Cara L. Buck; Jonathan D. Cohen; Field, Brent; Daniel Kahneman; Samuel M. McClure; Leigh E. Nystrom
Studies of subjective well-being have conventionally relied upon self-report, which directs subjects’ attention to their emotional experiences. This method presumes that attention itself does not influence emotional processes, which could bias sampling. We tested whether attention influences experienced utility (the moment-by-moment experience of pleasure) by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the activity of brain systems thought to represent hedonic value while manipulating attentional load. Subjects received appetitive or aversive solutions orally while alternatively executing a low or high attentional load task. Brain regions associated with hedonic processing, including the ventral striatum, showed a response to both juice and quinine. This response decreased during the high-load task relative to the low-load task. Thus, attentional allocation may influence experienced utility by modulating (either directly or indirectly) the activity of brain mechanisms thought to represent hedonic value.
This three-year project, performed by Princeton University in partnership with the University of Minnesota and Brookhaven National Laboratory, examined geologic carbon sequestration in regard to CO2 leakage and potential subsurface liabilities. The research resulted in basin-scale analyses of CO2 and brine leakage in light of uncertainties in the characteristics of leakage processes, and generated frameworks to monetize the risks of leakage interference with competing subsurface resources. The geographic focus was the Michigan sedimentary basin, for which a 3D topographical model was constructed to represent the hydrostratigraphy. Specifically for Ottawa County, a statistical analysis of the hydraulic properties of underlying sedimentary formations was conducted. For plausible scenarios of injection into the Mt. Simon sandstone, leakage rates were estimated and fluxes into shallow drinking-water aquifers were found to be less than natural analogs of CO2 fluxes. We developed the Leakage Impact Valuation (LIV) model in which we identified stakeholders and estimated costs associated with leakage events. It was found that costs could be incurred even in the absence of legal action or other subsurface interference because there are substantial costs of finding and fixing the leak and from injection interruption. We developed a model framework called RISCS, which can be used to predict monetized risk of interference with subsurface resources by combining basin-scale leakage predictions with the LIV method. The project has also developed a cost calculator called the Economic and Policy Drivers Module (EPDM), which comprehensively calculates the costs of carbon sequestration and leakage, and can be used to examine major drivers for subsurface leakage liabilities in relation to specific injection scenarios and leakage events. Finally, we examined the competitiveness of CCS in the energy market. This analysis, though qualitative, shows that financial incentives, such as a carbon tax, are needed for coal combustion with CCS to gain market share. In another part of the project we studied the role of geochemical reactions in affecting the probability of CO2 leakage. A basin-scale simulation tool was modified to account for changes in leakage rates due to permeability alterations, based on simplified mathematical rules for the important geochemical reactions between acidified brines and caprock minerals. In studies of reactive flows in fractured caprocks, we examined the potential for permeability increases, and the extent to which existing reactive transport models would or would not be able to predict it. Using caprock specimens from the Eau Claire and Amherstburg, we found that substantial increases in permeability are possible for caprocks that have significant carbonate content, but minimal alteration is expected otherwise. We also found that while the permeability increase may be substantial, it is much less than what would be predicted from hydrodynamic models based on mechanical aperture alone because the roughness that is generated tends to inhibit flow.