Poster E20, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Inter-subject representational similarity analysis reveals individual variations in affective experience when watching erotic movies
Pin-Hao Andy Chen1, Eshin Jolly1, Todd F. Heatherton1, Luke J. Chang1; 1Dartmouth College
We spend much of our life pursuing or avoiding affective experiences. However, surprisingly little is known about how these experiences are represented in the brain and whether everyone has an identical experience. In this study, 26 male participants watched 3.5 minutes of erotic pornography and completed an 8-item dyadic sexual desire scale as well as a 13-item brief self-control scale. We were interested in whether individual variations in sexual desire and self-control might be associated with individual variability in participants’ experiences watching the erotic movies. We used inter-subject representational similarity analysis (ISRSA) to identify regions of the brain in which similarity in participants self-reported preferences were associated with similarity in temporal brain dynamics. This technique calculates a pairwise similarity matrix of participant brain dynamics in each ROI and maps these variations to a pairwise similarity matrix in responses to a self-report scale using rank correlation and permutation tests. We calculated ISRSA separately for 200 parcels from a whole-brain parcellation of co-activation patterns from over 10,000 published studies (Bonferroni corrected). We found that similarity in preferences for sexual desire was significantly associated with similarity in brain dynamics in the MPFC, PCC, and NAcc, indicating possible similarity in endogenous reward processing. In contrast, similarity in preferences for self-control was correlated with bilateral DLPFC, indicating variations in the executive control network. These results suggest that individuals have substantial variability in their affective experiences, and that ISRSA is a useful technique for identifying brain regions where this individual variability maps onto preferences.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotional responding