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Dynamic Interactions between Emotion Perception and Action Preparation for Reacting to Social Threat: A Combined cTBS-fMRI Study

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Abstract

Expressions of emotion are powerful triggers for situation-appropriate responses by the observer. Of particular interest regarding the preparation of such adaptive actions are parietal and premotor cortices, given their potential for interaction with the amygdala (AMG), which is known to play a crucial role in the processing of affective information and in motor response. We set out to disentangle the respective roles of the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) and ventral premotor cortex (PMv) in humans in the processing of emotional body expressions by assessing remote effects of continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) in the action network and in AMG. Participants were presented with blocks of short videos showing either angry or neutral whole-body actions. The experiment consisted of three fMRI sessions: two sessions were preceded by stimulation of either right IPL (rIPL) or right PMv (rPMv); and a third session assessed baseline activity. Interestingly, whereas at baseline the left AMG did not differentiate between neutral and angry body postures, a significant difference between these conditions emerged after stimulation of either rIPL or rPMv, with much larger responses to angry than to neutral stimuli. In addition, the effects of cTBS stimulation and emotion were also observed in two other action-relevant areas, the supplementary motor area and the superior parietal cortex. Together, these results show how areas involved in action and emotion perception and in action preparation interact dynamically.

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, amygdala, VENTRAL PREMOTOR CORTEX, parietal cortex, premotor cortex, PREFRONTAL CORTEX, brain stimulation, emotion, INFERIOR PARIETAL LOBULE, FEARFUL BODY EXPRESSIONS, DEPENDENT TMS REVEALS, DORSAL VISUAL STREAM, emotion body processing, MOTOR CORTEX, THETA-BURST STIMULATION, BRAIN, AMYGDALA
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0408-17.2018
Number of pages15
JournaleNeuro
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2018