Right Temporoparietal Junction Plays a Role in the Modulation of Emotional Mimicry by Group Membership

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 15 (2021)
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Abstract

Our prior research demonstrated that the right temporoparietal junction exerted a modulatory role in ingroup bias in emotional mimicry. In this study, two experiments were conducted to further explore whether the rTPJ is a neural region for emotional mimicry or for the modulation of emotional mimicry by group membership in a sham-controlled, double-blinded, between-subject design. Both experiments employed non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation to temporarily change the cortical excitability over the rTPJ and facial electromyography to measure facial muscle activations as an index of emotional mimicry. After the anodal or sham stimulation, participants in Experiment 1 passively viewed a series of happy clips, while participants in Experiment 2 viewed happy clips performed by ethnic ingroup and outgroup models. fEMG analyses revealed that participants in Experiment 1 showed the same degree of happy mimicry for both tDCS conditions and participants in Experiment 2 showed an ingroup bias in happy mimicry in the sham condition, which disappeared in the anodal condition. Taken together, the present study demonstrated that rTPJ plays a role in the modulation of emotional mimicry by group membership.

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