Emotional faces and the default mode network

Sreenivas, S. and Boehm, S. and Linden, D.E.J. (2012) Emotional faces and the default mode network. Neuroscience Letters, 506 ((2)). pp. 229-234. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.11.012

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The default-mode network (DMN) of the human brain has become a central topic of cognitive neuroscience research. Although alterations in its resting state activity and in its recruitment during tasks have been reported for several mental and neurodegenerative disorders, its role in emotion processing has received relatively little attention. We investigated brain responses to different categories of emotional faces with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and found deactivation in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), posterior cingulate gyrus (PC) and cuneus. This deactivation was modulated by emotional category and was less prominent for happy than for sad faces. These deactivated areas along the midline conformed to areas of the DMN. We also observed emotion-dependent deactivation of the left middle frontal gyrus, which is not a classical component of the DMN. Conversely, several areas in a fronto-parietal network commonly linked with attention were differentially activated by emotion categories. Functional connectivity patterns, as obtained by correlation of activation levels, also varied between emotions. VMPFC, PC or cuneus served as hubs between the DMN-type areas and the fronto-parietal network. These data support recent suggestions that the DMN is not a unitary system but differentiates according to task and even type of stimulus. The emotion-specific differential pattern of DMN deactivation may be explored further in patients with mood disorder, where the quest for biological markers of emotional biases is still ongoing.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Research Publications
Departments: College of Health and Behavioural Sciences > School of Psychology
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 16:56
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 02:09
ISSN: 0304-3940
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/1498
Identification Number: DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.11.012
Publisher: Elsevier
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