information in story form

My interest in learning, memory, and experiments has led to preliminary investigation of the causal effect of narrative structures.  While much of the priming literature as uncovered a differential effect of information structured in "story form", the underlying mechanisms, heterogeneity of the "story effect", and consequences for belief formation and strength remain under-explored.  A working paper reviewing these issues (“Understanding the Effects of Narratives in Experimental and Observational Research”) is available on request.

Tools for the study of emotion in neuroimaging

In the course of developing a study that induced two emotions (fear and disgust) in participants undergoing fMRI scanning, we discovered several gaps in publicly available research tools. As such, we are preparing two manuscripts to supplement the main imaging paper: “First-Person Fear and Disgust Induction in fMRI: An ALE Meta-Analysis” and “Emotion Induction using Guided Narratives: 64 Stimuli for Fear, Disgust, and Calm.”

The meta-analysis uses activation likelihood estimation (ALE) to evaluate common activations across first-person emotion inductions for fear and disgust. We explicitly exclude studies using faces (3rd-person induction) and conditioned pain paradigms in order to focus on first-person, naturalistic stimuli.

Our study induced emotions using short, guided narratives, which I wrote. The final vignettes were selected from a larger set evaluated by human raters on MTurk as well as an automated system that rated narrativity, and several other latent properties of the text. The final product is a set of stimuli that are standarized on ease of imagining (to avoid task demand differences), emotion discriminability, and more conventional properties. We also have corresponding patterns of neural activation.