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Body Part-specific Emotions Influence Action Recognition

Body Part-specific Emotions Influence Action Recognition In Apraxia Patients

Body language is typically expressed through actions. Yet, the link between bodily and facial emotions and action processing is still unclear. In particular, little is known about the possible emotional tuning of the fronto-parietal (FP) regions involved in action perception. Left brain-damaged patients with FP lesions are often affected by apraxia, a neuropsychological syndrome characterized by deficits in performing, imitating, and recognizing skilled actions. Here we sought to determine whether the defective ability of apraxia patients to perform and recognize facial and bodily movements is influenced by the emotion they express. In particular, since apraxic deficits may affect selectively facial vs non-facial body parts, we explored whether any action-emotion link is mapped in body-part specific co-ordinate systems. Moreover, we performed lesion-mapping analysis to explore the neural underpinnings of any emotion-action association. Twenty-one left hemisphere-damaged patients with or without buccofacial (BA) and limb (LA) apraxia and 14 right hemisphere-damaged patients without apraxia were asked to observe: i) videos displaying neutral or emotional (disgust, fear and anger) bodily or facial movements; and ii) a pair of faces or body pictures and choose the one related to the observed action. BA and LA patients were selectively impaired in matching bodily and facial actions, respectively. Crucially, a body part-specific facilitation effect of emotion on action was found. Non-facial bodily emotions selectively improved the ability of LA patients to match bodily actions, and facial emotions selectively improved the ability of BA patients to match facial actions. Lesion mapping revealed the association between FP lesions and the ability to match neutral actions; however, the ability of matching emotional actions was selectively associated with lesions of the frontal region, suggesting its involvement in coupling emotions with actions.

 

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  • Body Part-specific Emotions Influence Action Recognition In Apraxia Patients