The role of the basolateral amygdala in the perception of faces in natural contexts

Ruud Hortensius, David Terburg, Barak Morgan, Dan J Stein, Jack van Honk, Beatrice de Gelder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The amygdala is a complex structure that plays its role in perception and threat-related behaviour by activity of its specific nuclei and their separate networks. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we investigated the role of the basolateral amygdala in face and context processing. Five individuals with focal basolateral amygdala damage and 12 matched controls viewed fearful or neutral faces in a threatening or neutral context. We tested the hypothesis that basolateral amygdala damage modifies the relation between face and threatening context, triggering threat-related activation in the dorsal stream. The findings supported this hypothesis. First, activation was increased in the right precentral gyrus for threatening versus neutral scenes in the basolateral amygdala damage group compared with the control group. Second, activity in the bilateral middle frontal gyrus, and left anterior inferior parietal lobule was enhanced for neutral faces presented in a threatening versus neutral scene in the group with basolateral amygdala damage compared with controls. These findings provide the first evidence for the neural consequences of basolateral amygdala damage during the processing of complex emotional situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20150376
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences
Volume371
Issue number1693
Early online date11 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2016

Keywords

  • amygdala
  • threat
  • emotion
  • face perception
  • basolateral amygdala
  • Urbach-Wiethe disease
  • VISUAL CORTICAL ACTIVATION
  • LIPOID PROTEINOSIS
  • WILLIAMS-SYNDROME
  • HUMAN BRAIN
  • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
  • NEURAL MECHANISMS
  • EMOTIONAL STIMULI
  • PARIETAL CORTEX
  • SURPRISED FACES
  • FEAR

Cite this

Hortensius, Ruud ; Terburg, David ; Morgan, Barak ; Stein, Dan J ; van Honk, Jack ; de Gelder, Beatrice. / The role of the basolateral amygdala in the perception of faces in natural contexts. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences. 2016 ; Vol. 371, No. 1693.
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The role of the basolateral amygdala in the perception of faces in natural contexts. / Hortensius, Ruud; Terburg, David; Morgan, Barak; Stein, Dan J; van Honk, Jack; de Gelder, Beatrice.

In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, Vol. 371, No. 1693, 20150376, 05.05.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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