FENS Forum - Abstract



1st author : N'Diaye Karim (poster)
Date: 1st submitted, 06/02/2008, last edition, 24/02/2008, 14:41:55.

Abstract n°: 192.16
Ref.: FENS Abstr., vol.4, 192.16, 2008

Authors N'Diaye K. (1, 2, 3), Sander D. (2) & Vuilleumier P. (1, 2, 4)
Addresses (1) Neurology & Imaging of Cognition Lab, Geneva, Switzerland; (2) Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, Geneva, Switzerland; (3) Neuroscience Center, Univ. of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; (4) Dept of Clinical Neurology, Geneva Hosp., Geneva, Switzerland
Title Interaction between facial emotion and gaze direction in the human amygdala: the role of self-relevance and expression intensity.
Text Recent behavioural evidence suggests a specific pattern of interaction between emotional expression and gaze-direction in the processing of facial displays. However, neuroimaging studies on this issue provide contradictory results. These discrepancies could be due to differences in the nature of the tasks and the expressivity of the facial stimuli. Here we used a highly-controlled set of computer-generated stimuli faces, animated to produce emotional expressions of various intensities (fear, anger, happiness) and gaze shifts in different directions (directed at or averted from the observer). Our prediction based on appraisal theory of emotion was that perceived emotion would show a specific pattern of interaction driven by the self-relevance dimension of the facial displays, namely that fearful faces with averted gaze -- which may signal a nearby danger -- would be more relevant than fearful faces with direct gaze while, conversely, angry faces may be more relevant with direct gaze -- signalling aggressiveness -- than with averted gaze. Confirming our hypothesis, this interaction pattern was observed both at the behavioural level for emotion intensity ratings, and at the neural level for activation in bilateral amygdala as well as fusiform and medial prefrontal cortex, but selectively for low-intensity expressions, and not for high-intensity expressions. These results support the implication of human amygdala in the appraisal of affective stimuli, particularly with respect to self-relevance, and point to a crucial role of expression intensity in emotion and gaze interactions.
Theme 1 Cognition and behavior
Human cognition and behavior
Theme 2 Cognition and behavior
Human cognition and behavior
Social cognition


Session: P192 - Human cognition 3
Date: 15/07/2008, 13:30:00 - Hall 1
Reference: Poster E16