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How music alters a kiss: superior temporal gyrus controls fusiform-amygdalar effective connectivity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Corinna Pehrs
  • Lorenz Deserno
  • Jan-Hendrik Bakels
  • Lorna H. Schlochtermeier
  • Hermann Kappelhoff
  • Arthur M. Jacobs
  • Thomas Hans Fritz
  • Stefan Koelsch
  • Lars Kuchinke
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number11
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1770-1778
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/12/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


While watching movies, the brain integrates the visual information and the musical soundtrack into a coherent percept. Multisensory integration can lead to emotion elicitation on which soundtrack valences may have a modulatory impact. Here, dynamic kissing scenes from romantic comedies were presented to 22 participants (13 females) during functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning. The kissing scenes were either accompanied by happy music, sad music or no music. Evidence from cross-modal studies motivated a predefined three-region network for multisensory integration of emotion, consisting of fusiform gyrus (FG), amygdala (AMY) and anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG). The interactions in this network were investigated using dynamic causal models of effective connectivity. This revealed bilinear modulations by happy and sad music with suppression effects on the connectivity from FG and AMY to aSTG. Non-linear dynamic causal modeling showed a suppressive gating effect of aSTG on fusiform-amygdalar connectivity. In conclusion, fusiform to amygdala coupling strength is modulated via feedback through aSTG as region for multisensory integration of emotional material. This mechanism was emotion-specific and more pronounced for sad music. Therefore, soundtrack valences may modulate emotion elicitation in movies by differentially changing preprocessed visual information to the amygdala.

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© The Author (2013). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.