Publications by authors named "Anton Rey"

3 Publications

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The Effects of Dynamic and Static Emotional Facial Expressions of Humans and Their Avatars on the EEG: An ERP and ERD/ERS Study.

Front Neurosci 2021 22;15:651044. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Swiss Epilepsy Center, Zurich, Switzerland.

This study aimed to examine whether the cortical processing of emotional faces is modulated by the computerization of face stimuli ("avatars") in a group of 25 healthy participants. Subjects were passively viewing 128 static and dynamic facial expressions of female and male actors and their respective avatars in neutral or fearful conditions. Event-related potentials (ERPs), as well as alpha and theta event-related synchronization and desynchronization (ERD/ERS), were derived from the EEG that was recorded during the task. All ERP features, except for the very early N100, differed in their response to avatar and actor faces. Whereas the N170 showed differences only for the neutral avatar condition, later potentials (N300 and LPP) differed in both emotional conditions (neutral and fear) and the presented agents (actor and avatar). In addition, we found that the avatar faces elicited significantly stronger reactions than the actor face for theta and alpha oscillations. Especially theta EEG frequencies responded specifically to visual emotional stimulation and were revealed to be sensitive to the emotional content of the face, whereas alpha frequency was modulated by all the stimulus types. We can conclude that the computerized avatar faces affect both, ERP components and ERD/ERS and evoke neural effects that are different from the ones elicited by real faces. This was true, although the avatars were replicas of the human faces and contained similar characteristics in their expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.651044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8100234PMC
April 2021

Temporal lobe epilepsy alters neural responses to human and avatar facial expressions in the face perception network.

Brain Behav 2021 May 5:e02140. Epub 2021 May 5.

Swiss Epilepsy Center, Zurich, Switzerland.

Background And Objective: Although avatars are now widely used in advertisement, entertainment, and business today, no study has investigated whether brain lesions in neurological patients interfere with brain activation in response to dynamic avatar facial expressions. The aim of our event-related fMRI study was to compare brain activation differences in people with epilepsy and controls during the processing of fearful and neutral dynamic expressions displayed by human or avatar faces.

Methods: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we examined brain responses to dynamic facial expressions of trained actors and their avatar look-alikes in 16 people with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and 26 controls. The actors' fearful and neutral expressions were recorded on video and conveyed onto their avatar look-alikes by face tracking.

Results: Our fMRI results show that people with TLE exhibited reduced response differences between fearful and neutral expressions displayed by humans in the right amygdala and the left superior temporal sulcus (STS). Further, TLE was associated with reduced response differences between human and avatar fearful expressions in the dorsal pathway of the face perception network (STS and inferior frontal gyrus) as well as in the medial prefrontal cortex.

Conclusions: Taken together, these findings suggest that brain responses to dynamic facial expressions are altered in people with TLE compared to neurologically healthy individuals-regardless of whether the face is human or computer-generated. In TLE, areas sensitive to dynamic facial features and associated with processes relating to the self and others are particularly affected when processing dynamic human and avatar expressions. Our findings highlight that the impact of TLE on facial emotion processing must be extended to artificial faces and should be considered when applying dynamic avatars in the context of neurological conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/brb3.2140DOI Listing
May 2021

Dynamic human and avatar facial expressions elicit differential brain responses.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2020 05;15(3):303-317

Swiss Epilepsy Center, CH-8008 Zurich, Switzerland.

Computer-generated characters, so-called avatars, are widely used in advertising, entertainment, human-computer interaction or as research tools to investigate human emotion perception. However, brain responses to avatar and human faces have scarcely been studied to date. As such, it remains unclear whether dynamic facial expressions of avatars evoke different brain responses than dynamic facial expressions of humans. In this study, we designed anthropomorphic avatars animated with motion tracking and tested whether the human brain processes fearful and neutral expressions in human and avatar faces differently. Our fMRI results showed that fearful human expressions evoked stronger responses than fearful avatar expressions in the ventral anterior and posterior cingulate gyrus, the anterior insula, the anterior and posterior superior temporal sulcus, and the inferior frontal gyrus. Fearful expressions in human and avatar faces evoked similar responses in the amygdala. We did not find different responses to neutral human and avatar expressions. Our results highlight differences, but also similarities in the processing of fearful human expressions and fearful avatar expressions even if they are designed to be highly anthropomorphic and animated with motion tracking. This has important consequences for research using dynamic avatars, especially when processes are investigated that involve cortical and subcortical regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7235958PMC
May 2020