The timing of emotional discrimination in human amygdala and ventral visual cortex

Dean Sabatinelli, Peter J. Lang, Margaret M. Bradley, Vincent D. Costa, Andreas Keil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Models of visual emotional perception suggest a reentrant organization of the ventral visual system with the amygdala. Using focused functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans with a sampling rate of 100 ms, here we determine the relative timing of emotional discrimination in amygdala and ventral visual cortical structures during emotional perception. Results show that amygdala and inferotemporal visual cortex differentiate emotional from nonemotional scenes ∼1 s before extrastriate occipital cortex, whereas primary occipital cortex shows consistent activity across all scenes. This pattern of discrimination is consistent with a reentrant organization of emotional perception in visual processing, in which transaction between rostral ventral visual cortex and amygdala originates the identification of emotional relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14864-14868
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 25 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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