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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2007 Dec;2(4):274-83. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsm023.

Emotional modulation of body-selective visual areas.

Author information

  • 1Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland. mariuspeelen@hotmail.com


Emotionally expressive faces have been shown to modulate activation in visual cortex, including face-selective regions in ventral temporal lobe. Here, we tested whether emotionally expressive bodies similarly modulate activation in body-selective regions. We show that dynamic displays of bodies with various emotional expressions vs neutral bodies, produce significant activation in two distinct body-selective visual areas, the extrastriate body area and the fusiform body area. Multi-voxel pattern analysis showed that the strength of this emotional modulation was related, on a voxel-by-voxel basis, to the degree of body selectivity, while there was no relation with the degree of selectivity for faces. Across subjects, amygdala responses to emotional bodies positively correlated with the modulation of body-selective areas. Together, these results suggest that emotional cues from body movements produce topographically selective influences on category-specific populations of neurons in visual cortex, and these increases may implicate discrete modulatory projections from the amygdala.

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