The role of superior temporal sulcus in the control of irrelevant emotional face processing: A transcranial direct current stimulation study

Lin Yuan Tseng, Philip Tseng, Wei Kuang Liang, Daisy L. Hung, Ovid J L Tzeng, Neil G. Muggleton, Chi Hung Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Emotional faces are often salient cues of threats or other important contexts, and may therefore have a large effect on cognitive processes of the visual environment. Indeed, many behavioral studies have demonstrated that emotional information can modulate visual attention and eye movements. The aim of the present study was to investigate (1) how irrelevant emotional face distractors affect saccadic behaviors and (2) whether such emotional effects reflect a specific neural mechanism or merely biased selective attention. We combined a visual search paradigm that incorporated manipulation of different types of distractor (fearful faces or scrambled faces) and delivered anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the superior temporal sulcus and the frontal eye field to investigate the functional roles of these areas in processing facial expressions and eye movements. Our behavioral data suggest that irrelevant emotional distractors can modulate saccadic behaviors. The tDCS results showed that while rFEF played a more general role in controlling saccadic behavior, rSTS is mainly involved in facial expression processing. Furthermore, rSTS played a critical role in processing facial expressions even when such expressions were not relevant to the task goal, implying that facial expressions and processing may be automatic irrespective of the task goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume64
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Facial expressions
  • Frontal eye field
  • Saccade curvatures
  • Saccade latency
  • Superior temporal sulcus
  • TDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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