She's a Scientist: Maital Neta
A psychology professor scans brains to find out where negative thoughts are born.
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- [00:00:00.208](curious music)
- [00:00:05.360]Are these facial expressions
- [00:00:06.990]positive or negative?
- [00:00:08.960]Psychology professor Maital Neta
- [00:00:11.230]says the answer depends on our brains.
- [00:00:14.260]People that tend to have a really chronic negativity,
- [00:00:17.560]people that tend to always see these things as negative
- [00:00:20.900]also seem to be more depressed or anxious or both.
- [00:00:24.720]We're really curious,
- [00:00:25.890]what makes somebody more negative versus another person
- [00:00:29.360]more positive in response to the exact same information?
- [00:00:34.890]Volunteers are shown several facial expressions
- [00:00:37.660]while their brains are scanned in an MRI machine.
- [00:00:41.030]The results may show what's happening inside the brain
- [00:00:44.290]while we make judgements.
- [00:00:45.990]So basically MRI is just one of the ways we can get it,
- [00:00:49.980]what's going on under the surface.
- [00:00:54.200]Neta's interest in how the brain works
- [00:00:56.300]began as an aspiring teenage artist.
- [00:00:59.020]What I loved about art is that it speaks to people.
- [00:01:01.590]You know, you have an emotional response to art,
- [00:01:03.760]but not everybody has the same emotional response.
- [00:01:05.740]Some people really like Dali,
- [00:01:07.770]and other people, you know, like Pollock.
- [00:01:10.180]And so what is that?
- [00:01:11.030]Where does that individual difference come from?
- [00:01:12.860]And so that led me to, well it's somewhere
- [00:01:15.170]in the brain, right?
- [00:01:16.060]Something in my brain is making me think this is important.
- [00:01:19.090]So neuroscience is where I went with that.
- [00:01:22.177](people laughing)
- [00:01:23.480]Neta's research also looks
- [00:01:25.070]at the changes in our brains
- [00:01:26.640]that make us less negative as we get older.
- [00:01:29.580]In older adults, people are more positive.
- [00:01:32.320]And actually, with increasing age,
- [00:01:34.110]there's this nice linear effect where people
- [00:01:36.040]become more and more positive.
- [00:01:37.740]And we thought, well, what are they doing
- [00:01:39.930]that's so special, right?
- [00:01:41.140]How do they have it figured out?
- [00:01:42.570]And so if we can really get a handle on that,
- [00:01:45.820]then maybe we can help people that are suffering
- [00:01:48.610]from that chronic negativity.
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