Brain circuits signaling the absence of emotion in body language

Sokolov, A. A., Zeidman, P., Erb, M., Pollick, F. E. , Fallgatter, A. J., Ryvlin, P., Friston, K. J. and Pavlova, M. (2020) Brain circuits signaling the absence of emotion in body language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(34), pp. 20868-20873. (doi: 10.1073/pnas.2007141117) (PMID:32764147) (PMCID:PMC7456113)

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Abstract

Adaptive social behavior and mental well-being depend on not only recognizing emotional expressions but also, inferring the absence of emotion. While the neurobiology underwriting the perception of emotions is well studied, the mechanisms for detecting a lack of emotional content in social signals remain largely unknown. Here, using cutting-edge analyses of effective brain connectivity, we uncover the brain networks differentiating neutral and emotional body language. The data indicate greater activation of the right amygdala and midline cerebellar vermis to nonemotional as opposed to emotional body language. Most important, the effective connectivity between the amygdala and insula predicts people's ability to recognize the absence of emotion. These conclusions extend substantially current concepts of emotion perception by suggesting engagement of limbic effective connectivity in recognizing the lack of emotion in body language reading. Furthermore, the outcome may advance the understanding of overly emotional interpretation of social signals in depression or schizophrenia by providing the missing link between body language reading and limbic pathways. The study thus opens an avenue for multidisciplinary research on social cognition and the underlying cerebrocerebellar networks, ranging from animal models to patients with neuropsychiatric conditions.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Body language, effective connectivity, emotion, social cognition.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pollick, Professor Frank
Authors: Sokolov, A. A., Zeidman, P., Erb, M., Pollick, F. E., Fallgatter, A. J., Ryvlin, P., Friston, K. J., and Pavlova, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
ISSN (Online):1091-6490
Published Online:06 August 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 National Academy of Sciences
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117(34): 20868-20873
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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