Motomi Toichi

Kyoto University, Kioto, Kyōto, Japan

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Publications (74)208.62 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous electromyographic studies have reported that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibited atypical patterns of facial muscle activity in response to facial expression stimuli. However, whether such activity is expressed in visible facial mimicry remains unknown. To investigate this issue, we videotaped facial responses in high-functioning individuals with ASD and controls to dynamic and static facial expressions of anger and happiness. Visual coding of facial muscle activity and the subjective impression ratings showed reduced congruent responses to dynamic expressions in the ASD group. Additionally, this decline was related to social dysfunction. These results suggest that impairment in overt facial mimicry in response to others' dynamic facial expressions may underlie difficulties in reciprocal social interaction among individuals with ASD.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2014; · 3.06 Impact Factor
  • Wataru Sato, Yasutaka Kubota, Motomi Toichi
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    ABSTRACT: Emotional processing without conscious awareness plays an important role in human social interaction. Several behavioral studies reported that subliminal presentation of photographs of emotional facial expressions induces unconscious emotional processing. However, it was difficult to elicit strong and robust effects using this method. We hypothesized that dynamic presentations of facial expressions would enhance subliminal emotional effects and tested this hypothesis with two experiments. Fearful or happy facial expressions were presented dynamically or statically in either the left or the right visual field for 20 (Experiment 1) and 30 (Experiment 2) ms. Nonsense target ideographs were then presented, and participants reported their preference for them. The results consistently showed that dynamic presentations of emotional facial expressions induced more evident emotional biases toward subsequent targets than did static ones. These results indicate that dynamic presentations of emotional facial expressions induce more evident unconscious emotional processing.
    Frontiers in Psychology 09/2014; 5:994. · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Shota Uono, Wataru Sato, Motomi Toichi
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    ABSTRACT: The cognitive mechanisms underlying social communication via emotional facial expressions are crucial for understanding the social impairments experienced by people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A recent study (Yoshikawa & Sato, 2008) found that typically developing individuals perceived the last image from a dynamic facial expression to be more emotionally exaggerated than a static facial expression; this perceptual difference is termed representational momentum (RM) for dynamic facial expressions. RM for dynamic facial expressions might be useful for detecting emotion in another's face and for predicting behavior changes. We examined RM for dynamic facial expressions using facial expression stimuli at three levels of emotional intensity (subtle, medium, and extreme) in people with ASD. We predicted that individuals with ASD would show reduced RM for dynamic facial expressions. Eleven individuals with ASD (three with Asperger's disorder and eight with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) and 11 IQ-, age- and gender-matched typically developing controls participated in this study. Participants were asked to select an image that matched the final image from dynamic and static facial expressions. Our results revealed that subjectively perceived images were more exaggerated for the dynamic than for the static presentation under all levels of intensity and in both groups. The ASD group, however, perceived a reduced degree of exaggeration for dynamic facial expressions under the subtle intensity condition. As facial expressions are often displayed subtly in daily communications, reduced RM for subtle dynamic facial expressions may prevent individuals with ASD from appropriately interacting with other people as a consequence of their difficulty detecting others’ emotions.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 09/2014; 8(9):1090–1099. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to evaluate the difference in non-predictive cues between gaze and arrows in attention orienting. Attention orienting was investigated with gaze or arrows as separate cues in a simple condition (i.e., block design) in Experiment 1 and in an unpredictable condition (i.e., randomized design) in Experiment 2. Two kinds of sound (voice and tone) stimuli were used as targets. Results showed that gaze and arrow cues induced enhanced attention orienting to a voice versus tone target in the block condition. However, in the randomized condition, enhanced attention orienting to a voice versus tone target was found in gaze but not arrow cues. The congruency of the meaning between a social cue (i.e., gaze) and a social target (i.e., voice) was clear in the randomized but not blocked design, because social gaze and non-social arrow cues were implemented in the same block. Thus, attention orienting might be mediated by the associated relationship of cue-target in a randomized condition, as an enhanced orienting effect was found when the associated relationship of cue-target was strong (i.e., social cue and target). The present study suggests that the difference in attention orienting between gaze and arrows is apparent in a randomized design (the unpredictable condition), and people employ a flexibly strategy of orienting to better respond to environmental changes.
