Visual processing of facial affect.
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To evaluate the role of the fusiform gyrus in identifying and processing facial emotional expression in humans, MEG data were collected while six healthy subjects judged whether photographs of faces displayed emotion (happiness or disgust) compared to neutral faces and equiluminant scrambled faces. For all six subjects, a magnetic source localizing to right fusiform gyrus was evident approximately 150 ms following presentation of face stimuli, but not following non-face stimuli. MEG source strength for this component was greatest for happy, intermediate for disgust, and lowest for neutral facial expressions, suggesting that activity in fusiform gyrus is sensitive to both face-specific stimuli and to the affective content of the face. These findings are considered in the context of a specialized neural face-dependent information system.