I am an interdisciplinary scientist with training in neuroscience, psychology, and engineering. I want to understand psychological experiences through a scientific lens. My research aims to understand what emotions are and what role they play in healthy psychological functioning.

Big questions:  How do emotions and other motivational states impact the brain, behavior, and other biological functions? If we could build a tool (like a thermometer) that could objectively measure an emotion, how would it work? Can artificially intelligent agents have emotions? How is emotion related to time and space?

My interest in psychology began in the field of music: I did some work in the domain of music psychology as an undergraduate (MuE) and master’s student (Bregman Media Labs). Then, during my PhD (Dartmouth), I studied facial expressions, learning theory, and mathematical modeling, and I learned how to apply neuroimaging techniques to psychological questions.


Mattek, A. M., Burr, D. A., Shin, J., Whicker, C. L., & Kim, M. J. (submitted). Identifying the representational structure of affect using fMRI. [pdf]

Mattek, A. M. (2019). “Expanding psychological theory using system analogies.” Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science. 22 July 2019. [pdf]

Mattek, A. M., Wolford, G., & Whalen, P. J. (2017). A mathematical model captures the structure of subjective affect. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(3), 508-526. [pdf]
(Supplemental Materials: [pdf])

Kim, M. J., Mattek, A. M., Bennett, R. H., Solomon, K. M., Shin, J., & Whalen, P. J. (2017). Human amygdala tracks feature-based affective valence of emotionally ambiguous facial expressions. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(39), 9510-9518.

Kim, M. J., Shin, J., Taylor J. M., Mattek, A.M., Chavez, S. J. & Whalen, P. J. (2017). Intolerance of uncertainty predicts increased striatal volume. Emotion 17(6), 895-899.

Mattek, A. M., Whalen, P. J., Berkowitz, J. L., & Freeman, J. B. (2016). Differential effects of cognitive load on subjective versus motor responses to ambiguously valenced facial expressions.  Emotion 16(6), 929-936. [pdf]

Whalen, P. J., Raila, H., Bennett, R., Mattek, A., Brown, A., Taylor, J., et al. (2013). Neuroscience and facial expressions of emotion: The role of amygdala—prefrontal interactions. Emotion Review, 5(1), 78-83.

Mattek, A. & Casey, M. (2011). Cross-modal aesthetics from a feature-extraction perspective: a pilot study. Proceedings of the 12th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference. [pdf]

Mattek, A., Freeman, M., & Humphrey, E. (2010). Revisiting Cagean composition methodology with a modern computational implementation. Proceedings of the 2010 Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. [pdf]