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1.  Are Happy Faces Attractive? The Roles of Early vs. Late Processing 
Frontiers in Psychology  2015;6:1812.
Facial attractiveness is closely related to romantic love. To understand if the neural underpinnings of perceived facial attractiveness and facial expression are similar constructs, we recorded neural signals using an event-related potential (ERP) methodology for 20 participants who were viewing faces with varied attractiveness and expressions. We found that attractiveness and expression were reflected by two early components, P2-lateral (P2l) and P2-medial (P2m), respectively; their interaction effect was reflected by LPP, a late component. The findings suggested that facial attractiveness and expression are first processed in parallel for discrimination between stimuli. After the initial processing, more attentional resources are allocated to the faces with the most positive or most negative valence in both the attractiveness and expression dimensions. The findings contribute to the theoretical model of face perception.
PMCID: PMC4663264  PMID: 26648885
face; attractiveness; expression; ERP; P2; LPP
2.  A Pontine Region is a Neural Correlate of the Human Affective Processing Network 
EBioMedicine  2015;2(11):1799-1805.
PMCID: PMC4740328  PMID: 26870804
Pons; Raphe Nuclei; Emotion; fMRI; Small-World Connectivity
3.  Mindfulness Trait Predicts Neurophysiological Reactivity Associated with Negativity Bias: An ERP Study 
This study explored the relationship of mindfulness trait with the early and late stages of affective processing, by examining the two corresponding ERP components, P2 and LPP, collected from twenty-two male Chinese participants with a wide range of meditation experiences. Multiple regression analyses was performed on the mindfulness scores, as measured by CAMS-R, with the subjective affective ratings and ERP data collected during an emotion processing task. The results showed that increased mindfulness scores predicted increased valence ratings of negative stimuli (less negative), as well as increased P2 amplitudes at the frontocentral location for positive compared to negative stimuli. Based on these findings, a plausible mechanism of mindfulness in reducing negativity bias was discussed. Moreover, our results replicated previous findings on the age-related increase of P2 amplitudes at the frontal sites for positive compared to neutral stimuli. Since the locations at which P2 amplitudes were found as associated with age and mindfulness differed, as did the emotional contents of the stimuli being compared, indicating that the effect of age did not confound our findings on mindfulness and the two factors might operate on early affective processing from distinct sources and mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4466385  PMID: 26124852
4.  Structural Analysis and Anti-Complement Activity of Polysaccharides from Kjellmaniella crsaaifolia 
Marine Drugs  2015;13(3):1360-1374.
Two polysaccharides, named KCA and KCW, were extracted from Kjellmaniella crassifolia using dilute hydrochloric acid and water, respectively. Composition analysis showed that these polysaccharides predominantly consisted of fucose, with galactose, mannose and glucuronic acid as minor components. After degradation and partial desulfation, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) was performed, which showed that the polysaccharides consisted of sulfated fucooligosaccharides, sulfated galactofucooligosaccharides and methyl glycosides of mono-sulfated/multi-sulfated fucooligosaccharides. The structures of the oligomeric fragments were further characterized by electrospray ionization collision-induced dissociation tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-CID-MS2 and ESI-CID-MS3). Moreover, the activity of KCA and KCW against the hemolytic activity of both the classical and alternative complement pathways was determined. The activity of KCA was found to be similar to KCW, suggesting that the method of extraction did not influence the activity. In addition, the degraded polysaccharides (DKCA and DKCW) displayed lower activity levels than the crude polysaccharides (KCA and KCW), indicating that molecular weight had an effect on activity. Moreover, the desulfated fractions (ds-DKCA and ds-DKCW) showed less or no activity, which confirmed that sulfate was important for activity. In conclusion, polysaccharides from K. crassifolia may be good candidates for the treatment of diseases involving the complement pathway.
PMCID: PMC4377988  PMID: 25786064
polysaccharide; Kjellmaniella crassifolia; anti-complement
5.  Unfolding the Spatial and Temporal Neural Processing of Lying about Face Familiarity 
Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)  2013;25(4):927-936.
