The Insular Cortex: Relationship to Skin Conductance Responses to Facial Expression of Emotion in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
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The insula plays an important role both in emotion processing and in the generation of epileptic seizures. In the current study we examined thickness of insular cortices and bilateral skin conductance responses (SCR) in healthy subjects in addition to a small number of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. SCR measures arousal and is used to assess non-conscious responses to emotional stimuli. We used two emotion tasks, one explicitly about emotion and the other implicit. The explicit task required judgments about emotions being expressed in photographs of faces, while the implicit one required judgments about the age of the people in the photographs. Patients and healthy differed in labeling neutral faces, but not other emotions. They also differed in their SCR to emotions, though the profile depended on which hand the recordings were from. Finally, we found relationships between the thickness of the insula and SCR to each task: in the healthy group the thickness of the left insula was related to SCR to the emotion-labeling task; in the patient group it was between the thickness of the right insula and SCR in the age-labeling task. These patterns were evident only for the right hand recordings, thus underscoring the importance of bilateral recordings.
KeywordsSkin conductance response Insula Emotion Epilepsy
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