Cerebellum and processing of negative facial emotions: Cerebellar transcranial DC stimulation specifically enhances the emotional recognition of facial anger and sadness

Roberta Ferrucci, Gaia Giannicola, Manuela Rosa, Manuela Fumagalli, Paulo Sergio Boggio, Mark Hallett, Stefano Zago, Alberto Priori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Some evidence suggests that the cerebellum participates in the complex network processing emotional facial expression. To evaluate the role of the cerebellum in recognising facial expressions we delivered transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. A facial emotion recognition task was administered to 21 healthy subjects before and after cerebellar tDCS; we also tested subjects with a visual attention task and a visual analogue scale (VAS) for mood. Anodal and cathodal cerebellar tDCS both significantly enhanced sensory processing in response to negative facial expressions (anodal tDCS, p=.0021; cathodal tDCS, p=.018), but left positive emotion and neutral facial expressions unchanged (p>.05). tDCS over the right prefrontal cortex left facial expressions of both negative and positive emotion unchanged. These findings suggest that the cerebellum is specifically involved in processing facial expressions of negative emotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-799
Number of pages14
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Cerebellar dysfunction
  • Cerebellum
  • Emotion
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Facial emotion recognition
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • tDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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