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Self-relevance modulates brain responses to angry body expressions

Abstract : In a social context, the direction of the body of surrounding agents indicates whether one is the potential target of an impending action or simply an observer, and thus influences the way one processes and reacts to their emotional expressions. The present functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment investigated how self-relevance influences anger processing in the brain by independently manipulating target (oriented to self or to other) and emotion (neutral and anger). The perception of body expression of anger elicits activity in a previously identified network that includes the amygdala, the fusiform gyrus, the superior temporal sulcus and the premotor cortex. Activity within this network is independent of body direction and is parametrically modulated by the intensity of the bodily emotional expression. Moreover, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and somatosensory cortices responded preferentially to anger expressions oriented to self. We suggest that these brain areas may participate in the selection of specific behavioural strategies when one is the potential target of someone's anger.
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Julie Grezes, Marie-Sarah Adenis, Lydia Pouga, Jorge Armony. Self-relevance modulates brain responses to angry body expressions. Cortex, Elsevier, 2013, 49 (8), pp.2210-2220. ⟨10.1016/j.cortex.2012.08.025⟩. ⟨inserm-02462281⟩



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