The brain basis of audiovisual affective processing: Evidence from a coordinate-based activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis

Cortex. 2019 Nov:120:66-77. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.05.016. Epub 2019 Jun 8.


Our brains can integrate emotional signals from visual and auditory modalities, which is important for our daily social interactions and survival. Although behavioral effects of facilitation or interference of visual and auditory affective signals have been widely demonstrated, the underlying neural substrates remain unclear. We identified brain activation related to audiovisual affective processing at a whole-brain level in healthy adults with a quantitative coordinate-based meta-analysis, combining data from 306 participants across 18 neuroimaging studies. The meta-analysis identified a core audiovisual affective processing network including the right posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG/STS), left anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG/STS), right amygdala, and thalamus. These results support the involvement of STG/STS but not sensory-specific brain regions in audiovisual affective processing, consistent with the supramodal hypothesis. To further characterize these identified regions with regard to their connectivity and function, we conducted meta-analytic connectivity modeling and automated meta-analyses. Across both analyses, results showed co-activation profiles of the identified brain regions and their associations with emotion and audiovisual processes. These findings revealed the brain basis of audiovisual affective processing and can help guide future research in further examining its neural correlates.

Keywords: Affect; Amygdala; Audiovisual; Emotion; STG/STS; Thalamus.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Social Perception*
  • Visual Perception*