Lab site: Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab
Curriculum vita (PDF)
Dr. Neta conducted research at Harvard Medical School from 2004-2006 and then received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Dartmouth College in 2010. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Neurology Department at Washington University School of Medicine before joining the faculty in 2014. Her work examines individual differences in response to emotional ambiguity. Specifically, although some expressions provide clear predictive information that something good (e.g., happy) or bad (e.g., angry) will happen, other expressions, like surprise, have predicted both positive (e.g., birthday party) and negative (e.g., car accident) events for us in the past. When presented in the absence of contextual information, these ambiguously valenced expressions can be used to delineate a valence bias: ambiguous stimuli are stably interpreted negatively by some people and positively by others. The working hypothesis in the lab is that positivity requires regulation. Moreover, she studies the functional networks in the human brain that support these decision-making processes, specifically relating to task control. She uses a variety of methods from psychology and neuroscience, including psychophysiology (facial electromyography and electrodermal activity), functional MRI and resting-state functional MRI to address these research questions.
This work is funded in part by an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health and an NSF CAREER Award. Dr. Neta has received multiple academic achievement awards, including the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award, and serves as Consulting Editor for Emotion and Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.
Her work is funded in part by an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health and an NSF CAREER Award. She has received multiple academic achievement awards, including being selected as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Outstanding Research and Creative Activities Award, and the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award. She serves as President-Elect of the Society for Affective Science, is a standing member of the Human Complex Mental Functions NIH study section, and serves as Consulting Editor for Emotion, Affective Science, and Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.
Dr. Neta is also Associate Director of the Center for Brain, Behavior, and Biology (CB3) which, in collaboration with the Athletics Performance Laboratory examines factors relating to concussion and traumatic brain injury. CB3 is an interdisciplinary research group consisting of Professors of Psychology, Political Science, Biological Sciences, Sociology, Economics, and Special Education and Communication Disorders.
Dr. Neta is on the lookout for motivated undergraduate students to join the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab. Please contact her for more information. Also, if you are interested in graduate study or postdoctoral training, please contact her for more information.
- Neta, M., & Kim, M. J. (2022). Surprise as an emotion: A response to Ortony. Perspectives on Psychological Science.
- Pierce, J. E., Haque, E., & Neta, M. (2022). Affective flexibility as a developmental building block of cognitive reappraisal: An fMRI study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 58, 101170.
- Basyouni, R., Harp, N. R., Haas, I. J., & Neta, M. (2022). Political identity biases Americans' judgments of outgroup emotion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 103, 104392. Preprint available: https://psyarxiv.com/65h3p/
- Brock, R. L., Harp, N. R., & Neta, M. (2022). Interpersonal emotion regulation mitigates the link between trait neuroticism and a more negative valence bias. Personality and Individual Differences, 196, 111726.
- Harp, N. R., Freeman, J. B., & Neta, M. (2022). Mindfulness-based stress reduction triggers a long-term shift toward more positive appraisals of emotional ambiguity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Preprint available: https://psyarxiv.com/qnc5a
- Raio, C. M., Harp, N. R., Brown, C. C., & Neta, M. (2021). Reappraisal - but not suppression - tendencies determine negativity bias after laboratory and real-world stress exposure. Affective Science, 2, 455–467.
- Petro, N. M., Basyouni, R., & Neta, M. (2021). Positivity effect in aging: Evidence for the primacy of positive responses toward emotional ambiguity. Neurobiology of Aging. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.06.015
- Neta, M. & Brock, R. L. (2021). Social connectedness and negative affect uniquely explain individual differences in response to emotional ambiguity. Nature: Scientific Reports, 11, article number: 3870.
- Petro, N. M., Tottenham, N., & Neta, M. (2021). Exploring valence bias as a metric for fronto-amygdalar connectivity and depressive symptoms in childhood. Developmental Psychobiology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dev.22084
- Petro, N. M., Tong, T. T., Henley, D. J., & Neta, M. (2018). Individual differences in valence bias: fMRI evidence of the initial negativity hypothesis. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 13 (7), 687-698. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsy049.
- +Brown, C. C., +Raio, C. M., & Neta, M. (2017). Cortisol response enhance negative valence perception for ambiguous facial expressions. Nature: Scientific Reports, 7, article number: 15107. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-14846-3 (+co-first authors)
- Neta, M. & Tong, T. T. (2016). Don't like what you see? Give it time: Longer reaction times associated with increased positive affect. Emotion, 16(5), 730-739. doi: 10.1037/emo0000181.
- Neta, M. & Whalen, P. J. (2010). The primacy of negative interpretations when resolving the valence of ambiguous facial expressions. Psychological Science, 21(7), 901-907.
- Neta, M., Norris, C. J., & Whalen, P. J. (2009). Corrugator muscle responses to surprised facial expressions are associated with individual differences in positivity-negativity bias. Emotion, 9(5), 640-648.
- Bar, M. & Neta, M. (2007). Visual elements of subjective preference modulate amygdala activation. Neuropsychologia, 45, 2191-2200.
- Bar, M. & Neta, M. (2006). Humans prefer curved visual objects. Psychological Science, 17(8), 645-648.
- Bar, M., Neta, M., & Linz, H. (2006). Very first impressions. Emotion, 6, 269-278.
A list of my research projects can be found on my lab website.
Dr. Neta teaches Psyc 387 (Psychology of Personality) in both the Fall and Spring semesters. She also teaches a graduate seminar on Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.