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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2007 Jun;2(2):93-103. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsm002.

The BOLD signal in the amygdala does not differentiate between dynamic facial expressions.

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1
BCN NeuroImaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The amygdala has been considered to be essential for recognizing fear in other people's facial expressions. Recent studies shed doubt on this interpretation. Here we used movies of facial expressions instead of static photographs to investigate the putative fear selectivity of the amygdala using fMRI under more ecological conditions. The amygdala was found to respond more to movies of facial expressions than to pattern motion, but no differences were found between the responses to neutral, happy, disgusted and fearful facial expressions. This lack of emotional selectivity was replicated in three experiments using three different tasks (passive observation, delayed match to sample and viewing for imitation) and two different analysis methods (voxel-by-voxel and anatomical region of interest). Our data therefore provide strong support for the idea that under more ecologically valid conditions, the contribution of the amygdala towards the detection of fearful facial expressions must be more indirect than previously assumed.

PMID:
18985128
PMCID:
PMC2555450
DOI:
10.1093/scan/nsm002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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