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Causal Mapping of Emotion Networks in the Human Brain: Framework and Initial Findings

Dubois, Julien and Oya, Hiroyuki and Tyszka, J. Michael and Howard, Matthew, III and Eberhardt, Frederick and Adolphs, Ralph (2020) Causal Mapping of Emotion Networks in the Human Brain: Framework and Initial Findings. Neuropsychologia, 145 . Art. No. 106571. ISSN 0028-3932. PMCID PMC5949245.

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Emotions involve many cortical and subcortical regions, prominently including the amygdala. It remains unknown how these multiple network components interact, and it remains unknown how they cause the behavioral, autonomic, and experiential effects of emotions. Here we describe a framework for combining a novel technique, concurrent electrical stimulation with fMRI (es-fMRI), together with a novel analysis, inferring causal structure from fMRI data (causal discovery). We outline a research program for investigating human emotion with these new tools, and provide initial findings from two large resting-state datasets as well as case studies in neurosurgical patients with electrical stimulation of the amygdala. The overarching goal is to use causal discovery methods on fMRI data to infer causal graphical models of how brain regions interact, and then to further constrain these models with direct stimulation of specific brain regions and concurrent fMRI. We conclude by discussing limitations and future extensions. The approach could yield anatomical hypotheses about brain connectivity, motivate rational strategies for treating mood disorders with deep brain stimulation, and could be extended to animal studies that use combined optogenetic fMRI.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle Paper
Dubois, Julien0000-0002-3029-173X
Oya, Hiroyuki0000-0002-1733-5478
Tyszka, J. Michael0000-0001-9342-9014
Adolphs, Ralph0000-0002-8053-9692
Alternate Title:Causal Mapping of Emotion Networks in the Human Brain: Framework and Preliminary Findings
Additional Information:© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. Received 1 July 2017, Revised 9 November 2017, Accepted 11 November 2017, Available online 13 November 2017. Supported by NIMH grant 2P50MH094258, NINDS grant 1U01NS103780-01, and grant 542941 from the Simons Foundation Collaboration on the Global Brain to R.A.; and by NSF grant 1564330 to F.E. Data sharing: The HCP and MCP datasets are publicly available. All other data and analyses are available from the authors upon request. Author contributions: J. Dubois conducted most of the analyses and generated all data figures in the main text. H. Oya and M. Howard conducted the electrical stimulation-fMRI experiments, and H. Oya processed the resulting data and conducted GLM analyses. J.M. Tyszka provided help with analysis of fMRI data. F. Eberhardt conducted all causal discovery analyses. All authors discussed and planned the overall framework and analyses, and all authors jointly wrote the manuscript. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons Foundation542941
Subject Keywords:emotion; fMRI; neuroimaging; causality; amygdala
PubMed Central ID:PMC5949245
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171115-073336929
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Julien Dubois, Hiroyuki Oya, J. Michael Tyszka, Matthew Howard, Frederick Eberhardt, Ralph Adolphs, Causal mapping of emotion networks in the human brain: Framework and initial findings, Neuropsychologia, Volume 145, 2020, 106571, ISSN 0028-3932, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83212
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 Nov 2017 15:54
Last Modified:29 Oct 2020 17:01

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