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The temporal dynamics of insula activity to disgust and happy facial expressions: a magnetoencephalography study


Chen, Y-H; Dammers, J; Boers, F; Leiberg, S; Edgar, J C; Roberts, T P L; Mathiak, K (2009). The temporal dynamics of insula activity to disgust and happy facial expressions: a magnetoencephalography study. NeuroImage, 47(4):1921-1928.

Abstract

The insula has consistently been shown to be involved in processing stimuli that evoke the emotional response of disgust. Recently, its specificity for processing disgust has been challenged and a broader role of the insula in the representation of interoceptive information has been suggested. Studying the temporal dynamics of insula activation during emotional processing can contribute valuable information pertaining to this issue. Few studies have addressed the insula's putative specificity to disgust and the dynamics of its underlying neural processes. In the present study, neuromagnetic responses of 13 subjects performing an emotional continuous performance task (CPT) to faces with disgust, happy, and neutral expressions were obtained. Magnetic field tomography extracted the time course of bilateral insula activities. Right insula activation was stronger to disgust and happy than neutral facial expressions at about 200 ms after stimulus onset. Later only at about 350 ms after stimulus onset the right insula was activated stronger to disgust than happy facial expressions. Thus, the early right insula response reflects activation to emotionally arousing stimuli regardless of valence, and the later right insula response differentiates disgust from happy facial expressions. Behavioral performance but not the insula activity differed between 100 ms and 1000 ms presentation conditions. Present findings support the notion that the insula is involved in the representation of interoceptive information.

The insula has consistently been shown to be involved in processing stimuli that evoke the emotional response of disgust. Recently, its specificity for processing disgust has been challenged and a broader role of the insula in the representation of interoceptive information has been suggested. Studying the temporal dynamics of insula activation during emotional processing can contribute valuable information pertaining to this issue. Few studies have addressed the insula's putative specificity to disgust and the dynamics of its underlying neural processes. In the present study, neuromagnetic responses of 13 subjects performing an emotional continuous performance task (CPT) to faces with disgust, happy, and neutral expressions were obtained. Magnetic field tomography extracted the time course of bilateral insula activities. Right insula activation was stronger to disgust and happy than neutral facial expressions at about 200 ms after stimulus onset. Later only at about 350 ms after stimulus onset the right insula was activated stronger to disgust than happy facial expressions. Thus, the early right insula response reflects activation to emotionally arousing stimuli regardless of valence, and the later right insula response differentiates disgust from happy facial expressions. Behavioral performance but not the insula activity differed between 100 ms and 1000 ms presentation conditions. Present findings support the notion that the insula is involved in the representation of interoceptive information.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:11 Jan 2010 13:31
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:38
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.04.093
PubMed ID:19442746
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-25667

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