SATO Wataru Laboratory

Characteristics of the involvement of the amygdala in the recognition of emotional expressions: a review of neuropsychological research

(Sato, W. & Murai, T. : Psychologia)

In this article, we review existing empirical research into the effects of damage to the amygdala on the recognition of facial, bodily and vocal emotional expressions.
The evidence indicates that amygdala damage impairs the recognition of emotional expressions.

Based on these neuropsychological data, together with anatomical, physiological, neuroimaging and psychological data, we propose that the characteristics of the involvement of the amygdala in the recognition of emotional expressions in normal brain are as follows:
(1) The amygdala is involved in the recognition of emotional expressions irrespective of the stimulus type or the sensory modality.
(2) The amygdala is necessary not only for the acquisition of emotional knowledge during development but also for online recognition processes in adults.
(3) The amygdala is involved particularly in the recognition of negative emotional expressions, although the specific emotional categories in which the amygdala is involved differ among stimuli and subjects, i.e., the amygdala is not necessarily involved only in recognizing fear.
(4) The amygdala inhibits the tendency to misrecognize negative emotional expressions as being positive.

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