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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 24;106(47):20010-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905792106. Epub 2009 Nov 11.

MEG demonstrates a supra-additive response to facial and vocal emotion in the right superior temporal sulcus.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington YO10 5DD, United Kingdom. cindy.hagan@gmail.com


An influential neural model of face perception suggests that the posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS) is sensitive to those aspects of faces that produce transient visual changes, including facial expression. Other researchers note that recognition of expression involves multiple sensory modalities and suggest that the STS also may respond to crossmodal facial signals that change transiently. Indeed, many studies of audiovisual (AV) speech perception show STS involvement in AV speech integration. Here we examine whether these findings extend to AV emotion. We used magnetoencephalography to measure the neural responses of participants as they viewed and heard emotionally congruent fear and minimally congruent neutral face and voice stimuli. We demonstrate significant supra-additive responses (i.e., where AV > [unimodal auditory + unimodal visual]) in the posterior STS within the first 250 ms for emotionally congruent AV stimuli. These findings show a role for the STS in processing crossmodal emotive signals.

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