JOURNAL ARTICLE

Stimulus-driven and strategic neural responses to fearful and happy facial expressions in humans

Mark A Williams, Francis McGlone, David F Abbott, Jason B Mattingley
European Journal of Neuroscience 2008, 27 (11): 3074-82
18540880
The human amygdala responds selectively to consciously and unconsciously perceived facial expressions, particularly those that convey potential threat such as fear and anger. In many social situations, multiple faces with varying expressions confront observers yet little is known about the neural mechanisms involved in encoding several faces simultaneously. Here we used event-related fMRI to measure neural activity in pre-defined regions of interest as participants searched multi-face arrays for a designated target expression (fearful or happy). We conducted separate analyses to examine activations associated with each of the four multi-face arrays independent of target expression (stimulus-driven effects), and activations arising from the search for each of the target expressions, independent of the display type (strategic effects). Comparisons across display types, reflecting stimulus-driven influences on visual search, revealed activity in the amygdala and superior temporal sulcus (STS). By contrast, strategic demands of the task did not modulate activity in either the amygdala or STS. These results imply an interactive threat-detection system involving several neural regions. Crucially, activity in the amygdala increased significantly when participants correctly detected the target expression, compared with trials in which the identical target was missed, suggesting that the amygdala has a limited capacity for extracting affective facial expressions.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
18540880
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"