Research Reports - A voxel-based lesion study on facial emotion recognition after penetrating brain injury

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2013 Aug;8(6):632-9

Dal Monte O, Krueger F, Solomon JM, Schintu S, Knutson KM, Strenziok M, Pardini M, Leopold A, Raymont V, Grafman J

The ability to read emotions in the face of another person is an important social
skill that can be impaired in subjects with traumatic brain injury (TBI). To
determine the brain regions that modulate facial emotion recognition, we
conducted a whole-brain analysis using a well-validated facial emotion
recognition task and voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM) in a large sample
of patients with focal penetrating TBIs (pTBIs). Our results revealed that
individuals with pTBI performed significantly worse than normal controls in
recognizing unpleasant emotions. VLSM mapping results showed that impairment in
facial emotion recognition was due to damage in a bilateral fronto-temporo-limbic
network, including medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), anterior cingulate cortex,
left insula and temporal areas. Beside those common areas, damage to the
bilateral and anterior regions of PFC led to impairment in recognizing unpleasant
emotions, whereas bilateral posterior PFC and left temporal areas led to
impairment in recognizing pleasant emotions. Our findings add empirical evidence
that the ability to read pleasant and unpleasant emotions in other people's faces
is a complex process involving not only a common network that includes bilateral
fronto-temporo-limbic lobes, but also other regions depending on emotional
valence.

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