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Facial emotion recognition in agenesis of the corpus callosum

Bridgman, Matthew W. and Brown, Warren S. and Spezio, Michael L. and Leonard, Matthew K. and Adolphs, Ralph and Paul, Lynn K. (2014) Facial emotion recognition in agenesis of the corpus callosum. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 6 . Art. No. 32. ISSN 1866-1947. PMCID PMC4335392. doi:10.1186/1866-1955-6-32.

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Background: Impaired social functioning is a common symptom of individuals with developmental disruptions in callosal connectivity. Among these developmental conditions, agenesis of the corpus callosum provides the most extreme and clearly identifiable example of callosal disconnection. To date, deficits in nonliteral language comprehension, humor, theory of mind, and social reasoning have been documented in agenesis of the corpus callosum. Here, we examined a basic social ability as yet not investigated in this population: recognition of facial emotion and its association with social gaze. Methods: Nine individuals with callosal agenesis and nine matched controls completed four tasks involving emotional faces: emotion recognition from upright and inverted faces, gender recognition, and passive viewing. Eye-tracking data were collected concurrently on all four tasks and analyzed according to designated facial regions of interest. Results: Individuals with callosal agenesis exhibited impairments in recognizing emotions from upright faces, in particular lower accuracy for fear and anger, and these impairments were directly associated with diminished attention to the eye region. The callosal agenesis group exhibited greater consistency in emotion recognition across conditions (upright vs. inverted), with poorest performance for fear identification in both conditions. The callosal agenesis group also had atypical facial scanning (lower fractional dwell time in the eye region) during gender naming and passive viewing of faces, but they did not differ from controls on gender naming performance. The pattern of results did not differ when taking into account full-scale intelligence quotient or presence of autism spectrum symptoms. Conclusions: Agenesis of the corpus callosum results in a pattern of atypical facial scanning characterized by diminished attention to the eyes. This pattern suggests that reduced callosal connectivity may contribute to the development and maintenance of emotion processing deficits involving reduced attention to others' eyes.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Brown, Warren S.0000-0001-6142-5588
Adolphs, Ralph0000-0002-8053-9692
Paul, Lynn K.0000-0002-3128-8313
Additional Information:© 2014 Bridgman et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated. Received: 24 March 2014. Accepted: 21 July 2014. Published: 14 August 2014. This research was supported in part by the Pfeiffer Foundation, the Simons Foundation, and the Travis Research Institute. The authors would like to thank Candace Markley for her contributions in data management. Authors’ contributions: LP, MS, and RA designed the study. MS, MB, ML, and LP acquired the data. All authors contributed to the data analysis and in writing the paper. Portions of this paper served as the doctoral dissertation of MB, at the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Travis Research InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Pfeiffer FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Corpus callosum agenesis; Corpus callosum; Facial emotion
PubMed Central ID:PMC4335392
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150113-074222493
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Official Citation:Bridgman et al.: Facial emotion recognition in agenesis of the corpus callosum. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2014 6:32.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:53602
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:13 Jan 2015 16:00
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 20:04

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