ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 221-229.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00221

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The neural mechanisms of the processing of facial expressions based on cues from eye region

LI Shuaixia1; LI Ping1; WANG Wei1; HE Weiqi1; LUO Wenbo1,2   

  1. (1 Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China) (2 Laboratory of Cognition and Mental Health, Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, Chongqing 402160, China)
  • Received:2016-01-12 Online:2017-02-15 Published:2017-02-15
  • Contact: HE Weiqi, E-mail:


Eye region plays a crucial part in the processing of facial expression recognition by conveying the emotional state and orientation information of the individual. Different gaze patterns between normal and abnormal individuals could testify to the unique advantage that eye region has in facial expression processing. In specific, subtle changes in the eye area, such as the eyebrows, pupil and sclera, have an impact on the recognition of expressions and would activate the brain areas such as amygdala, superior temporal sulcus, fusiform gyrus, cingulate gyrus and prefrontal cortex. Future studies should further explore the role of pure eye characteristics in facial expression processing and its significance. Also, more research needs to be done to reveal how such feature and social environment influence the general pattern of eye contact in social communication. In addition, the neural mechanisms behind abnormal people’s facial feature processing need to be studied and measures need to be developed to help improving their face processing ability.

Key words: facial expression, perceptual clues of eye region, mechanisms of cognitive neuroscience