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.
Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.
Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.
Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.
Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.