    Acta Psychologica 07/2014; 150:100-105. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to evaluate the difference in non-predictive cues between gaze and arrows in attention orienting. Attention orienting was investigated with gaze or arrows as separate cues in a simple condition (i.e., block design) in Experiment 1 and in an unpredictable condition (i.e., randomized design) in Experiment 2. Two kinds of sound (voice and tone) stimuli were used as targets. Results showed that gaze and arrow cues induced enhanced attention orienting to a voice versus tone target in the block condition. However, in the randomized condition, enhanced attention orienting to a voice versus tone target was found in gaze but not arrow cues. The congruency of the meaning between a social cue (i.e., gaze) and a social target (i.e., voice) was clear in the randomized but not blocked design, because social gaze and non-social arrow cues were implemented in the same block. Thus, attention orienting might be mediated by the associated relationship of cue-target in a randomized condition, as an enhanced orienting effect was found when the associated relationship of cue-target was strong (i.e., social cue and target). The present study suggests that the difference in attention orienting between gaze and arrows is apparent in a randomized design (the unpredictable condition), and people employ a flexibly strategy of orienting to better respond to environmental changes.
    Acta Psychologica 05/2014; 150C:100-105. · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • Sayaka Yoshimura, Motomi Toichi
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    ABSTRACT: Self-consciousness plays an important role in a person's social life. Assuming that self-consciousness is a key to understanding social impairments in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we examined self-consciousness in individuals with Asperger's disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS) and their controls using an episodic memory task. The PDDNOS group consisted of individuals in a milder subgroup of PDDNOS, with less autistic features than Asperger's disorder. In the learning phase, one of three types of questions (phonological, semantic, self-referential) was asked about each following target word. The target words were all personality trait adjectives. Next, a recognition test was conducted. The PDDNOS group, like the control, showed the most superior performance in self-referential processing (i.e. the self-reference effect) while the Asperger's group did not; however, both the ASD groups revealed an atypical pattern of relationship between memory performance and IQ. Individuals with PDDNOS, unlike those with Asperger's disorder, may be self-conscious to the same degree as typically developing individuals, but the cognitive process leading them to self-consciousness seems atypical, causing social impairments similar to those seen in individuals with Asperger's disorder who lack self-consciousness.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 03/2014; 8(3):237-243. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging studies have found greater activation in the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG), or occipital face area, in response to faces relative to non-facial stimuli. However, the temporal, frequency, and functional profiles of IOG activity during face processing remain unclear. Here, this issue was investigated by recording intracranial field potentials in the IOG during the presentation of faces, mosaics, and houses in upright and inverted orientations. Time–frequency statistical parametric mapping analyses revealed greater gamma-band activation in the IOG beginning at 110 ms and covering 40–300 Hz in response to upright faces relative to upright houses and mosaics. Phase–amplitude cross-frequency coupling analyses revealed more evident theta–gamma couplings at 115–256 ms during the processing of upright faces as compared with that of upright houses and mosaics. Comparable gamma-band activity was observed during the processing of inverted and upright faces at about 100–200 ms, but weaker activity and different coupling with theta-band activity after 200 ms. These patterns of activity were more evident in the right than in the left IOG. These results, together with other evidence on neural communication, suggest that broadband gamma oscillations in the right IOG conduct rapid and multistage (i.e., both featural and configural) face processing in collaboration with theta oscillations transmitted from other brain regions.
