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Brain Cogn. 2009 Mar;69(2):269-78. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2008.08.007. Epub 2008 Sep 21.

Superior temporal activation in response to dynamic audio-visual emotional cues.

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Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 5010, Atlanta, GA 30302-5010, USA.


Perception of emotion is critical for successful social interaction, yet the neural mechanisms underlying the perception of dynamic, audio-visual emotional cues are poorly understood. Evidence from language and sensory paradigms suggests that the superior temporal sulcus and gyrus (STS/STG) play a key role in the integration of auditory and visual cues. Emotion perception research has focused on static facial cues; however, dynamic audio-visual (AV) cues mimic real-world social cues more accurately than static and/or unimodal stimuli. Novel dynamic AV stimuli were presented using a block design in two fMRI studies, comparing bimodal stimuli to unimodal conditions, and emotional to neutral stimuli. Results suggest that the bilateral superior temporal region plays distinct roles in the perception of emotion and in the integration of auditory and visual cues. Given the greater ecological validity of the stimuli developed for this study, this paradigm may be helpful in elucidating the deficits in emotion perception experienced by clinical populations.

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