To understand the neural processing underpinnings of deception, this study employed both neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) and neurophysiological (event-related potential, ERP) methodologies to examine the temporal and spatial coupling of the neural correlates and processes that occur when one lies about face familiarity. This was performed using simple directed lying tasks. According to cues provided by the researchers, the 17 participants were required to respond truthfully or with lies to a series of faces. The findings confirmed that lie and truth conditions are associated with different fMRI activations in the ventrolateral, dorsolateral, and dorsal medial-frontal cortices; premotor cortex, and inferior parietal gyrus. They are also associated with different amplitudes within the time interval between 300 and 1000 ms post face stimulus, after the initiation (270 ms) of face familiarity processing. These results support the cognitive model that suggests representations of truthful information are first aroused and then manipulated during deception. Stronger fMRI activations at the left inferior frontal gyrus and more positive-going ERP amplitudes within [1765, 1800] ms were observed in the contrast between lie and truth for familiar than for unfamiliar faces. The fMRI and ERP findings, together with ERP source reconstruction, clearly delineate the neural processing of face familiarity deception.
PMCID: PMC4379998  PMID: 24186897
deception; ERP; face familiarity; fMRI; source reconstruction
6.  Impaired social decision making in patients with major depressive disorder 
Brain and Behavior  2012;2(4):415-423.
Research on how depression influences social decision making has been scarce. This study investigated how people with depression make decisions in an interpersonal trust-reciprocity game. Fifty female patients diagnosed with major depressive disorders (MDDs) and 49 healthy women participated in this study. The experiment was conducted on a one-to-one basis. Participants were asked to play the role of a trustee responsible for investing money given to them by an anonymous female investor playing on another computer station. In each trial, the investor would send to a participant (the trustee) a request for a certain percentage of the appreciated investment (repayment proportion). Since only the participant knew the exact amount of the appreciated investment, she could decide to pay more (altruistic act), the same, or less (deceptive act) than the requested amount. The participant's money acquired in the trial would be confiscated if her deceptive act was caught. The frequency of deceptive or altruistic decisions and relative monetary gain in each decision choice were examined. People with depression made fewer deceptive and fewer altruistic responses than healthy controls in all conditions. Moreover, the specific behavioral pattern presented by people with depression was modulated by the task factors, including the risk of deception detection and others’ intentions (benevolence vs. malevolence). Findings of this study contribute to furthering our understanding of the specific pattern of social behavioral changes associated with depression.
PMCID: PMC3432964  PMID: 22950045
Affective disorders; altruism; deception; depression; risky decision making; trust
7.  Identification and Classification of Facial Familiarity in Directed Lying: An ERP Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31250.
Recognizing familiar faces is essential to social functioning, but little is known about how people identify human faces and classify them in terms of familiarity. Face identification involves discriminating familiar faces from unfamiliar faces, whereas face classification involves making an intentional decision to classify faces as “familiar” or “unfamiliar.” This study used a directed-lying task to explore the differentiation between identification and classification processes involved in the recognition of familiar faces. To explore this issue, the participants in this study were shown familiar and unfamiliar faces. They responded to these faces (i.e., as familiar or unfamiliar) in accordance with the instructions they were given (i.e., to lie or to tell the truth) while their EEG activity was recorded. Familiar faces (regardless of lying vs. truth) elicited significantly less negative-going N400f in the middle and right parietal and temporal regions than unfamiliar faces. Regardless of their actual familiarity, the faces that the participants classified as “familiar” elicited more negative-going N400f in the central and right temporal regions than those classified as “unfamiliar.” The P600 was related primarily with the facial identification process. Familiar faces (regardless of lying vs. truth) elicited more positive-going P600f in the middle parietal and middle occipital regions. The results suggest that N400f and P600f play different roles in the processes involved in facial recognition. The N400f appears to be associated with both the identification (judgment of familiarity) and classification of faces, while it is likely that the P600f is only associated with the identification process (recollection of facial information). Future studies should use different experimental paradigms to validate the generalizability of the results of this study.
PMCID: PMC3283635  PMID: 22363597

Results 1-7 (7)