in the face of

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Senior Member
I know that 'in the face of' can mean 'despite' or 'in confrontation with'. What does it mean in your opinion in this particular context?

"He thought that damage to the right hemisphere was somehow interfering with a patient's understanding of his neurological condition, and this was producing inappropriately positive emotion in the face of severe neurological injury." (richard J. Davidson 'The Emotional Life of Your Brain')

It refers to the research done by an Italian scientist Gainotti who discovered that patients with damaged parts of the brain (left frontal region or right frontal region) showed pathological crying or laughing (they cried or laughed at the most inappropriate moments).
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