Menu

Processing Faces

Other people’s faces are mapped onto our brains.

Jan 21, 2016
Jef Akst

FLICKR, STEPHANIE SICOREResearchers in Europe have identified a new brain map they call the “faciotopy,” where facial characteristics such as noses, eyes, and mouths are mapped onto a region in the occipital face area, a brain region known to be involved in facial recognition, in arrangements that parallel how these features appear on a human face.

“Facial recognition is so fundamental to human behavior that it makes sense that there would be a specialized area of the brain that maps features of the face,” Linda Henriksson of Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, told New Scientist this week (January 19).

Scanning the brains of 12 people who were viewing images of such facial parts, Henriksson and her colleagues found that specific regions within the occipital face area were active depending on which feature the participants were viewing. This faciotopy is the first brain map discovered that physically parallels the arrangement of something in the environment, Henriksson told New Scientist.

“We can’t help but see faces everywhere,” Rockefeller University’s Winrich Freiwald, who studies face processing systems but was not involved in the current study, told New Scientist. “Face recognition is such an important mechanism that it’s fooled by stimuli that resemble the two-eyes, nose and mouth combination”.

Henriksson and her colleagues published their work in the November 2015 issue of Cortex.

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.

DefiniGEN licenses CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology from Broad Institute to develop cell models for optimized metabolic disease drug development

DefiniGEN licenses CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology from Broad Institute to develop cell models for optimized metabolic disease drug development

DefiniGEN Ltd are pleased to announce the commercial licensing of CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in the USA, to develop human cell disease models to support preclinical metabolic disease therapeutic programmes.

Thermo Fisher Scientific: Freezers for Biological Samples

Thermo Fisher Scientific: Freezers for Biological Samples

Fluctuations in temperature can reduce the efficacy, decompose, or shorten the shelf life of biologics. Therefore, it is important to store biologics at the right temperature using standardized protocols.