SATO Wataru Laboratory

Rapid amygdala gamma oscillations in response to fearful facial expressions

(Sato, Kochiyama, Uono, Matsuda, Usui, Inoue, & Toichi: Neuropsychologia)

Neuroimaging studies have reported greater activation of the human amygdala in response to emotional facial expressions, especially for fear.
However, little is known about how fast this activation occurs.

We investigated this issue by recording the intracranial field potentials of the amygdala in subjects undergoing pre-neurosurgical assessment (n = 6).
The subjects observed fearful, happy, and neutral facial expressions.

Time-frequency statistical parametric mapping analyses revealed that the amygdala showed greater gamma-band activity in response to fearful compared with neutral facial expressions at 50-150 ms, with a peak at 135 ms.

These results indicate that the human amygdala is able to rapidly process fearful facial expressions.

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