BACKGROUND: Neuroimaging studies suggest that the inferior frontal operculum (IFO) is part of a neuronal network involved in facial expression processing, but the causal role of this region in emotional face discrimination remains elusive.OBJECTIVE: We used cathodal (inhibitory) tDCS to test whether right (r-IFO) and left (l-IFO) IFO play a role in discriminating basic facial emotions in healthy volunteers. Specifically, we tested if the two sites are selectively involved in the processing of facial expressions conveying high or low arousal emotions. Based on the Arousal Hypothesis we expected to find a modulation of high and low arousal emotions by cathodal tDCS of the r-IFO and the l-IFO, respectively.METHODS: First, we validated an Emotional Faces Discrimination Task (EFDT). Then, we targeted the r-IFO and the l-IFO with cathodal tDCS (i.e. the cathode was placed over the right or left IFO, while the anode was placed over the contralateral supraorbital area) during facial emotions discrimination on the EFDT. Non-active (i.e. sham) tDCS was a control condition.RESULTS: Overall, participants manifested the "happy face advantage". Interestingly, tDCS to r-IFO enhanced discrimination of faces expressing anger (a high arousal emotion), whereas, tDCS to l-IFO decreased discrimination of faces expressing sadness (a low arousal emotion).CONCLUSIONS: Our findings revealed a differential causal role of r-IFO and l-IFO in the discrimination of specific high and low arousal emotions. Crucially, these results suggest that cathodal tDCS might reduce the neural noise triggered by facial emotions, improving discrimination of high arousal emotions but disrupting discrimination of low arousal emotions. These findings offer new insights for treating clinical population with deficits in processing facial expressions.

Right and left inferior frontal opercula are involved in discriminating angry and sad facial expressions

Bongiardina, Alessandro;Sarasso, Pietro;Monte, Olga Dal;Ronga, Irene;Neppi-Modona, Marco;Salatino, Adriana;Ricci, Raffaella
2021-01-01

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Neuroimaging studies suggest that the inferior frontal operculum (IFO) is part of a neuronal network involved in facial expression processing, but the causal role of this region in emotional face discrimination remains elusive.OBJECTIVE: We used cathodal (inhibitory) tDCS to test whether right (r-IFO) and left (l-IFO) IFO play a role in discriminating basic facial emotions in healthy volunteers. Specifically, we tested if the two sites are selectively involved in the processing of facial expressions conveying high or low arousal emotions. Based on the Arousal Hypothesis we expected to find a modulation of high and low arousal emotions by cathodal tDCS of the r-IFO and the l-IFO, respectively.METHODS: First, we validated an Emotional Faces Discrimination Task (EFDT). Then, we targeted the r-IFO and the l-IFO with cathodal tDCS (i.e. the cathode was placed over the right or left IFO, while the anode was placed over the contralateral supraorbital area) during facial emotions discrimination on the EFDT. Non-active (i.e. sham) tDCS was a control condition.RESULTS: Overall, participants manifested the "happy face advantage". Interestingly, tDCS to r-IFO enhanced discrimination of faces expressing anger (a high arousal emotion), whereas, tDCS to l-IFO decreased discrimination of faces expressing sadness (a low arousal emotion).CONCLUSIONS: Our findings revealed a differential causal role of r-IFO and l-IFO in the discrimination of specific high and low arousal emotions. Crucially, these results suggest that cathodal tDCS might reduce the neural noise triggered by facial emotions, improving discrimination of high arousal emotions but disrupting discrimination of low arousal emotions. These findings offer new insights for treating clinical population with deficits in processing facial expressions.
2021
14
3
607
615
https://www.brainstimjrnl.com/article/S1935-861X(21)00065-6/fulltext#articleInformation
Angry; Arousal hypothesis; Emotion; Emotion discrimination; Facial expressions; Inferior frontal gyrus; Inferior frontal operculum; Sadness; Transcranial direct current stimulation; Anger; Emotions; Frontal Lobe; Humans; Facial Expression; Sadness
Iarrobino, Igor; Bongiardina, Alessandro; Sarasso, Pietro; Monte, Olga Dal; Ronga, Irene; Neppi-Modona, Marco; Actis-Grosso, Rossana; Salatino, Adriana; Ricci, Raffaella
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1784253
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