Lab site: Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab
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.
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., Harp, N. R., Henley, D. J., Beckford, S. E., & Koehler, K. (2019). One step at a time: Physical activity is linked to positive interpretations of ambiguity. PloS one, 14 (11): e0225106. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225106.
- 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.
- Neta, M. & Dodd, M. D. (2018). Through the eyes of the beholder: Simulated Eye-movement Experience ("SEE") modulates valence bias in response to emotional ambiguity. Emotion. doi:10.1037/emo0000421.
- Neta, M., Tong, T. T., & Henley, D. J. (2018). It’s a matter of time (perspectives): Shifting valence responses to emotional ambiguity. Motivation & Emotion, 42, 258-266. doi:10.1007/s11031-018-9665-7.
- +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., Cantelon, J., Mahoney, C. R., Taylor, H. A., & Davis, F. C. (2017). The impact of uncertain threat on affective bias: Individual differences in response to ambiguity. Emotion, 17(8):1137-1143. doi: 10.1037/emo0000349.
- Neta, M., Nelson, S. M., & Petersen, S. E. (2017). Dorsal anterior cingulate, medial superior frontal cortex, and anterior insula show performance reporting-related late task control signals. Cerebral Cortex, 27(3), 2154-2165. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw053.
- 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.
- Davis, F. C., Neta, M., Kim, M. J., Moran, J. M., & Whalen, P. J. (2016). Interpreting ambiguous social cues in unpredictable contexts. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 11(5):775-82. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsw003.
- Neta, M., Miezin, F. M., Nelson, S. M., Dubis, J. W., Dosenbach, N.U.F., Schlaggar, B. L., & Petersen, S. E. (2015). Errors are processed across multiple brain networks at differing timescales. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(1), 253-266.
- Neta, M., Schlaggar, B. L., & Petersen, S. E. (2014). Separable responses to error, ambiguity, and reaction time in cingulo-opercular task control regions. NeuroImage, 99, 59-68.
- Neta, M., Kelley, W. M., & Whalen, P. J. (2013). Neural responses to ambiguity involve domain-general and specific emotion processing systems. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(4), 547-557.
- Neta, M., Davis, F. C., & Whalen, P. J. (2011). Valence resolution of facial expressions using an emotional oddball task. Emotion, 11(6), 1425-1433.
- 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. (2008). The proactive brain: Using little information to make predictive judgments. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 7(4-5), 319-330.
- 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.