Feeling without seeing? Engagement of ventral, but not dorsal, amygdala during unaware exposure to emotional faces

Yulia Lerner, Neomi Singer, Tal Gonen, Yonatan Weintraub, Oded Cohen, Nava Rubin, Leslie G. Ungerleider, Talma Hendler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The ability to selectively perceive items in the environment may be modulated by the emotional content of those items. The neural mechanism that underlies the privileged processing of emotionally salient content is poorly understood. Here, using fMRI, we investigated this issue via a binocular rivalry procedure when face stimuli depicting fearful or neutral expressions competed for awareness with a house. Results revealed an interesting dissociation in the amygdala during rivalry condition: Whereas its dorsal component exhibited dominant activation to aware fearful faces, a ventral component was more active during the suppression of fearful faces. Moreover, during rivalry, the dorsal and ventral components of the amygdala were coupled with segregated cortical activations in the brainstem and medial PFC, respectively. In summary, this study points to a differential involvement of two clusters within the amygdala and their connected networks in naturally occurring perceptual biases of emotional content in faces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-542
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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    Lerner, Y., Singer, N., Gonen, T., Weintraub, Y., Cohen, O., Rubin, N., Ungerleider, L. G., & Hendler, T. (2012). Feeling without seeing? Engagement of ventral, but not dorsal, amygdala during unaware exposure to emotional faces. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(3), 531-542. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00165