Being the target of another's emotion: a PET study

B Wicker, D I Perrett, S Baron-Cohen, J Decety

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The eye region and gaze behaviour are known to play a major role in conveying information about direction of attention and emotional dispositions. Positron emission tomography scanning was used to explore the cerebral structures involved while subjects were asked to attribute hostile or friendly intentions to video-taped actors who directed attention towards or away from the subjects. As expected, a number of brain regions known to be involved in emotion processing was found activated when subjects had to attribute an emotion regardless of gaze direction. In addition, results indicate that gaze direction has an impact on the brain regions recruited to interpret emotions. The anterior region of the superior temporal gyrus (STG) was selectively activated during analysis of emotions through eye contact. This result provides neurophysiological evidence for privileged processing when an individual becomes personally involved as the object of another's emotions. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • gaze
  • intentionality
  • eye-contact
  • emotion
  • theory of mind
  • superior temporal gyrus
  • ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX
  • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • GAZE DIRECTION
  • HUMAN AMYGDALA
  • HUMAN BRAIN
  • EYE GAZE
  • PERCEPTION
  • MINDS
  • COGNITION

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