RESEARCH NETWORK ON EARLY EXPERIENCE AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

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Electrophysiological Correlates of the Recognition of Objects, Faces, and Facial Expressions: An ERP Study in Monkeys

The goal of this study is to determine the effects of amygdala or orbital frontal cortex lesions in monkeys on face and facial expression processing using the event-related potential (ERP) technique. For this experiment, electrophysiological scalp recordings were taken from normal and lesioned monkeys while they viewed images of different facial expressions to determine whether lesions of the amygdala or orbital frontal cortex result in brain activity in response to facial expressions that differs from that of normal subjects. This non-invasive technique allows comparison of the results obtained from subjects who received their lesions in adulthood with data from subjects with neonatally produced lesions. These ERP measures were compared to behavioral measures of facial expressions discrimination in the same monkeys using the Visual Paired Comparison task. This study will ultimately offer a unique view of the roles of the amygdala and orbital frontal cortex on the development of facial expression processing, leading to insights about developmental disorders such as autism.

Bachevalier J, Loveland KA. (2006) The orbitofrontal-amygdala circuit and self-regulation of social-emotional behavior in autism. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 30(1):97-117.

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SPONSORED BY

The John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation

The James S McDonnell Foundation