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Publication Detail
TMS disrupts the perception and embodiment of facial expressions.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Pitcher D, Garrido L, Walsh V, Duchaine B
  • Publication date:
    2008
  • Pagination:
    8929, 8933
  • Journal:
    Journal of Neuroscience
  • Volume:
    28
  • Issue:
    36
  • Print ISSN:
    0270-6474
Abstract
Theories of embodied cognition propose that recognizing facial expressions requires processing in visual areas followed by simulation of the somatovisceral responses associated with the perceived expression. To test this proposal, we targeted the right occipital face area (rOFA) and the face region of right somatosensory cortex with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) while participants discriminated facial expressions. rTMS selectively impaired discrimination of facial expressions at both sites but had no effect on a matched face identity task. Site specificity within the right somatosensory cortex was then demonstrated by targeting rTMS at the face and finger regions while participants performed the expression discrimination task. rTMS targeted at the face region impaired task performance relative to rTMS targeted at the finger region. To establish the temporal course of visual and somatosensory contributions to expression processing, double pulse TMS was then delivered at different times to rOFA and right somatosensory cortex during expression discrimination. Accuracy dropped when pulses were delivered at 60-100ms at rOFA and at 100-140ms and 130-170ms at right somatosensory cortex. These sequential impairments at rOFA and right somatosensory cortex support embodied accounts of expression recognition as well as hierarchical models of face processing. The results also demonstrate that non-visual cortical areas contribute during early stages of expression processing.
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