A rapid subcortical amygdala route for faces irrespective of spatial frequency and emotion

McFadyen, Jessica, Mermillod, Martial, Mattingley, Jason B., Halasz, Veronika and Garrido, Marta I. (2017) A rapid subcortical amygdala route for faces irrespective of spatial frequency and emotion. Journal of Neuroscience, 37 14: 3864-3874. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3525-16.2017

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Author McFadyen, Jessica
Mermillod, Martial
Mattingley, Jason B.
Halasz, Veronika
Garrido, Marta I.
Title A rapid subcortical amygdala route for faces irrespective of spatial frequency and emotion
Journal name Journal of Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0270-6474
Publication date 2017-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3525-16.2017
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 37
Issue 14
Start page 3864
End page 3874
Total pages 11
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher Society for Neuroscience
Language eng
Formatted abstract
There is significant controversy over the existence and function of a direct subcortical visual pathway to the amygdala. It is thought that this pathway rapidly transmits low spatial frequency information to the amygdala independently of the cortex, and yet the directionality of this function has never been determined. We used magnetoencephalography to measure neural activity while human participants discriminated the gender of neutral and fearful faces filtered for low or high spatial frequencies. We applied dynamic causal modeling to demonstrate that the most likely underlying neural network consisted of a pulvinar-amygdala connection that was uninfluenced by spatial frequency or emotion, and a cortical-amygdala connection that conveyed high spatial frequencies. Crucially, data-driven neural simulations revealed a clear temporal advantage of the subcortical connection over the cortical connection in influencing amygdala activity. Thus, our findings support the existence of a rapid subcortical pathway that is nonselective in terms of the spatial frequency or emotional content of faces. We propose that that the “coarseness” of the subcortical route may be better reframed as “generalized".
Keyword Amygdala
Dynamic causal modeling
Spatial frequency
Non-Conscious Perception
Facial Expressions
Superior Colliculus
Pulvinar Neurons
Macaque Monkeys
Fearful Faces
Coarse Scales
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

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