SATO Wataru Laboratory

Rapid amygdala gamma oscillations in response to eye gaze

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

The eye gaze of other individuals conveys important social information and can trigger multiple psychological activities.
Some of which, such as emotional reactions and attention orienting, occur very rapidly.
Although some neuroscientific evidence has suggested that the amygdala may be involved in such rapid gaze processing, no evidence has been reported concerning the speed at which the amygdala responds to eye gaze.

To investigate this issue, we recorded electrical activity within the amygdala of six subjects using intracranial electrodes.
Subjects observed images of eyes and mosaics pointing in averted and straight directions.

The amygdala showed higher gamma-band oscillations for eye gaze than for mosaics, which peaked at 200 ms regardless of the direction of the gaze.

These results indicate that the human amygdala rapidly processes eye gaze.

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