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Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
We currently publish four issues per year, which accounts for some 100 articles annually. We admit work from both the basic and applied research fields, and from all areas of Psychology, all manuscripts being anonymously reviewed prior to publication.

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Psicothema, 2007. Vol. Vol. 19 (nº 1). 23-29




The role of the amygdala in facial emotional expression during a discrimination task

Fernando Carvajal, Sandra Rubio, Pilar Martín, Clara Amarante and Rafael García-Sola*

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and * Epilepsy Surgery Unit (Hospital de la Princesa)

A total of 50 patients with temporal lobe epilepsy with unilateral resection of the hippocampus and the amygdala were studied: 27 with left lobectomy (LTL group) and 23 with right lobectomy (RTL group)Cand 28 healthy control participants (HC group). The task consisted of identifying the dissimilar photograph from a group of photographs of the same face. The difference could correspond to the identity of the model or the facial expression (happiness, anger, sadness and fear). The results showed that when the difference in the photograph resided in the identity of the model, the RTL group made more mistakes than the HC group. When the facial expression was the distinguishing feature, mean response latency was longer in the LTL group than in the HC group. Comparison of the emotions revealed that the greatest differences were obtained with the fear expression, in all three participant groups. The dissociation of neural circuits responsible for processing facial expressions is discussed and, especially, the role of the left amygdala to discriminate between facial expressions.

El papel de la amígdala en una tarea de discriminación de expresiones emocionales. Se evaluaron 50 pacientes con epilepsia del lóbulo temporal con resección unilateral del hipocampo y la amígdala 27 con lobectomía izquierda (grupo LTL) y 23 con lobectomía derecha (grupo RTL) y a 28 participantes controles (grupo HC). La tarea consistió en identificar cuál era la fotografía de la cara diferente entre un conjunto de fotografías de caras iguales. La diferencia podía corresponder a la identidad o a la expresión facial (alegría, ira, tristeza y miedo). Los resultados indicaron que cuando la fotografía difería en la identidad, el grupo RTL cometió más errores que el grupo HC. Cuando la fotografía difería en la expresión, la latencia media de respuesta fue superior en el grupo LTL que en el grupo HC. Al comparar entre emociones, las diferencias principales fueron para la expresión de miedo en los tres grupos de participantes. Se discute la disociación de los circuitos neurales responsables del procesamiento de la cara y, particularmente, el papel de la amígdala izquierda en la discriminación de expresiones faciales.

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