    Cortex 01/2014; · 6.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Basal ganglia (BG) abnormalities are implicated in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, studies measuring the volume of the entire BG in individuals with ASD have reported discrepant findings, and no study conducted volume measurement of the entire substructures of the BG (the caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, and globus pallidus) in individuals with ASD. We delineated the BG substructures and measured their volumes in 29 adults with ASD without intellectual disabilities and 29 age- and gender-matched typically developed adult controls. We acquired T1-weighted anatomical images and performed semiautomated delineation and volume measurements of the above-mentioned subregions. Total cerebral volumes, sex, and ages were partialed out. Compared with controls, the putamen was significantly larger in the ASD group. The increased volume of the putamen found in high-functioning adults with ASD suggests that structural or histological abnormalities of the putamen may underlie the pathologies of ASD, such as repetitive and stereotyped behaviors and impaired social interactions.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:957. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioral studies have shown that emotional facial expressions are detected more rapidly and accurately than are neutral expressions. However, the neural mechanism underlying this efficient detection has remained unclear. To investigate this mechanism, we measured event-related potentials (ERPs) during a visual search task in which participants detected the normal emotional facial expressions of anger and happiness or their control stimuli, termed “anti-expressions,” within crowds of neutral expressions. The anti-expressions, which were created using a morphing technique that produced changes equivalent to those in the normal emotional facial expressions compared with the neutral facial expressions, were most frequently recognized as emotionally neutral. Behaviorally, normal expressions were detected faster and more accurately and were rated as more emotionally arousing than were the anti-expressions. Regarding ERPs, the normal expressions elicited larger early posterior negativity (EPN) at 200–400 ms compared with anti-expressions. Furthermore, larger EPN was related to faster and more accurate detection and higher emotional arousal. These data suggest that the efficient detection of emotional facial expressions is implemented via enhanced activation of the posterior visual cortices at 200–400 ms based on their emotional significance.
    Brain research 01/2014; · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that females and males differ in the processing of emotional facial expressions including the recognition of emotion, and that emotional facial expressions are detected more rapidly than are neutral expressions. However, whether the sexes differ in the rapid detection of emotional facial expressions remains unclear. We measured reaction times (RTs) during a visual search task in which 44 females and 46 males detected normal facial expressions of anger and happiness or their anti-expressions within crowds of neutral expressions. Anti-expressions expressed neutral emotions with visual changes quantitatively comparable to normal expressions. We also obtained subjective emotional ratings in response to the facial expression stimuli. RT results showed that both females and males detected normal expressions more rapidly than anti-expressions and normal-angry expressions more rapidly than normal-happy expressions. However, females and males showed different patterns in their subjective ratings in response to the facial expressions. Furthermore, sex differences were found in the relationships between subjective ratings and RTs. High arousal was more strongly associated with rapid detection of facial expressions in females, whereas negatively valenced feelings were more clearly associated with the rapid detection of facial expressions in males. Our data suggest that females and males differ in their subjective emotional reactions to facial expressions and in the emotional processes that modulate the detection of facial expressions.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e94747. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 10/2013; 7:1250-1256. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human faces transmit multiple valuable signals, and neuroimaging studies have shown that the amygdala is active in response to facial stimuli. However, little has been known about the temporal profile of amygdala activation during facial signal processing until recently. Here we review three recent studies conducted by our group in which we recorded amygdala intracranial electroencephalography in humans. The subjects were engaged in tasks that required automatic processing of faces, eye gazes and emotional expressions. Time-frequency statistical parametric mapping analyses revealed that the amygdala showed gamma-band activation in response to emotional expressions, gazes and faces, with peak latencies at about 100 ms, 200 ms and 250 ms, respectively. These results suggest that: (1) the amygdala performs multiple-stage processing in response to these facial signals using different visual input routes, and (2) amygdala activation for processing all of these facial signals is rapid, which could be prior to or simultaneous with conscious awareness of faces.
    Communicative & integrative biology 07/2013; 6(4):e24562.
