Dissociable neural responses to facial expressions of sadness and anger.
Previous neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies have investigated the neural substrates which mediate responses to fearful, disgusted and happy expressions. No previous studies have investigated the neural substrates which mediate responses to sad and angry expressions. Using functional neuroimaging, we tested two hypotheses. First, we tested whether the amygdala has a neural response to sad and/or angry facial expressions. Secondly, we tested whether the orbitofrontal cortex has a specific neural response to angry facial expressions. Volunteer subjects were scanned, using PET, while they performed a sex discrimination task involving static grey-scale images of faces expressing varying degrees of sadness and anger. We found that increasing intensity of sad facial expression was associated with enhanced activity in the left amygdala and right temporal pole. In addition, we found that increasing intensity of angry facial expression was associated with enhanced activity in the orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortex. We found no support for the suggestion that angry expressions generate a signal in the amygdala. The results provide evidence for dissociable, but interlocking, systems for the processing of distinct categories of negative facial expression. (+info)
Electrophysiological studies of human face perception. I: Potentials generated in occipitotemporal cortex by face and non-face stimuli.
This and the following two papers describe event-related potentials (ERPs) evoked by visual stimuli in 98 patients in whom electrodes were placed directly upon the cortical surface to monitor medically intractable seizures. Patients viewed pictures of faces, scrambled faces, letter-strings, number-strings, and animate and inanimate objects. This paper describes ERPs generated in striate and peristriate cortex, evoked by faces, and evoked by sinusoidal gratings, objects and letter-strings. Short-latency ERPs generated in striate and peristriate cortex were sensitive to elementary stimulus features such as luminance. Three types of face-specific ERPs were found: (i) a surface-negative potential with a peak latency of approximately 200 ms (N200) recorded from ventral occipitotemporal cortex, (ii) a lateral surface N200 recorded primarily from the middle temporal gyrus, and (iii) a late positive potential (P350) recorded from posterior ventral occipitotemporal, posterior lateral temporal and anterior ventral temporal cortex. Face-specific N200s were preceded by P150 and followed by P290 and N700 ERPs. N200 reflects initial face-specific processing, while P290, N700 and P350 reflect later face processing at or near N200 sites and in anterior ventral temporal cortex. Face-specific N200 amplitude was not significantly different in males and females, in the normal and abnormal hemisphere, or in the right and left hemisphere. However, cortical patches generating ventral face-specific N200s were larger in the right hemisphere. Other cortical patches in the same region of extrastriate cortex generated grating-sensitive N180s and object-specific or letter-string-specific N200s, suggesting that the human ventral object recognition system is segregated into functionally discrete regions. (+info)
Electrophysiological studies of human face perception. II: Response properties of face-specific potentials generated in occipitotemporal cortex.
In the previous paper the locations and basic response properties of N200 and other face-specific event-related potentials (ERPs) were described. In this paper responsiveness of N200 and related ERPs to the perceptual features of faces and other images was assessed. N200 amplitude did not vary substantially, whether evoked by colored or grayscale faces; normal, blurred or line-drawing faces; or by faces of different sizes. Human hands evoked small N200s at face-specific sites, but evoked hand-specific ERPs at other sites. Cat and dog faces evoked N200s that were 73% as large as to human faces. Hemifield stimulation demonstrated that the right hemisphere is better at processing information about upright faces and transferring it to the left hemisphere, whereas the left hemisphere is better at processing information about inverted faces and transferring it to the right hemisphere. N200 amplitude was largest to full faces and decreased progressively to eyes, face contours, lips and noses viewed in isolation. A region just lateral to face-specific N200 sites was more responsive to internal face parts than to faces, and some sites in ventral occipitotemporal cortex were face-part-specific. Faces with eyes averted or closed evoked larger N200s than those evoked by faces with eyes forward. N200 amplitude and latency were affected by the joint effects of eye and head position in the right but not in the left hemisphere. Full and three-quarter views of faces evoked larger N200s than did profile views. The results are discussed in relation to behavioral studies in humans and single-cell recordings in monkeys. (+info)
Electrophysiological studies of human face perception. III: Effects of top-down processing on face-specific potentials.
