Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published April 1, 2000 | Published
Journal Article Open

A Role for Somatosensory Cortices in the Visual Recognition of Emotion as Revealed by Three-Dimensional Lesion Mapping


Although lesion and functional imaging studies have broadly implicated the right hemisphere in the recognition of emotion, neither the underlying processes nor the precise anatomical correlates are well understood. We addressed these two issues in a quantitative study of 108 subjects with focal brain lesions, using three different tasks that assessed the recognition and naming of six basic emotions from facial expressions. Lesions were analyzed as a function of task performance by coregistration in a common brain space, and statistical analyses of their joint volumetric density revealed specific regions in which damage was significantly associated with impairment. We show that recognizing emotions from visually presented facial expressions requires right somatosensory-related cortices. The findings are consistent with the idea that we recognize another individual's emotional state by internally generating somatosensory representations that simulate how the other individual would feel when displaying a certain facial expression. Follow-up experiments revealed that conceptual knowledge and knowledge of the name of the emotion draw on neuroanatomically separable systems. Right somatosensory-related cortices thus constitute an additional critical component that functions together with structures such as the amygdala and right visual cortices in retrieving socially relevant information from faces.

Additional Information

© 2000 Society for Neuroscience. Received Dec. 3, 1999; revised Jan. 25, 2000; accepted Jan. 25, 2000. This research was supported by a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke program project grant (A.R.D., Principal Investigator), a first award from the National Institute of Mental Health (R.A.), and research fellowships from the Sloan Foundation and the EJLB Foundation (R.A.). We thank Robert Woolson for statistical advice, Jeremy Nath for help with testing subjects, and Denise Krutzfeldt for help in scheduling their visits.

Attached Files

Published - ns002683.pdf


Files (550.9 kB)
Name Size Download all
550.9 kB Preview Download

Additional details

August 21, 2023
October 19, 2023