Single Trial Analysis of Neurophysiological Correlates of the Recognition of Complex Objects and Facial Expressions of Emotion
- Cite this article as:
- Liu, L., Ioannides, A.A. & Streit, M. Brain Topogr (1999) 11: 291. doi:10.1023/A:1022258620435
In an earlier experiment, we have used the BTi twin MAGNES system (2 × 37 channels) to record the evoked magnetic field from five healthy right-handed male volunteers using two tasks: visual recognition of complex objects including faces and facial expressions of emotion. We have repeated the experiment with one of the five subjects using the BTi whole head system (148 channels). Magnetic field tomography (MFT) was used to extract 3D estimates of brain activity millisecond by millisecond from the recorded magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals. Results from the MFT analysis of the average signals of the five subjects have been reported elsewhere (Streit et al. 1997; Streit et al. 1999). In this paper, we present results of the detailed single trial analysis for the subject recorded from the whole head system. We found activations in areas extending from the occipital pole to anterior areas. Regions of interest (ROIs) were defined entirely on functional criteria and confirmed independently by the location of the maximum activity on the MRI. Activation curves for each ROI were computed and objective statistical measures (Kolmogorov-Smirnov test) were then used to identify time segments for which the ROI activity showed significant differences both within the same and across different object/emotion categories. Emphasis is placed on the quantification of the activity from two ROIs, fusiform gyrus (FG) and amygdala (AM), which have been best studied in the context of processing of faces and facial expressions of emotion, respectively. We found no face-specific area as such, but instead areas like the FG was activated by all complex objects at roughly similar latencies and varying strengths. The amygdala activity was significantly different between 150 and 180 ms for fearful expression, and even earlier for happy expression.