Florida State University

Dr. Wen Li

Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience
PDB B342


Our goal is to characterize sensory-cortex-based processing of threat information and to understand neural mechanisms underpinning the generation and degeneration of threat codes in the sensory cortex. We are also interested in how these processes contribute to anxiety pathology. Our research is performed primarily on the human level.
Current Research
We study emotion processing and emotional disorders taking a neurosensory perspective. We propose that sensory cortex stores threat codes and thereby supports active encoding of threat cues, initiating defensive responses directly or interactively with the limbic system. In anxious individuals, sensory cortical encoding of threat could be exaggerated, which combined with limbic hyperreactivity to threat and inadequate prefrontal inhibition thereof, can result in a vicious cycle, driving the genesis and maintenance of pathological anxiety. Using a combination of techniques (fMRI, EEG/MEG, psychophysiology and psychophysics), our research proceeds in two directions: (1) establishing a neurosensory mechanism of threat encoding (and anxiety), and (2) developing perceptual training protocols as a novel treatment, by rewriting or erasing threat codes in the sensory cortex of anxious individuals.
Recent Publications
Arnold TC, You Y, Ding M, Zuo XN, de Araujo I, Li W (2020). Functional Connectome Analyses Reveal the Human Olfactory Network Organization. eNeuro, 7(4):ENEURO.0551-19.2020. PubMed
Clancy KJ, Albizu A, Schmidt NB, Li W (2020). Intrinsic sensory disinhibition contributes to intrusive re-experiencing in combat veterans. Sci Rep, 10(1):936. PubMed
Clancy KJ, Andrzejewski JA, Simon J, Ding M, Schmidt NB, Li W (2020). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Is Associated with α Dysrhythmia across the Visual Cortex and the Default Mode Network. eNeuro, 7(4):ENEURO.0053-20.2020. PubMed
Dong X, Gao C, Guo C, Li W, Cui L (2020). Time course of attentional bias in social anxiety: the effects of spatial frequencies and individual threats. Psychophysiology, 57(9):e13617. PubMed
Meynadasy M, Clancy K, Ke Z, Simon J, Wu W, Li W (2020). Impaired early visual categorization of fear in social anxiety. . Psychophysiology, 57(3):e13509. PubMed
Clancy KJ, Baisley SK, Albizu A, Kartvelishvili N, Ding M, Li W (2018). Lasting connectivity increase and anxiety reduction via transcranial alternating current stimulation. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 13(12):1305-1316. PubMed
Zheng Y, You Y, Farias AR, Simon J, Semin GR, Smeets MA, Li W (2018). Human chemosignals of disgust facilitate food judgment. Sci Rep, 8(1):17006. PubMed
Clancy K, Ding M, Bernat E, Schmidt NB, Li W (2017). Restless 'rest': intrinsic sensory hyperactivity and disinhibition in post-traumatic stress disorder. Brain, 140(7):2041-2050. PubMed
Forscher EC, Zheng Y, Ke Z, Folstein J, Li W (2016). Decomposing fear perception: A combination of psychophysics and neurometric modeling of fear perception. Neuropsychologia, 254-261. PubMed
You Y, Li W (2016). Parallel processing of general and specific threat during early stages of perception. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 11(3):395-404. PubMed
You Y, Brown J, Li W (2012). Human sensory cortical contribution to the long-term storage of aversive conditioning. J Neurosci, 41(14):3222-3233. PubMed

All Publications PubMed

Lab Website

Training Grant Opportunities

Neuro Grads and Postdocs

Joshua Brown, Graduate Student

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