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Towards a fronto-temporal neural network for the decoding of angry vocal expressions

Towards a fronto-temporal neural network for the decoding of angry vocal expressions

Neuroimage 62(3): 1658-1666

Vocal expressions commonly elicit activity in superior temporal and inferior frontal cortices, indicating a distributed network to decode vocally expressed emotions. We examined the involvement of this fronto-temporal network for the decoding of angry voices during attention towards (explicit attention) or away from emotional cues in voices (implicit attention) based on a reanalysis of previous data (Frühholz, S., Ceravolo, L., Grandjean, D., 2012. Cerebral Cortex 22, 1107-1117). The general network revealed high interconnectivity of bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) to different bilateral voice-sensitive regions in mid and posterior superior temporal gyri. Right superior temporal gyrus (STG) regions showed connectivity to the left primary auditory cortex and secondary auditory cortex (AC) as well as to high-level auditory regions. This general network revealed differences in connectivity depending on the attentional focus. Explicit attention to angry voices revealed a specific right-left STG network connecting higher-level AC. During attention to a nonemotional vocal feature we also found a left-right STG network implicitly elicited by angry voices that also included low-level left AC. Furthermore, only during this implicit processing there was widespread interconnectivity between bilateral IFG and bilateral STG. This indicates that while implicit attention to angry voices recruits extended bilateral STG and IFG networks for the sensory and evaluative decoding of voices, explicit attention to angry voices solely involves a network of bilateral STG regions probably for the integrative recognition of emotional cues from voices.

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Accession: 036488466

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PMID: 22721630

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.06.015

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