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Positive emotions preferentially engage an auditory-motor "mirror" system

Warren, JE; Sauter, DA; Eisner, F; Wiland, J; Dresner, MA; Wise, RJS; ... Scott, SK; + view all (2006) Positive emotions preferentially engage an auditory-motor "mirror" system. J NEUROSCI , 26 (50) 13067 - 13075. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3907-06.2006.

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Abstract

Social interaction relies on the ability to react to communication signals. Although cortical sensory-motor "mirror" networks are thought to play a key role in visual aspects of primate communication, evidence for a similar generic role for auditory-motor interaction in primate nonverbal communication is lacking. We demonstrate that a network of human premotor cortical regions activated during facial movement is also involved in auditory processing of affective nonverbal vocalizations. Within this auditory-motor mirror network, distinct functional subsystems respond preferentially to emotional valence and arousal properties of heard vocalizations. Positive emotional valence enhanced activation in a left posterior inferior frontal region involved in representation of prototypic actions, whereas increasing arousal enhanced activation in presupplementary motor area cortex involved in higher-order motor control. Our findings demonstrate that listening to nonverbal vocalizations can automatically engage preparation of responsive orofacial gestures, an effect that is greatest for positive-valence and high-arousal emotions. The automatic engagement of responsive orofacial gestures by emotional vocalizations suggests that auditory-motor interactions provide a fundamental mechanism for mirroring the emotional states of others during primate social behavior. Motor facilitation by positive vocal emotions suggests a basic neural mechanism for establishing cohesive bonds within primate social groups.

Type:Article
Title:Positive emotions preferentially engage an auditory-motor "mirror" system
DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3907-06.2006
Keywords:emotion, auditory, motor cortex, vocal expression, mirroring, fMRI, VENTRAL PREMOTOR CORTEX, SPEECH-PERCEPTION, ACTION RECOGNITION, NEURONS, AREAS, EMPATHY, HUMANS, MONKEY, REPRESENTATION, EXCITABILITY
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Experimental Psychology
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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