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Psychiatry Investig. 2010 Mar;7(1):31-5. doi: 10.4306/pi.2010.7.1.31. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

Neural Mechanism of Inferring Person's Inner Attitude towards Another Person through Observing the Facial Affect in an Emotional Context.

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Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Konyang University, Daejeon, Korea.



The goal of the present study was to identify the brain mechanism involved in the attribution of person's attitude toward another person, using facial affective pictures and pictures displaying an affectively-loaded situation.


Twenty four right-handed healthy subjects volunteered for our study. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine brain activation during attitude attribution task as compared to gender matching tasks.


We identified activation in the left inferior frontal cortex, left superior temporal sulcus, and left inferior parietal lobule during the attitude attribution task, compared to the gender matching task.


This study suggests that mirror neuron system and ventrolateral inferior frontal cortex play a critical role in the attribution of a person's inner attitude towards another person in an emotional situation.


Attitude attribution; Emotion; Facial affect; Mirror neuron system; Theory of mind

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