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The distinction between different facial emotions is crucial for interpersonal communication. Shared neural circuits for facial emotion production and perception are considered to facilitate the ability to understand other's emotional state via mirror neuron mechanisms. Little is known about how diverse emotions differentially activate the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) during facial expression processing. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task, 178 healthy subjects perceived and produced emotional (happy vs angry) and non-emotional (lip-protrusion vs no movement) facial expressions. Dynamic facial expressions were displayed as 5 sec video clips. We identified three overlapping networks of neural activation for happy, angry, and non-emotional (lip-protrusion) facial expression production and perception. Importantly, this overlap was largely due to the common motor component of facial expressions. However, for happy facial expressions, we found specific MNS activation in the right temporal pole. For angry facial expressions we found such activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus, pars orbitalis, and the cerebellum (lobules VII and VIII). We extend knowledge on mirror neuron mechanisms as our results provide evidence for emotion specific shared neural activation for the production and perception of facial emotions. This emotion specific representation of other's emotion in one's own neural production system might facilitate understanding of other's mental or emotional states.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
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Ability to identify an individual and interpret their feelings and emotions based on their facial expressions.
An early embryonic developmental process of CHORDATES that is characterized by morphogenic movements of ECTODERM resulting in the formation of the NEURAL PLATE; the NEURAL CREST; and the NEURAL TUBE. Improper closure of the NEURAL GROOVE results in congenital NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS.
Severe or complete loss of facial muscle motor function. This condition may result from central or peripheral lesions. Damage to CNS motor pathways from the cerebral cortex to the facial nuclei in the pons leads to facial weakness that generally spares the forehead muscles. FACIAL NERVE DISEASES generally results in generalized hemifacial weakness. NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION DISEASES and MUSCULAR DISEASES may also cause facial paralysis or paresis.
Pain in the facial region including orofacial pain and craniofacial pain. Associated conditions include local inflammatory and neoplastic disorders and neuralgic syndromes involving the trigeminal, facial, and glossopharyngeal nerves. Conditions which feature recurrent or persistent facial pain as the primary manifestation of disease are referred to as FACIAL PAIN SYNDROMES.
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