Brain regions involved in the recognition of happiness and sadness in music

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Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to test for the lateralization of the brain regions specifically involved in the recognition of negatively and positively valenced musical emotions. The manipulation of two major musical features (mode and tempo), resulting in the variation of emotional perception along the happiness–sadness axis, was shown to principally involve subcortical and neocortical brain structures, which are known to intervene in emotion processing in other modalities. In particular, the minor mode (sad excerpts) involved the left orbito and mid-dorsolateral frontal cortex, which does not confirm the valence lateralization model. We also show that the recognition of emotions elicited by variations of the two perceptual determinants rely on both common (BA 9) and distinct neural mechanisms.

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