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In Frontiers in neuroscience ; h5-index 72.0

Emotions can be perceived from both facial and bodily expressions. Our previous study has found the successful decoding of facial expressions based on the functional connectivity (FC) patterns. However, the role of the FC patterns in the recognition of bodily expressions remained unclear, and no neuroimaging studies have adequately addressed the question of whether emotions perceiving from facial and bodily expressions are processed rely upon common or different neural networks. To address this, the present study collected functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from a block design experiment with facial and bodily expression videos as stimuli (three emotions: anger, fear, and joy), and conducted multivariate pattern classification analysis based on the estimated FC patterns. We found that in addition to the facial expressions, bodily expressions could also be successfully decoded based on the large-scale FC patterns. The emotion classification accuracies for the facial expressions were higher than that for the bodily expressions. Further contributive FC analysis showed that emotion-discriminative networks were widely distributed in both hemispheres, containing regions that ranged from primary visual areas to higher-level cognitive areas. Moreover, for a particular emotion, discriminative FCs for facial and bodily expressions were distinct. Together, our findings highlight the key role of the FC patterns in the emotion processing, indicating how large-scale FC patterns reconfigure in processing of facial and bodily expressions, and suggest the distributed neural representation for the emotion recognition. Furthermore, our results also suggest that the human brain employs separate network representations for facial and bodily expressions of the same emotions. This study provides new evidence for the network representations for emotion perception and may further our understanding of the potential mechanisms underlying body language emotion recognition.

Liang Yin, Liu Baolin, Ji Junzhong, Li Xianglin


bodily expressions, facial expressions, functional connectivity, functional magnetic resonance imaging, multivariate pattern classification