Nonverbal emotional vocalizations are one of the most elementary ways of communicating in humans. We examined the impact of sex differences on neural responses to laughter and crying produced by the same and opposite sex. Thirty subjects (15 women) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a sex identification task for laughter, crying, and neutral voices. The parahippocampal gyrus was involved in both men and women while hearing laughter of the same sex, suggesting greater positive emotional processing and greater attention toward emotional context in response to laughter of the same sex than of the opposite sex. The posterior cingulate was involved in both men and women while hearing crying of the opposite sex, suggesting that empathic processing may occur more in response to crying of the opposite sex than of the same sex. Furthermore, brain responses to crying of the opposite sex seem to reflect upon men's efforts to perform emotional regulation and women's empathic concerns.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (No. 2011-0015859 ).
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