News Releases & Research Results Subjective fear experiences and objective fear responses differ in brain phenomena―Dissociations between mind and body―

News Releases & Research Results


Results of an international joint study by the research groups of Director Mitsuo Kawato of the Department of Decoded Neurofeedback, ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, and Associate Professor Hakwan Lau of University of California, Los Angeles.

Key points of research results

  • Using decoding technology (*), the researchers successfully demonstrated that subjective emotional experiences and objective biological responses (e.g., sweating and pupil reaction) to fear stimuli were governed by different brain areas.
    (*)A technique to reveal what information can be read in a specific brain region by combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI: a technique for imaging blood flow changes in the entire brain) and AI.
  • Specifically, the researchers found that the intensities of objective and subjective fear responses could be predicted in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, respectively.
  • The results suggest the importance of subjective emotional experiences, besides objective biological responses, as an indicator for future research and treatment, and should lead to the development of optimal treatments for mental illnesses.

This project was implemented with the support of the Strategic International Brain Science Research Promotion Program of the AMED.

The results of research were published on October 29 in the online edition of Molecular Psychiatry.


Vincent Taschereau-Dumouchel, et al. Multivoxel pattern analysis reveals dissociations between subjective fear and its physiological correlates Molecular Psychiatry


Last updated 10/29/19