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Dr Phoebe Neo

Professional Practice Fellow

Email phoebe@psy.otago.ac.nz
 Phoebe NeoTel 64 3 479 5835

Dr Phoebe Neo’s main research interest is in the area of affective neuroscience. Her work involves the recording and analysis of human electroencephalography (EEG) in the 4-12Hz range. She has been investigating how personality measures such as neuroticism and trait anxiety modulates EEG. The ongoing research involves characterizing the personality-EEG correlations identified, with a focus on differentiating their roles in reduced approach and increased avoidance tendencies during emotional processing.

Phoebe received a PhD in 2009 and is a postdoctoral fellow (part-time) in Professor Neil McNaughton’s laboratory.

Research Interests

Biological basis of emotion

Conflict and loss sensitivities reflect distinct emotional processing

Our sensitivities to conflict between incompatible behavioral tendencies (approach versus avoidance) and that to loss processing (where avoidance tendency dominates) could reflect the reactivity of two distinct defensive systems. These systems appear to show different drug profiles in both rodents and humans and have been linked to anxiety and fear respectively.

Conflict and loss processing as biomarkers of affective disorders

We have identified potential human EEG markers of both conflict and loss processing. These EEG markers show asymmetric interactions with gender and personality traits (neuroticism and trait anxiety). High trait anxiety or high neuroticism is a risk factor for anxiety and mood disorders. Further characterization of the personality-EEG relationships should clarify their roles in the development of dysfunctional emotional processes. To assess their feasibility as biomarkers of affective disorders, we aim to map out their responses to clinically anxiolytic and panicolytic drugs and test their ability to differentiate the sub-types of mood and anxiety disorders.

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Publications

Wang, Y., Huang, Z., McCane, B., & Neo, P. (2018). EmotioNet: A 3-D convolutional neural network for EEG-based emotion recognition. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN). IEEE. doi: 10.1109/IJCNN.2018.8489715

Zhang, S., McIntosh, J., Shadli, S. M., Neo, P. S.-H., Huang, Z., & McNaughton, N. (2017). Removing eye blink artefacts from EEG: A single-channel physiology-based method. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 291, 213-220. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.08.031

McNaughton, N., Swart, C., Neo, P., Bates, V., & Glue, P. (2013). Anti-anxiety drugs reduce conflict-specific “theta”: A possible human anxiety-specific biomarker. Journal of Affective Disorders, 148(1), 104-111. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.11.057

McNaughton, N., Tinker, J., & Neo, P. S.-H. (2013). Approach, avoid, or not? Trait anxiety, neuroticism and the frontal asymmetry of behavioural inhibition. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 31, (pp. 30). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2013copy.html

Neo, P., Carter, D., Zheng, Y., Smith, P., Darlington, C., & McNaughton, N. (2012). Septal elicitation of hippocampal theta rhythm did not repair cognitive and emotional deficits resulting from vestibular lesions. Hippocampus, 22(5), 1176-1187. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20963

Journal - Research Article

Zhang, S., McIntosh, J., Shadli, S. M., Neo, P. S.-H., Huang, Z., & McNaughton, N. (2017). Removing eye blink artefacts from EEG: A single-channel physiology-based method. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 291, 213-220. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.08.031

McNaughton, N., Swart, C., Neo, P., Bates, V., & Glue, P. (2013). Anti-anxiety drugs reduce conflict-specific “theta”: A possible human anxiety-specific biomarker. Journal of Affective Disorders, 148(1), 104-111. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.11.057

Neo, P., Carter, D., Zheng, Y., Smith, P., Darlington, C., & McNaughton, N. (2012). Septal elicitation of hippocampal theta rhythm did not repair cognitive and emotional deficits resulting from vestibular lesions. Hippocampus, 22(5), 1176-1187. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20963

Neo, P. S.-H., Thurlow, J. K., & McNaughton, N. (2011). Stopping, goal-conflict, trait anxiety and frontal rhythmic power in the stop-signal task. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(4), 485-493. doi: 10.3758/s13415-011-0046-x

Neo, P. S.-H., & McNaughton, N. (2011). Frontal theta power linked to neuroticism and avoidance. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(3), 396-403. doi: 10.3758/s13415-011-0038-x

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Wang, Y., Huang, Z., McCane, B., & Neo, P. (2018). EmotioNet: A 3-D convolutional neural network for EEG-based emotion recognition. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN). IEEE. doi: 10.1109/IJCNN.2018.8489715

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

McNaughton, N., Tinker, J., & Neo, P. S.-H. (2013). Approach, avoid, or not? Trait anxiety, neuroticism and the frontal asymmetry of behavioural inhibition. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 31, (pp. 30). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2013copy.html

Neo, P. S.-H., & McNaughton, N. (2011). Right frontal theta activation linked to aversion and neuroticism. Proceedings of the Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS) Annual Scientific Meeting. (pp. 154). Retrieved from http://www.ans.org.au/uploads/documents/2011%20Docs/conference%20abstracts/ANS%202011%20Poster%20Abstracts.pdf

Neo, P., Carter, D., & McNaughton, N. (2010). A comparison of ambulation- and spin-elicited theta rhythms in the regions of the hippocampus, posterior hypothalamus and periaqueductal gray in the rat. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 28th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 28, (pp. 56). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2010.htm

Neo, P. S.-H., & McNaughton, N. (2007). Conflict-specific theta activation of right frontal cortex: A region involved in behavioural inhibition. In J. G. Anson (Ed.), Proceedings of the 25th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 25, (pp. 49). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/2007Abstracts.pdf

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Neo, P. (2011, July). High threat sensitivity appears to activate multiple lateral frontal theta networks. Verbal presentation at the Brain Health Research Centre Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Stevenson, M., McNaughton, N., & Neo, P. (2010, November). Activation of the behavioural inhibition system in phenylketonuria and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Verbal presentation at the Psycolloquy Seminar, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Neo, P. S.-H., & McNaughton, N. (2007, November). Conflict-specific theta activation of right frontal cortex: A region involved in behavioural inhibition. Verbal presentation at the Psycolloquy Seminar, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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Awarded Doctoral Degree

Neo, P. S.-H. (2008). Theta activations associated with goal-conflict processing: Evidence for the revised ″Behavioral Inhibition System″ (PhD). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 128p.

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