Hemodynamic signals of mixed messages during a social exchange.
This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize hemodynamic activation patterns recruited when the participants viewed mixed social communicative messages during a common interpersonal exchange. Mixed messages were defined as conflicting sequences of biological motion and facial affect signals that are unexpected within a particular social context (e.g. observing the reception of a gift). Across four social vignettes, valenced facial expressions were crossed with rejecting and accepting gestures in a virtual avatar responding to presentation of a gift from the participant. The results indicate that conflicting facial affect and gesture activated superior temporal sulcus, a region implicated in expectancy violations, as well as inferior frontal gyrus and putamen. Scenarios conveying rejection differentially activated the insula and putamen, regions implicated in embodied cognition, and motivated learning, as well as frontoparietal cortex. Characterizing how meaning is inferred from integration of conflicting nonverbal communicative cues is essential to understand nuances and complexities of human exchange.
Zucker, NL; Green, S; Morris, JP; Kragel, P; Pelphrey, KA; Bulik, CM; LaBar, KS
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