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Neuron. 2001 Nov 20;32(4):747-57.

Feeling or features: different sensitivity to emotion in high-order visual cortex and amygdala.

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Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Emotionally loaded visual stimuli have shown increased activation in visual and cortex limbic areas. However, differences in visual features of such images could confound these findings. In order to manipulate valence of stimuli while keeping visual features largely unchanged, we took advantage of an "expressional transfiguration" (ET) effect of faces. In addition, we used repetition effects, which enabled us to test more incisively the impact of the ET effect. Using the ET manipulation, we have shown that the activation in lateral occipital complex (LOC) was unaffected by valence attributes, but produced significant modulation of fMR adaptation. Contrary to LOC, amygdala activation was increased by ET manipulation unrelated to the adaptation. A correlation between amygdala and LOC adaptation points to a possible modulatory role of the amygdala upon visual cortex short-term plasticity.

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