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David Pitcher, Lucia Garrido, Vincent Walsh, Brad Duchaine; TMS disrupts the perception and embodiment of facial expressions. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):700. doi: 10.1167/8.6.700.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Theories of embodied cognition propose that facial expression recognition depends upon processing in modality-specific visual areas and also upon a simulation of the somatovisceral and motor responses associated with the perceived emotion. To test this proposal, we targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) at the right occipital face area (rOFA) and right somatosensory cortex while participants discriminated facial expressions. TMS impaired discrimination of facial expressions at both sites but had no effect on a matched facial identity task. In a second experiment, double pulse TMS separated by 40ms was delivered at different times to rOFA and right somatosensory cortex during the expression discrimination task. 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 provide strong support for embodied accounts of expression recognition and hierarchical models of face processing. The results also demonstrate that non-visual areas contribute to expression processing very soon after stimulus presentation.
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