This is the last in a series of papers dealing with intracranial event-related potential (ERP) correlates of face perception. Here we describe the results of manipulations that may exert top-down influences on face recognition and face-specific ERPs, and the effects of cortical stimulation at face-specific sites. Ventral face-specific N200 was not evoked by affective stimuli; showed little or no habituation; was not affected by the familiarity or unfamiliarity of faces; showed no semantic priming; and was not affected by face-name learning or identification. P290 and N700 were affected by semantic priming and by face-name learning and identification. The early fraction of N700 and face-specific P350 exhibited significant habituation. About half of the AP350 sites exhibited semantic priming, whereas the VP350 and LP350 sites did not. Cortical stimulation evoked a transient inability to name familiar faces or evoked face-related hallucinations at two-thirds of face-specific N200 sites. These results are discussed in relation to human behavioral studies and monkey single-cell recordings. Discussion of results of all three papers concludes that: face-specific N200 reflects the operation of a module specialized for the perception of human faces; ventral and lateral occipitotemporal cortex are composed of a complex mosaic of functionally discrete patches of cortex of variable number, size and location; in ventral cortex there is a posterior-to-anterior trend in the location of patches in the order letter-strings, form, hands, objects, faces and face parts; P290 and N700 at face-specific N200 sites, and face-specific P350, are subject to top-down influences. (+info)
Face-selective neurons during passive viewing and working memory performance of rhesus monkeys: evidence for intrinsic specialization of neuronal coding.
The functional organization of prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a central issue in cognitive neuroscience. Previous physiological investigations have often failed to reveal specialization within the PFC. However, these studies have generally not been designed to examine this issue. Methodological issues such as statistical criteria for specificity, the number of neurons sampled, the extent of cortex sampled, and the number, location and nature of the stimuli used are among the variables that need to be considered in evaluating the results of studies on functional localization. In the present study, we have examined neurons in macaque monkeys trained to fixate while viewing visual stimuli, including faces, or to use them as memoranda on a working memory task. Visual responses of over 1500 neurons were recorded throughout a wide expanse of the PFC (areas 12, 9, 46, 8 and 45). Neurons were considered selective for faces if the best response to a face was over twice as strong as that to any of a wide variety of non-face stimuli. Full electrode track reconstructions in three monkeys revealed in each that neurons which met this criterion were concentrated almost exclusively in three distinct subregions within the projection region of the temporal lobe visual areas. We further show that for all neurons, the most visually selective neurons (for faces, objects or color patterns) were also the most concentrated in the temporal lobe recipient PFC. Similar face selectivity, regional specialization, and delay or delay-like activity were observed in monkeys whether trained on memory tasks or not, which suggests that these are naturally occurring properties of prefrontal neurons. These results confirm neuronal and regional specialization for information processing in PFC and elucidate how heretofore unexamined experimental variables have a strong influence on the detection of regional specialization. (+info)
Laterality of expression in portraiture: putting your best cheek forward.
Portraits, both photographic and painted, are often produced with more of one side of the face showing than the other. Typically, the left side of the face is overrepresented, with the head turned slightly to the sitter's right. This leftward bias is weaker for painted male portraits and non-existent for portraits of scientists from the Royal Society. What mechanism might account for this bias? Examination of portraits painted by left- and right-handers and of self-portraits suggests that the bias is not determined by a mechanical preference of the artist or by the viewer's aesthetics. The leftward bias seems to be determined by the sitters and their desire to display the left side of their face, which is controlled by the emotive, right cerebral hemisphere. When we asked people to portray as much emotion as possible when posing for a family portrait, they tended to present the left side of their face. When asked to pose as scientists and avoid portraying emotion, participants tended to present their right side. The motivation to portray emotion, or conceal it, might explain why portraits of males show a reduced leftward bias, and also why portraits of scientists from the Royal Society show no leftward bias. (+info)
Activation of the right inferior frontal cortex during assessment of facial emotion.
We measured regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) using positron emission tomography (PET) to determine which brain regions are involved in the assessment of facial emotion. We asked right-handed normal subjects to assess the signalers' emotional state based on facial gestures and to assess the facial attractiveness, as well as to discriminate the background color of the facial stimuli, and compared the activity produced by each condition. The right inferior frontal cortex showed significant activation during the assessment of facial emotion in comparison with the other two tests. The activated area was located within a triangular area of the inferior frontal cortex in the right cerebral hemisphere. These results, together with those of previous imaging and clinical studies, suggest that the right inferior frontal cortex processes emotional communicative signals that could be visual or auditory and that there is a hemispheric asymmetry in the inferior frontal cortex in relation to the processing of emotional communicative signals. (+info)
Knowing no fear.
People with brain injuries involving the amygdala are often poor at recognizing facial expressions of fear, but the extent to which this impairment compromises other signals of the emotion of fear has not been clearly established. We investigated N.M., a person with bilateral amygdala damage and a left thalamic lesion, who was impaired at recognizing fear from facial expressions. N.M. showed an equivalent deficit affecting fear recognition from body postures and emotional sounds. His deficit of fear recognition was not linked to evidence of any problem in recognizing anger (a common feature in other reports), but for his everyday experience of emotion N.M. reported reduced anger and fear compared with neurologically normal controls. These findings show a specific deficit compromising the recognition of the emotion of fear from a wide range of social signals, and suggest a possible relationship of this type of impairment with alterations of emotional experience. (+info)