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Journal Article

Are you laughing at me? Neural correlates of social intent attribution to auditory and visual laughter

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Scheffler,  K
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Ethofer, T., Stegmaier, S., Koch, K., Reinl, M., Kreifelts, B., Schwarz, L., et al. (2020). Are you laughing at me? Neural correlates of social intent attribution to auditory and visual laughter. Human Brain Mapping, 41(2), 353-361. doi:10.1002/hbm.24806.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-F69D-6
Abstract
Laughter is a multifaceted signal, which can convey social acceptance facilitating social bonding as well as social rejection inflicting social pain. In the current study, we addressed the neural correlates of social intent attribution to auditory or visual laughter within an fMRI study to identify brain areas showing linear increases of activation with social intent ratings. Negative social intent attributions were associated with activation increases within the medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex (mPFC/ACC). Interestingly, negative social intent attributions of auditory laughter were represented more rostral than visual laughter within this area. Our findings corroborate the role of the mPFC/ACC as key node for processing “social pain” with distinct modality‐specific subregions. Other brain areas that showed an increase of activation included bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and right superior/middle temporal gyrus (STG/MTG) for visually presented laughter and bilateral STG for auditory presented laughter with no overlap across modalities. Similarly, positive social intent attributions were linked to hemodynamic responses within the right inferior parietal lobe and right middle frontal gyrus, but there was no overlap of activity for visual and auditory laughter. Our findings demonstrate that social intent attribution to auditory and visual laughter is located in neighboring, but spatially distinct neural structures.