abstract Alessio Avenanti

Alessio Avenanti (University of Bologna and IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Roma, Italy)

Causal contribution of STS to emotion perception

The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is a central hub in the complex brain network for person perception and emotion recognition, yet causal evidence of its functional relevance for visual perception of emotional expressions is still meager. Here, we applied novel neurostimulation protocols to test two neural mechanisms of STS. In the first series of studies, we used state-dependent transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to provide evidence supporting a critical role for STS in the early integration of emotion information from observed face and body expressions. In the second series of studies, we used cortico-cortical paired associative TMS to show that strengthening connectivity from STS to V1 increases visual sensitivity to emotional expressions. These findings highlight the critical role of STS in early integration of emotional visual cues and its functional relevance, through feedback connectivity, for visual perception of emotional expressions.