Lectures on Affective Sciences: The synchronized brain in emotional processing


When: Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

267 Health and Biomedical Sciences Building (HBSB)


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Speaker: Prof. Jean Grandjean, University of Geneva

Host: Prof. Ioannis Pavlidis

Emotion recognition in face, body, gesture, and voice is a crucial ability for survival and in social contexts. The brain regions subserving the processing of emotional prosody have been investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) but few studies investigated direct electrical neuronal activity using intracranial recordings in humans. Previous studies have shown the involvement of the amygdala and the orbito-frontal cortex in the processing of emotional prosody. Using local field potentials (LFPs) recordings in humans, we investigated whether anatomical connections between these two brain regions underlie the functional integration of attended and unattended processing of emotional voices. Our results showed that the processing of unattended emotional prosody compared to attended emotional prosody triggered an onset-locked enhanced functional coupling between amygdala and medial orbito-frontal regions mainly in the beta frequencies band. In contrast, our data revealed a significant early increase in phase-locking synchronization between these two regions in the theta and alpha frequency range for attended angry prosody compared to both unattended angry and neutral prosodies. These results highlight the functional selectivity of different frequency bands within the amygdala and medial orbito-frontal network in response to attended or unattended emotional stimuli.


Didier Grandjean is associate professor at the Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences and at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences at the University of Geneva. He achieved his thesis in 2005 under the direction of Klaus Scherer about the dynamic of appraisal processes using electroencephalographic methods. He published more than 70 peer review articles in international scientific journals in psychology and neuroscience about emotional processes related to emotional prosody perception and production, appraisal processes, the emergence of feelings, music and emotion, olfaction and emotion, and emotional facial expression perception and production.

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