  • Wataru Sato, Shota Uono, Motomi Toichi
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have suggested that the processing of dynamic facial expressions is impaired in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, the specific component that is impaired in the processing of dynamic facial expressions has not been identified. We investigated the recognition of dynamic changes in facial expressions among individuals with ASD and age- and sex-matched typically developing controls. Morphing animations of facial expressions of six emotions were presented at four different changing speeds, and participants rated the naturalness of the expression changes. The correspondence between reduced speeds and decreased naturalness ratings was weaker in the ASD than in the control group. These results suggest that the atypical visual analysis of dynamic changes in facial expressions underlies the impairment in real-life social interaction among individuals with ASD.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 07/2013; 7:906-912. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    Shota Uono, Wataru Sato, Motomi Toichi
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    ABSTRACT: This study was designed to identify specific difficulties and associated features related to the problems with social interaction experienced by individuals with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) using an emotion-recognition task. We compared individuals with PDD-NOS or Asperger's disorder (ASP) and typically developing individuals in terms of their ability to recognize facial expressions conveying the six basic emotions. Individuals with PDD-NOS and ASP were worse at recognizing fearful faces than were controls. Individuals with PDD-NOS were less accurate in recognizing disgusted faces than were those with ASP. The results suggest that PDD subtypes are characterized by shared and unique impairments in the ability to recognize facial expressions. Furthermore, the ability to recognize fearful but not disgusted expressions was negatively correlated with the severity of social dysfunction in PDD-NOS and ASP. The results suggest that impaired recognition of fearful and disgusted faces may reflect the severity of social dysfunction across PDD subtypes and the specific problems associated with PDD-NOS, respectively. Characteristics associated with different levels of symptom severity in PDD-NOS are discussed in terms of similarities with brain damage and other psychiatric disorders.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 02/2013; 7(2):361-368. · 2.96 Impact Factor
  • Communicative & integrative biology 01/2013; 6(e24562):1-5.
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    ABSTRACT: Impairment of social interaction via facial expressions represents a core clinical feature of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, the neural correlates of this dysfunction remain unidentified. Because this dysfunction is manifested in real-life situations, we hypothesized that the observation of dynamic, compared with static, facial expressions would reveal abnormal brain functioning in individuals with ASD.We presented dynamic and static facial expressions of fear and happiness to individuals with high-functioning ASD and to age- and sex-matched typically developing controls and recorded their brain activities using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Regional analysis revealed reduced activation of several brain regions in the ASD group compared with controls in response to dynamic versus static facial expressions, including the middle temporal gyrus (MTG), fusiform gyrus, amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Dynamic causal modeling analyses revealed that bi-directional effective connectivity involving the primary visual cortex-MTG-IFG circuit was enhanced in response to dynamic as compared with static facial expressions in the control group. Group comparisons revealed that all these modulatory effects were weaker in the ASD group than in the control group. These results suggest that weak activity and connectivity of the social brain network underlie the impairment in social interaction involving dynamic facial expressions in individuals with ASD.
    BMC Neuroscience 08/2012; 13:99. · 3.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neural substrate for the processing of gaze remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to clarify which hemisphere dominantly processes and whether bilateral hemispheres cooperate with each other in gaze-triggered reflexive shift of attention. Twenty-eight normal subjects were tested. The non-predictive gaze cues were presented either in unilateral or bilateral visual fields. The subjects localized the target as soon as possible. Reaction times (RT) were shorter when gaze-cues were congruent toward than away from targets, whichever visual field they were presented in. RT were shorter in left than right visual field presentations. RT in mono-directional bilateral presentations were shorter than both of those in left and right presentations. When bi-directional bilateral cues were presented, RT were faster when valid cues were presented in the left than right visual fields. The right hemisphere appears to be dominant, and there is interhemispheric cooperation in gaze-triggered reflexive shift of attention.
    Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 03/2012; 66(2):97-104. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study examined the effects of regularizing sleep–wake schedules on sleep, autonomic function and mood/emotional and personality states in 14 habitually irregular sleepers. During the experiment, sleep monitoring and regularized sleep–wake schedules were conducted at home. First, the subjects' habitual sleep–wake patterns were strictly monitored for 6 days (Session 1); second, subjects' irregular sleep–wake patterns were regularized for 6 days (Session 2); and finally, subjects reverted from their regularized sleep–wake schedules to their original, habitual sleep–wake schedules and were monitored for 6 days (Session 3). Assessments in the laboratory, which were conducted in the daytime, were repeated four times. The first three assessments were carried out on the days following Sessions 1, 2, and 3. The fourth measurement (Session 4), which was conducted under the original irregular sleep–wake pattern condition, was performed approximately 6 months after initiation of the second irregular sleep–wake schedule. In results, significant reductions in daytime parasympathetic activity and negative mood, i.e. tension–anxiety, anger–hostility, and fatigue, were observed after the 6‐day regularized sleep–wake schedule and extending through Session 3. However, the parasympathetic activity, as well as negative mood manifestations, returned to their initial levels when measured 6 months later. On the other hand, sleep and personality states did not change in response to alternations in sleep–wake regularity. However, the reduction of daytime fatigue level suggests a possibility that further sleep improvements might be difficult to detect under the regularized sleep–wake schedule because the subjects were healthy university students without sleep disorders.
    Sleep and Biological Rhythms 01/2012; 10(2). · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    Yasuko Funabiki, Toshiya Murai, Motomi Toichi
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) can demonstrate hypersensitivity to sounds as well as a lack of awareness of them. Several functional imaging studies have suggested an abnormal response in the auditory cortex of such subjects, but it is not known whether these subjects have dysfunction in the auditory cortex or are simply not listening. We measured changes in blood oxygenated hemoglobin (OxyHb) in the prefrontal and temporal cortices using near-infrared spectroscopy during various listening and ignoring tasks in 11 ASD and 12 control subjects. Here we show that the auditory cortex in ASD subjects responds to sounds fully during attention. OxyHb in the auditory cortex increased with intentional listening but not with ignoring of the same auditory stimulus in a similar fashion in both groups. Cortical responses differed not in the auditory but in the prefrontal region between the ASD and control groups. Thus, unawareness to sounds in ASD could be interpreted as due to inattention rather than dysfunction of the auditory cortex. Difficulties in attention control may account for the contrary behaviors of hypersensitivity and unawareness to sound in ASD.
    Research in developmental disabilities 11/2011; 33(2):518-24. · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging studies have reported greater activation of the human amygdala in response to faces than to nonfacial stimuli, yet little is known about the temporal profile of this activation. We investigated this issue by recording the intracranial field potentials of the amygdala in participants undergoing preneurosurgical assessment (n = 6). Participants observed faces, mosaics, and houses in upright and inverted orientations using a dummy target detection task. Time-frequency statistical parametric mapping analyses revealed that the amygdala showed greater gamma-band activity in response to faces than to mosaics at 200-300 msec, with a peak at 255 msec. Gamma-band activation with a similar temporal profile was also found in response to faces versus houses. Activation patterns did not differ between upright and inverted presentations of stimuli. These results suggest that the human amygdala is involved in the early stages of face processing, including the modulation of subjective perception of faces.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 10/2011; 24(6):1420-33. · 4.49 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

854 Citations
208.62 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1996–2014
    • Kyoto University
      • • Department of Human Health Sciences
      • • Graduate School of Medicine / Faculty of Medicine
      • • Primate Research Institute
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      Kioto, Kyōto, Japan
  • 2012
    • University Hospital Medical Information Network
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2000–2011
    • Shiga University
      Japan
  • 2010
    • Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2009
    • Nara University of Education
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2001–2009
    • Case Western Reserve University
      • Department of Psychiatry (University Hospitals Case Medical Center)
      Cleveland, OH, United States
  • 2007
    • National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry
      • Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health
      Кодаиры, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2001–2006
    • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Cleveland, Ohio, United States