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Nat Neurosci. 2005 Jan;8(1):24-5. Epub 2004 Dec 12.

Discriminating emotional faces without primary visual cortices involves the right amygdala.

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  • 1Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, University of Wales Bangor, Penrallt Road, Gwynedd LL57 2AS, UK. alan.pegna.hcuge.ch


Destruction of the brain's primary visual areas leads to blindness of cortical origin. Here we report on a subject who, after bilateral destruction of his visual cortices and ensuing cortical blindness, could nevertheless correctly guess the type of emotional facial expression being displayed, but could not guess other types of emotional or non-emotional stimuli. Functional magnetic resonance imaging showed activation of the right amygdala during the unconscious processing of emotionally expressive faces.

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