Annotating affective neuroscience data with the Emotion Ontology

In Third International Conference on Biomedical Ontology. ICBO. pp. 1-5 (2012)
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The Emotion Ontology is an ontology covering all aspects of emotional and affective mental functioning. It is being developed following the principles of the OBO Foundry and Ontological Realism. This means that in compiling the ontology, we emphasize the importance of the nature of the entities in reality that the ontology is describing. One of the ways in which realism-based ontologies are being successfully used within biomedical science is in the annotation of scientific research results in publicly available databases. Such annotation enables several objectives, including searching, browsing and cross-database data integration. A key benefit conferred by realismbased ontology is that suitably annotated research results are able to be aggregated and compared in a fashion that is based on the underlying reality that the science is studying. This has the potential of increasing the power of statistical analysis and meta-analysis in data-driven science. This aspect has been fruitfully exploited in the investigation of the functions of genes in molecular biology. Cognitive neuroscience uses functional neuroimaging to investigate the brain correlates of areas of mental functioning such as memory, planning and emotion. The use of functional neuroimaging to study affective phenomena such as the emotions is called ‘affective neuroscience’. BrainMap is the largest curated database of coordinates and metadata for studies in cognitive neuroscience, including affective neuroscience (Laird et al., 2005). BrainMap data is already classified and indexed using a terminology for classification, called the ‘Cognitive Paradigm Ontology’ (CogPO), that has been developed to facilitate searching and browsing. However, CogPO has been developed specifically for the BrainMap database, and the data are thus far not annotated to a realism-based ontology which would allow the discovery of interrelationships between research results across different databases on the basis of what the research is about. In this contribution, we describe ongoing work that aims to annotate affective neuroscience data, starting with the BrainMap database, using the Emotion Ontology. We describe our objectives and technical approach to the annotation, and mention some of the challenges.
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