According to the Polyvagal theory, the vagus nerve is the key phylogenetic substrate that supports efficient emotion recognition for promoting safety and survival. Previous studies showed that the vagus nerve affects people’s ability to recognize emotions based on eye regions and whole facial images, but not static bodies. The purpose of this study was to verify whether the previously suggested causal link between vagal activity and emotion recognition can be generalized to situations in which emotions must be inferred from images of whole moving bodies. We employed transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS), a noninvasive brain stimulation technique that stimulates the vagus nerve by a mild electrical stimulation to the auricular branch of the vagus, located in the anterior protuberance of the outer ear. In two sessions, participants received active or sham tVNS before and while performing three emotion recognition tasks, aimed at indexing their ability to recognize emotions from static or moving bodily expressions by actors. Active tVNS, compared to sham stimulation, enhanced the recognition of anger but reduced the ability to recognize sadness, regardless of the type of stimulus (static vs. moving). Convergent with the idea of hierarchical involvement of the vagus in establishing safety, as put forward by the Polyvagal theory, we argue that our findings may be explained by vagus-evoked differential adjustment strategies to emotional expressions. Taken together, our findings fit with an evolutionary perspective on the vagus nerve and its involvement in emotion recognition for the benefit of survival.
Steenbergen, L., Maraver, M., Actis-Grosso, R., Ricciardelli, P., & Colzato, L. (2021). Recognizing emotions in bodies: Vagus nerve stimulation enhances recognition of anger while impairing sadness. COGNITIVE, AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE [10.3758/s13415-021-00928-3].
|Citazione:||Steenbergen, L., Maraver, M., Actis-Grosso, R., Ricciardelli, P., & Colzato, L. (2021). Recognizing emotions in bodies: Vagus nerve stimulation enhances recognition of anger while impairing sadness. COGNITIVE, AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE [10.3758/s13415-021-00928-3].|
|Tipo:||Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico|
|Carattere della pubblicazione:||Scientifica|
|Presenza di un coautore afferente ad Istituzioni straniere:||Si|
|Titolo:||Recognizing emotions in bodies: Vagus nerve stimulation enhances recognition of anger while impairing sadness|
|Autori:||Steenbergen, L; Maraver, M; Actis-Grosso, R; Ricciardelli, P; Colzato, L|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2021|
|Rivista:||COGNITIVE, AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13415-021-00928-3|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su rivista|